Category Archives: Career Tips and Tricks

Meet Jack Bacon!

Today I had the chance to interview the funny and charming Jack Bacon – Chief Information Officer at the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology. While I was preparing myself for this meeting, I was a bit nervous seeing as this was my first official interview with any of the Executive Leadership Team members since I became the social media blogger. While I was talking to Mr. Bacon, I felt like I could just keep rambling and asking questions; he is so easy to talk to, and has many similarities to myself and I’m sure for many other students as well.

JackBacon_smallestQ: Where did you attend high school?

A: “Upper Darby High School”

Q:  What college did you go to?

A: “Pennsylvania Institute of Technology, but when it was located in Upper Darby, PA.”

Q: What was your major, and how long did it take to complete it?

A: “I went for my Electronics degree  and it took me the 2 years to achieve it, but it took about 7 years after working in retail post-high school to figure out what I really wanted to do in my life.”

Q: What was your favorite thing about P.I.T. as a student then, and now as a member of the Leadership Team?

A: “As a student I enjoyed the fact that I really knew the instructors, and as an employee now, having the ability to make an impact on a student’s life”

Q: When did you start working here at P.I.T.?

A: “1992″

Q: How about your favorite color, TV show, and song?

A: Blue, “Grace Point” is a great show, and any song by Queen is the best.”

Q: What made you choose the job of Chief Information Officer?

A: “I don’t think we pick the jobs we have, I think the jobs pick us. Plus, I was great at math and I had a strong passion for computers.”

Q: If you had the chance to hop into a time machine and go back a couple years, what would you do differently?

A: “I would have definitely paid more attention in high school, went straight into college to earn my degree and stayed focused, that’s for sure.”

So, as you can see, Jack Bacon is just like us students that may have struggled in the beginning to get to where we are now. His career path shows that once you put your best foot forward and focus on the road you are mean to be on, nothing can stop you. Just keep on keeping on!

Stay tuned to the blog and to Facebook and Twitter to meet each of the members of the Executive Leadership Team at P.I.T.

 

A Push in the Right Direction

Every now and then we find ourselves in a slump, and if you say you’re never confused or hurt, angry or simply having “one of those days,” you’re most likely in denial.StressRelief

If you are experiencing some sort of rut, I believe in talking it out with someone — your mom or dad, brother or sister, friend, or school counselor. There is always a way to help you turn that frown upside down and enjoy the rest of the day.

(1)    Put on some tunes that make you feel amazing. You know, the ones that get your feet tapping. For example the music that makes me feel great is country and pop songs. You hear a great song and pretty soon your mood is lifted.

 

(2)    Not in the mood for music? Heck, put on your favorite comedy movie and laugh yourself to tears. Laughter is the best form of medicine for your soul. The Mayo Clinic has proven that’s not just a corny saying.

 

(3)    Create a happy place to escape to when things get rough – carve out one room or even just a corner of one room that has the comforts that make you relax and feel better. A favorite pillow, a soft throw, a good view out of the window – all of these can help you remember the good feelings that you have temporarily forgotten.

 

(4)    Start a DIY project and empower yourself with creative success. Build a birdhouse, a dog house, a magazine rack. The act of creating something is very soothing and helps build self-confidence. Knitting is popular for a reason – it helps soothe your mind and you end up with something at the ends of the project that you can wear or give as a gift.

 

(5)    Just enjoy being healthy and alive. Take a walk, join a gym, or take up kick boxing. Volunteer at an animal shelter and take the dogs for a walk. Volunteer at a library or nursing home and read to those who cannot do it for themselves. Giving something of yourself to someone else will make you realize that you are a good person with many gifts.

 

(6)    Also remember that everything looks worse at night, so never make any rash decisions before you get a good night’s rest. Make notes on what’s troubling you, write down all the negative things you are thinking or feeling, and then review them in the daylight. You will be able to see much more clearly after a good sleep and with some sunlight to lift your spirits.

 

(7)    Another thing you can do while you’re having the blues is to write down words that empower you and recite them every day if need be, or whenever you’d like a pick up and something to make you feel stronger. Just make sure put them in a safe place where you can find them again.

 

There is nothing wrong with having a bad day. But to get out of it, remember all the good you have in your life from your loving family, significant other, and friends. Maybe you just landed your dream job or are working your way towards that. It is very important to never forget your goals in life, focus on them, and give yourself that push in the right direction.

