Written by: Sandi Vidal, BBA ’88, Executive Director of Christian HELP

 Social Media has become a major player for recruiters to find future employees and for them to research potential candidates.  Having a presence on social media can have its ups and downs.  If you are a crazy party animal and you have a ton of pictures on Instagram that you wouldn’t want your parents to see… you might be taking a risk when it comes to what you put out in the cyberworld.

LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site out there with over 200 million members in 200 countries. It is a trusted source for branding, networking, and research. If you are job seeking, it gives you the opportunity to get your profile out there, connect with people you know, network with those you don’t, share common interests, and share wisdom through relevant articles and comments. It is also the one place where you don’t have to worry about visibly placing your resume when you have a job!
So, how do you get started?
·         Go to Linkedin.com
·         Set up a profile page- complete it with the care you would give a resume
·         Add a professional picture (I stay away from using my favorite Mr. Potato Head shot that I use on Facebook)
·         If you have a website to list, hit other and it will allow you to name it rather than using the generic
·         Upload your address book
·         Search people you know and invite them to connect
·         Get recommendations (I have seen these work as references!)
·         Look for groups to join (Like the Toppel Career Center )
·         Search for jobs
·         Be a Contributor by posting articles and commenting on postings
Having a great LinkedIn profile will give you a chance to connect with and meet people you may not have access to in real life.  Also, you can see how you are connected to people who know people at companies you are interested in.  When I added my company to LinkedIn, I found people who were connected to us rather than having to add them. The great thing for you is that you will be able to find them too.
This is just one of many tools in your search, but it is a powerful one to use, even after you start your career.
Sandi Vidal, BBA ’88, is a graduate of the University of Miami. She currently runs Christian HELP and the Central Florida EmploymentCouncil in Orlando, Florida. She is a subject matter on employment with a bi-weekly column in the Seminole Voice and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Sandi is married with 3 children and 3 cats.