By: Huri Mücahit
The following blog post was written after attending the iJOBS Workshop: Strategic Online Networking to Propel Your Career on January 18th, 2018.
With this workshop, iJOBS once more offers the opportunity to expand networking skills with the program 2Actify. Following the success of the pilot program launched this past summer, (see Fatu Badiane’s experience with 2Actify), the founder, Penny Pearl, is once again demonstrating the importance of effective LinkedIn profiles for career advancement.
The goal of the program is to teach you how to meet new people, develop relationships, and to stay in contact with your network. Success with these new skills can not only land you a job, but advance your career. This becomes especially important in today’s ever-changing job market, in which less than 1% of online job applicants receive a response. Of those Ph.D. applicants that do, many accept the first position offered, even if the salary is much lower than desired. Still, others are often underemployed. So, as Penny suggests, “career readiness is a must”.
So how can you expect to stand out amidst the multitude of applicants? Simple – through effort, persistence, being strategic about your connections, and staying committed to your goal. Ultimately, you must remember that you are the product, and tools such as your LinkedIn professional profile will advertise your expertise and skills. If done correctly, your profile will serve as the tool for your marketing campaign to attract and reach out to the right connections. The great thing is, the networking process does not need to be as daunting as you might imagine. Often, the best way to start building connections is to take advantage of those you already have! Your professors, your colleagues, alumni, etc. – these are influential people who can form the foundation of your expanding network.
How does the 2Actify program help?
The online course offers four self-paced 35 minute modules. Each module offers a step-by-step process on how to create a magnetic profile, establish connections, write compelling messages, and stay on the radar of existing connections. There are also live Q&A sessions and interactive online groups. Although the price for the program is typically $20/month, iJOBS students can obtain a coupon code for special pricing. The benefit of 2Actify, however, is that you edit and personalize your LinkedIn profile, a process that some companies charge upwards of $1200. You also learn how to market yourself for new career opportunities.
Penny Pearl was also kind enough to answer several questions, which are listed below:
- What are the four modules and how long do they take?
Each module is 35 minutes long, however, the benefits are dependent on the amount of effort you put in. There are many resources available within the program that extend beyond the modules themselves. As such, the program is self-paced.
- Would you recommend the paid features of LinkedIn?
For students who are in the beginning stages of editing and personalizing their profiles, the free version is usually sufficient. LinkedIn does offer advantages to those who are actively searching in the job market through specialized packages offering finite searches and unlimited “viewbacks” (revealing who has looked at your profile), among other benefits. The decision to utilize these depends on the applicant.
- Would you recommend including potentially problematic sections on your profile, like gaps between jobs?
It’s all a matter of how you word it. The important aspect of your LinkedIn profile is to advertise the skills you’ve obtained during those gap years, even if it was for unpaid positions. Employers want to see your accomplishments and capabilities, so your experiences during these periods may serve to strengthen them.
- Should you put a resume on your LinkedIn profile?
While you certainly can, the drawback is that your resume must be general enough to be of interest to all of your potential contacts. More importantly, when looking to establish connections, it’s much more beneficial to give people a reason to reach out and message you. This facilitates conversation and provides an opportunity for a much more solid connection.