College Success Tips

Success in college involves more than just attending class and reading textbooks. To succeed in college, you need to plan ahead, be organized, and take advantage of all of the resources and services that your college has to offer you.

The following tips will help you make the most of your college experience!

Get to Know Your College

  • Visit your college’s website

Your college has its catalog online and every department will be represented on it or they may have their own websites to describe their services. Take responsibility for learning all you need to know to navigate through college.

  • Follow your college on social media

Many colleges participate in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and other social media sites. Be sure to like and/or follow your college on their sites and to read their posts. These are great ways for you to find out what is happening at your college, share what you are doing at college, and share this information with your friends and family.

  • Familiarize yourself with the campus

Take an extensive tour of the campus. The Admissions Office often provides tours, but after you are enrolled feel free to roam the campus yourself. You may need to ask directions occasionally, but this is a great way to figure out the locations of specific classrooms or labs, the Library, the café, other study areas, computer labs, faculty offices, etc. You’ll also have a chance to meet a lot of the key people on campus!

Use Available Resources

  • Use the Library

Despite the availability of online information, use your college Library. It subscribes to otherwise unavailable journals and databases that will be invaluable to your studies. Book and media resources are also useful to your research.

Your college Library offers numerous services that will assist you. Perhaps the most important resource at your college Library is the Librarian(s). Ask them for assistance. They are experts at locating hard-to-find information.

  • Meet with your Academic Advisor early and often

Your Academic Advisor is usually a faculty member from your program of study. Make regular appointments with your academic advisor to discuss graduation requirements, program options, required and elective courses, and possible co-op or internship options.

  • Meet with your Academic Support and Financial Literacy Counselor regularly

Your Academic Support and Financial Literacy Counselor is available to provide educational counseling as well as counseling for personal development and financial literacy, including a clear understanding of the Satisfactory Academic Progress or SAP policy, to assist students in attaining academic success. Your Counselor will be your cheerleader, coach, and (as needed) taskmaster.

Students are encouraged to avail themselves of the services of an Academic Support and Financial Literacy. Time management, goal setting, and academic progress are reviewed regularly according to individual student needs.

  • Speak to a job placement counselor about your future

The job placement counselor can assist you as you prepare to find a job during school or after you graduate.

Career staff can assist you with cover-letter and resume writing, mock interviews, job leads for vacant positions, and reviewing application materials.

Make Smart Decisions

  • Learn your college’s rules and regulations

Take time to review your college’s academic integrity code, alcohol and drug policies, institutional regulations, and rules for your specific program. These are all available through your college’s website, often within the Student Handbook. Violations can result in warnings, failed grades, or expulsion.

Claiming “I didn’t know” doesn’t cut it in college. You will be expected to behave as an adult.

  • Maintain accurate records

Keep a file that contains hard copies of all college-related paperwork, including transcripts, placement test results, course syllabi, graded assignments (including papers, quizzes, and tests), financial aid information, grade reports, etc. You want your own “paper trail” in case online records are compromised.

  • Review and evaluate your online presence

Almost everyone has access to your online identity, including potential employers, landlords, scholarship committees, and others.

Select your privacy settings wisely, and think long and hard about what you post. You want to ensure that an online search does not reveal content that will damage your reputation or limit your opportunities.

Keep Your Safety and Security in Mind

  • Include I.C.E. numbers on your cell phone

Program your cell phone with “In Case of Emergency” (I.C.E.) numbers. Include the three people you want contacted in an emergency. Add the phone number of the office that handles your college’s safety and security issues. If you commute on public transportation, add their emergency security number to you contact list, too.

  • Guard against theft

Never leave textbooks, laptops, cell phones, chargers, keys, or anything of value unattended in a dining area, classroom, or library.

Take photos of valuable items and check with your insurance provide about your coverage in the event of theft, loss, or damage.

If you do lose something, notify the appropriate office on campus and check with lost and found. Hopefully, you’ll find the item wasn’t stolen, but rather turned in by someone who thought it was lost or abandoned.

  • Back up everything

Computers and thumb/USB drives get lost, stolen, or corrupted. Remember to back up all of your important documents on a cloud back-up system, an external drive, or by emailing yourself document attachments. If your college provides you with storage on the campus computer network, you can use that as another place to keep an extra copy of your documents.

