Amy's Peer Connect Blogs
Making LinkedIn Work for You
Monday March 21st - Amy
Technology isn’t just something we use to watch videos, play games, or stay in touch with friends and family; it has also become an integral part of the hiring and recruiting processes used by professionals. Recognizing this can be extremely advantageous when entering the job market. Below I will provide you with 5 ways to make your LinkedIn account work for you and how to maintain valuable connections.
1. Get Recommendations
This includes both endorsements from your connections and asking past or current supervisors/professors/colleagues to write a personal snippet of their experience working with you. The most important part of getting endorsed and recommended by your connections is ensuring they reflect how you want to present yourself. If you want to establish yourself as a Social Media Wizard, you will want your experience in social media reflected in your endorsements such as in the photograph below. When asking to be recommended by a connection, make sure to be descriptive, understanding, and grateful.
Descriptive: Include what you are asking for, what skills you would like them to highlight, when you would like the recommendation posted by, and what you hope to get out of the recommendation.
Understanding: Understand that they are professionals and as such have busy schedules. Make sure you offer enough time for them to write a recommendation.
Grateful: Thank them for their consideration in writing a recommendation, and tell them how much you have appreciated working/learning from them!
2. Rearrange Sections to Best Highlight Your Skills
You want your current aspirations to be as clear as possible on your LinkedIn page so that recruiting employers are able to match their needs with your goals. In order to do this, rearrange the sections on your LinkedIn page to best highlight yourself. For example, put your education first if you think that is the most applicable. If you think your endorsements reflect your skill level and interests, then move them up on your page. You can do this by simply hovering over a position under your editing page and use the arrows to move it up or down on your page. You do not necessarily need to have your employment experience as the first thing on your page.
3. Customize Your Public Profile URL & Photo
This point is crucial. Once you have created a visually appealing and representative LinkedIn page of your skills and experience, you should include the URL to your page on your resume, business cards, etc. In order to make yourself look like a professional edit your URL so that it reflects your name and not a random arrangement of letters. Just hit the little gear that is beside your current URL under your LinkedIn photo to direct you to a new page. Once redirected, go to the right side where you will find Your Public Profile URL. Use the little pencil editor to create a new URL (ie. ca.linkedin.com/in/kochamy). Also make sure that you include an appropriate photo of yourself. LinkedIn profiles without photos end up at the end of search lists and often get overlooked by recruiters.
4. Send Messages
Whenever you add a new connection on LinkedIn, send a message along with your request. This is especially important when connecting with industry professionals or someone you may have met once at a conference, event, or workshop. Remember that professionals are busy and are meeting new people constantly. In your message include who you are, how you know them, and your interest in connecting. If you are part of a group with an individual that is not a first connection of yours and you want to start up a conversation, you can bypass the necessity of being a first connection and message them directly. Join groups with industry professionals you admire, want to learn from, and connect with!
This one is simple but necessary. After you have edited your LinkedIn profile, get a friend/colleague to review it. Working on your LinkedIn page can be tedious at times which can lead to making silly spelling or grammatical errors. Before you start sending your LinkedIn URL out to employers, make sure your page is error free.
Good luck and have fun!
Strategies for Surviving Senioritis
Monday March 14th - Amy
Senioritis is a phenomenon experienced by many university students nearing graduation. It is characterized by a decline in performance and is often accompanied by laziness, increased wearing of sweatpants, and excessive procrastination. As a soon-to-be-graduate, I myself have experienced the various aspects of senioritis… For instance, I managed to practice some guitar and paint my nails while drafting this article. However, I would like to take this opportunity to provide 5 strategies for surviving senioritis.
1. Plan Ahead
You are in the first semester of your final year and feeling like a rockstar. The weather is warm, you are back in town with your university friends, classes haven’t gotten all too serious yet, and all you want to do is live in the moment. THIS is the time to start planning for senioritis. The first step of surviving senioritis is recognizing that it will affect you more and more the closer you get to graduation. It is essential to understand this early on and plan accordingly. Stay on top of schoolwork from the start, but recognize that you may lose some of your drive and ambition come the winter months. If you want to work or travel right after graduation, start applying to jobs or planning your travels ASAP. These plans being made, you will not be able to use this as a way to procrastinate your schoolwork later in the year when you all you feel like doing is binge watching your favourite show on Netflix.
2. Talk About It and Seek Help
“I feel like I am in the middle of the ocean, like I could swim in any direction but I can’t see land on any side so I don’t know which way to go.” - The Defining Decade, Meg Jay
Senior year can be a very stressful time as you are faced with questions from relatives, professors, and coworkers about your next step and what you “want to do with the rest of your life” (don’t we all dread that one?). These feelings of uncertainty accompanied by lack of motivation can create an abundant amount of stress (not like we are trying to graduate with honours or anything, right?!). The best solution I found to help deal with these feelings of anxiety and stress was simply to get them out into the world. Talking with friends (who are likely going through a similar situation), family members, counsellors, and anyone you feel comfortable opening up with can do wonders. Sometimes just talking about it out loud helps us understand what we need to do next.
3. Stay Organized and Prioritize
You know those planners they hand out the first week back to school? Use them! One of the most important things you will learn as an undergraduate student is time management skills. These skills are especially important in your final year when you are trying to manage schoolwork, volunteering, and job applications; all the while still trying to see your BFFs as much as possible before you all move away. In these planners I want you to include time for school, friends, hobbies, applying to jobs, and free/relax time. Set specific goals for yourself and hold yourself accountable. Tell your friends if you are applying to 3 jobs this week. The simple act of telling someone your plans will help keep you motivated to accomplish them.
4. Visit US! J (Co-Operative Education & Career Services - CECS)
Starting your job hunt can feel daunting at times. Constantly editing your resume and tweaking your cover letter to perfectly match the numerous jobs you apply to is a tedious task for anyone. The further you get into your final year, the more daunting these tasks will become. At CECS we offer one-on-one resume, cover letter, and mock interview sessions to help students achieve their employment goals.
5. Don't Obsess and Have Some Fun
As sad as it sounds, once you graduate, you may not see some of your classmates again. The key is to cherish spending valuable time with friends playing intramurals, going to local concerts, or simply going to the movies, while still trying your best in school. You are young and although you often hear “how hard it is for recent graduates to get a job,” jobs are out there and you will figure it out eventually. Do not let societal pressures force you into feeling any less if you graduate without a secure job or travel plans. Do what you can and seek the advice and support that is available to you on campus to help reduce senioritis and make your transition out of university as fluid as possible.
Remember to have some fun along the way,