Create Your Own Plan

  • Create your own customized academic plan with your Academic Support and Financial Literacy Counselor. You can even create a career plan by working with a career counselor.
  • Select a course of study that you find interesting and even challenging. Be sure that it provides appropriate and fulfilling career opportunities.
  • Develop a timeline for completing all of the required and elective coursework. Meet with your counselors on a regular basis to review and update the timeline as necessary.
  • Search out career-related internships and/or part-time jobs to gain experience and skills that will complement your major. Talk to the faculty in your program about internships that they know about.

Remember to include your internship(s) and part-time job(s) on your resume. Any good experience in your field is better than no experience when you search for a full-time job.

  • Improve your leadership skills by actively participating in student organizations and community service.
  • Make an effort to improve your writing, public speaking, and computer skills. These skills will serve you for your entire life and in all aspects of your life.

 

 

 

 

Make Your Resume Stand Out from the Crowd: And to Robots, Too


Applying for a new job? Nowadays, the first person looking at your resume is usually not a recruiter, but a robot, otherwise known as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Below are some tips for creating more reader-friendly resumes so that it’s actually passed onto the recruiter for an interview.

These ATS save employers time and money by sifting through hundreds or even thousands of resumes, making Human Resources job much simpler. In order for your resume to be one that makes it across their desk, you need to embrace the digital world and leave some of the old standards behind.

Resume Building PA


Use Context not just Keywords  

While traditionally, you may have flooded your resume with keywords, it’s now better to pay closer attention to actual context because that’s what the ATS picks up on when it scans it. It is important to use specific keywords that pertain to certain job descriptions you had but realize that these ATS robots aren’t just looking for the keywords. They’re also interested in how they relate to your overall experience, such as did you get certified in CPR and First Aid two months ago or last year? They also look closely at how much you use your skills. Have you worked in an office doing medical transcription for the last years or did you do it ten years ago?


Use Simple Formatting on Resumes

If your resume is flooded with fancy fonts, graphics, and business logos, you may actually hinder your chances of your resume being seen by human eyes. This is because the ATS has a difficult time sifting through heavily-formatted resumes and parsing the information into proper categories. Therefore, it is important that you choose web-friendly fonts like Arial or Verona, and skip the fancy stuff. In addition, ATS robots may glitch if your contact information is in a header so consider entering at the top of the page, but not in a separate header section.

When organizing your work history, begin by listing your employer’s name, your title, and the dates you worked there. It’s very important that you completely spell out words like Manager instead of Mgr. Abbreviations in resumes confuse the ATS robot (and sometimes they confuse human eyes too).

Career Fair


Other Tips to Win Over the Resume Robot

When your resume is complete, upload it if it gives you a choice between uploading or cutting and pasting the document. As you upload it, the robot will often save it in the best format, often a rich text format, making it easier for the ATS to read it and put into different sections.

Recruiters also caution against sending multiple resumes because the ATS robots can pick out discrepancies if you send out two different versions, which won’t look good.

Hopefully, some of these tips will help you beat the system as you write your next winning resume.

 

Best Quotes from Steve Jobs and How to Incorporate Their Meaning into Your Work Life

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”

With that legendary challenge, Steve Jobs convinced a reluctant John Sculley to join Apple as CEO, a move that would increase Apple’s sales ten times over. Although somewhat notoriously difficult to work with, Steve Jobs possessed a special genius and ambition that left a legacy filled with lessons that can be applied to any career.

“When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”Steve Jobs Speaking

It’s exceedingly important that you always put effort into every detail of your work. It’s better to do beautiful work all the way through than it is to only do things halfway and hope no one notices the flaws. Even if it feels like no one will notice, you’ll always know that you did the best work possible. Not only does it increase your worth at work, it improves your feeling of self-worth and confidence as well.

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

While you’re doing excellent work, don’t lose track of where you’re going. It’s good to take some time now and then to evaluate how far you’ve come, but don’t forget where you’re going next.

“The hardest thing when you think about focusing – you think focusing is about saying ‘Yes.’ No. Focusing is about saying ’No.’ And when you say ’No,’ you piss off people.”

Always remember that you have limits, and when it comes down to deciding what you can do and what you can’t, choose what’s most important to you. Work hard and do as much you can in your job but also mind your limits and don’t let yourself get burnt out for nothing.

“It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much.”

“That’s been one of my mantras: focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

It can be all too easy to get carried away with planning to the point where you start to feel stressed out. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by where you want to go with your career. Trim everything down to the simplest form, and don’t feel like you have to elaborate every detail before you get somewhere.

“If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much.”

When you pursue work that really means something to you, you can accomplish anything. Believe in what you do, and don’t be afraid to put in extra work to get where you want to go.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

So, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” -Steve Jobs

Midterm Study Tips

When midterm exams are looming, it’s all too easy to feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Many students find that by applying a few good study tips to their schedule, they perform better on their exams and experience less stress.

  1. Start by creating a study schedule. A planner, whether digital (your phone probably has a calendar) or on paper, is an extremely helpful tool. Begin by filling in your class schedule and add in project details and deadlines so nothing important is forgotten.
  2. Create an outline of what you need to study to prepare for each exam, and include all the details for assignments and projects.
  3. Figure out the time of day when you focus and think best and reserve it for studying.
  4. Take notes in all of your classes. Not only will it help you understand the topic better, it also improves how well you remember everything.  People learn in 3 ways:  by listening, by watching/reading, and by writing things down.  Note taking incorporates all three of these methods, which will enhance your ability to remember information.  Rewriting your notes is also very helpful.
  5. Your room is probably not the best place to do the majority of your studying, particularly if you live with friends or family. When choosing a location to study, make sure it’s a place where you can focus. There isn’t one ideal location that’s best for everyone; preferred studying environments vary from person to person. Whether it’s a library or a coffee shop or somewhere else entirely, just make sure it’s a location where you can be as productive as possible.
  6. If studying in your room is unavoidable, create a study corner or zone, dedicated just that single purpose. Remove any distractions, making sure there that you have good lighting to prevent eye strain.  Reserve this spot exclusively for studying.
  7. Join a study group for difficult subjects. You can share ideas, exchange notes, get help understanding concepts, and share other effective study tips with each other. Identify students who are serious about studying, are focused, and who are intelligent, not just because they are cute.
  8. Take regular breaks from studying.  This will help you focus better during the times you sit down to study. Choose activities that will provide a change of pace and will help you relax.  Make sure that some of your breaks also include physical activity. Many students find that running or yoga not only help them stay fit, but also help relieve stress. business and information technology programs
  9. Eating well and getting plenty of sleep are also extremely helpful habits to pick up if you want to get the most from your studying.  Instead of a Monster Energy drink, try a protein bar and fruit.  It will balance your blood sugar better and will provide you the energy you need to get through your day.
  10. Breathe deeply and slowly during the exams.  Students who suffer from test phobias find that deep breathing exercises can also reduce the panic and anxiety.  When you take deep breaths, your brain gets my oxygen which makes your brain work better!

A little preparation goes a long way, so start preparing for your midterm exams as soon as possible to fully enjoy the benefits of a better education.

 

Mark Wahlberg May Return to College for a Degree

Earning a degree is important for those who want to have a good chance of getting a job that helps them achieve success and a steady income. For celebrities like actor and producer Mark Wahlberg, having a degree is less important. Many actors, musicians, and artists do not make the time to earn a college degree because they focus on advancing their artistic pursuits. Even with a net worth of close to $200 million and multiple film industry award nominations, Wahlberg decided to complete his high school diploma and now has his sights set on taking courses to earn a college degree.

mark wahlbergAlthough he is a successful figure in Hollywood, Wahlberg’s life has not always been easy. After a rough upbringing in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Wahlberg found himself in constant trouble with the law. In 1988, he was arrested for attacking a Vietnamese man and served 45 days in prison. Swearing off his life of crime, Wahlberg transitioned to music; his brother Donnie had already found success with the boy band New Kids on the Block. Mark Wahlberg gained more widespread recognition through his modeling career and with the release of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s two albums which included multiple singles that reached the Billboard charts in the early 1990s.

After the Funky Bunch broke up, Wahlberg focused on acting, and eventually rose to prominence in movies like Boogie Nights, The Italian Job, and The Departed. Recently, Wahlberg has become a notable producer, working on successful television shows like HBO’s Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, as well as feature films like The Fighter. He is one of the most recognizable faces and names in Hollywood today.

With so much success, you may wonder why Mark Wahlberg decided to complete his high school diploma in 2013 at the age of 42 and is now considering taking courses to earn a college degree. Wahlberg says the decision was inspired in large part by his children. “I didn’t want the kids saying, ‘You didn’t do it, so why do I need it?’” Wahlberg also reflected upon the difficulty of completing his degree while in his 40s as opposed to when he originally attended high school in the 1980s. “It’s so much harder at 41 going back and trying to do all these difficult tasks.”

The decision to earn a college degree is a major one for anyone’s life, even people who are not world-famous actors. People from all types of backgrounds and socio-economic classes can successfully earn a degree and go on to a fulfilling career. If you are considering attending a secondary education program, make sure that you choose the right format and the right place. Whether you are in your early 20s or middle-aged with children like Mark Wahlberg, it is never too late to choose to brighten your future by making the choice to earn a college degree.

 

 

 

Finding Your True Authentic Self Can Lead to the Right Career

It’s important to be honest with yourself when it comes to choosing a career. Choosing what you want to do with the rest of your life shouldn’t be based on what you “think” you should do or what others tell you that you ought to be doing. After all, no one has to live your life but you. You’re the only person who truly should be pleased with your choices.

So it’s crucial that you sit down and take the time to get clear on exactly what it is you want and what you can give to the world. What are your interests? What are your strengths? What comes naturally to you? What do other people come to you for help with? These are things you should consider when thinking over what sort of career might be best for you. Again, be honest, no matter what the answers. A little soul searching now will yield great results down the line. After all, when you choose a career you love, you can’t help but be good at your work. And those who are good at their work tend to succeed!

pa technical collegeBe sure during the course of your soul searching and self-discovery that you recognize any negative thoughts that come your way – and they’re bound to. You probably recognize them: “I can’t do that,” “I don’t know how to get started,” “Other people do that sort of thing – but not people like me.” Remember that thoughts such as these get you nowhere. They are really just fear trying to have its way with you. You’re much too smart for that! So shut down those negative thoughts or turn them around and remind yourself that you can have whatever it is you’re willing to plan and work for.

Now that you know what your strengths are and what you’re passionate about, do a little research into the sort of program you’d need to follow in order to make your dream a reality. For instance, at P.I.T., a two-year private technical college in PA, there are a number of potential careers options for graduates. Those interested in computers, technology or engineering, for instance, have plenty of programs to choose from and can build an exciting career. The same is true for people who are passionate about being of service to others, for whom a career in healthcare would be the perfect fit. There’s no shortage of programs offered by two-year technical colleges, like P.I.T., which enable people just like you to enrich their lives as well as the lives of others.

So the next time you find yourself at a crossroads, be it now or somewhere down the line, remember that it’s your life to live! The notion of following one’s dreams wouldn’t be so popular if it wasn’t possible. Nor would it be so popular if so many people didn’t actually do it. People who reach their dream don’t allow fear or indecision to stop them in their tracks. Follow your intuition – it’s there for a reason. Be true to yourself, your strengths and your passions. And when you decide on the dream you want to pursue, don’t forget to look into two-year technical colleges in PA, like P.I.T., for the keys to making that dream come true. Your perfect career may be closer than you think!

Have an idea for starting a business but don’t know how to get started? Here are some tips.

pa business owner

There are numerous stories about individuals who have started successful enterprises from scratch and become billionaires. Mark Zuckerberg’s success with Facebook is one that everyone knows. However, aspiring entrepreneurs should note that there have been many more failures than spectacular success stories.

The following tips are meant to assist those college students or recent graduates who want to start their own business. These tips can help them ensure that their enterprise falls into the success category.

Evaluate Ideas

Put your ideas out there for analysis. Talk about them and examine them thoroughly. In many cases, someone with a different perspective can spot flaws in a plan. Your friends and fellow students will each be able to bring their own experience and knowledge to bear on your ideas. Sometimes, just the process of writing something out will give you a different understanding of it.

Learn About Business

This includes taking the types of classes that will help you to be successful. If you are in college and taking classes on unrelated subjects, try adding courses related to the nature of your planned business, including general business classes. Keep in mind that your classes will be excellent places for you to network and make the connections that will help you out in the business world. You should also try to learn about the specific business that you are trying to enter. Knowing everything about the business and the product/service will make you better able to sell it. pa business degree students

  • As a means of enhancing what you are learning in school, you should also try to find someone who has been successful at starting a similar kind of business. This may be easier said than done, but can provide you with insights that are available nowhere else. A mentor in business can tell you the sides of running an enterprise that you may not be able to learn in a classroom.

 

  • Still another way to gain knowledge of the business world is to take internships. You should attempt to work in a variety of different business environments. Varying your exposure to the world of commerce will help you get a better picture of the problems you will face and the methods that businesses use to solve them.

Persevere Even When Success Does Not Come Quickly

While some businesses are immediately successful, others take time. A major ingredient in the entrepreneurial spirit is the will and determination to keep trying even in the face of failure. In addition to being persistent, you should also be realistic in your expectations; not every young entrepreneur will be as successful as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.

Find Money

Find as much money as you can before starting and try to get more than you think you will need. You can consider options such as asking your friends and family to invest, or you can try crowd-funding. However you get the money, you will want to make sure that your share of the business is secure; in other words, do not surrender control of your business in order to get the money to start up. Regaining control of your enterprise could be difficult and costly if it takes off.

You can also learn a lot about business procedures by setting an appointment with your banking institutions financial advisors/ small business team.

Start by stopping in and inquiring about setting up a business account.  To start your first business account, you must have a registered business name, unless your last name is part of the business name.  There is a fee for registering your business and fictitious business name, but the banking advisor will walk you through the steps and provide the address and information to register your business.

Make an Appointment with A Certified Accountant

Find an accountant or financial advisor who can provide an account advisor to can walk you through the steps involved in filing taxes, direct you to the right sources to register your business name and file for a business license.  If you make under $15,000 the first year, you may not need to file business taxes.  One of the first steps is to find out from a certified accountant what you need to do ahead of time, so that you save the appropriate receipts and account for business related items before the tax year ends. They can also assist you with setting up your business’s financial records, including payroll.

Register for Classes at the Better Business Bureau

better business bureau classes and trainingYou can find the Better Business Bureau in your area by visiting http://www.bbb.org/ and searching for the location by zip code.  This will give you a listing of the services for businesses in your area.  Contact the BBB office and tell them that you are starting your own business. Inquire about any classes they offer to residents in the area looking to start a new business.  The BBB also offers one-on-one business counseling and can assist you with finding the right financing.  Take as many free classes and sessions as possible; not only will this increase your knowledge, but you will also meet and interact with other like-minded business professionals in your area.

There are few things as satisfying in life as building an enterprise from the ground up, but do not expect it to be easy. The above tips have been used by many of the nation’s most successful businesses. By implementing them, you give yourself an excellent chance for success.

To start a career in business today, visit the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology with campuses in Media and Philadelphia, Pa.

 

How Students Can Use LinkedIn to Get a Job

linkedin logo

 

 

Did you know that at least one executive from all of 2012’s Fortune 500 companies has a profile on LinkedIn? How about that 85 of the Fortune 100 companies use this networking site for hiring?

Companies are turning to social media to find the most qualified candidates and at the top of that list is LinkedIn. They can review profiles to fill jobs instead of waiting for the right candidate to contact them. Learning how to use this site efficiently and effectively is the first step in managing your career path.

Focus on your LinkedIn Profile

A complete and current profile is a necessity on LinkedIn. As you add skills to your toolbox, make sure you update your LinkedIn profile. Remember, you are selling a product – yourself. That means always putting your best foot forward. Better skills increase your worth to a company looking to hire.

students use linkedinExperience is also part of the formula. Many recruiters will dismiss a profile with limited work background. Fill in more than one past employer if possible. This will get your profile viewed more often.

Make your LinkedIn page keyword rich. Describe what you do and what you have accomplished. Fully discuss your education and the organizations you serve – past or present. If you have certification in a specific software package, list it by name. Avoid generalities like “experience with graphic design software.” Be specific. The more keywords you offer, the better your chances of showing up in a search.

Remain Active on LinkedIn

The more you work the system, the better it will work for you. Recruiters look for approachable candidates on LinkedIn. Staying active is how they know your information is current. Job seekers can take advantage of everything the social network offers too. Join groups in your industry and from your school to increase your contact list. Remember to connect with your faculty members. They may have contacts in your field who are hiring.

Post items that showcase your expertise in a specific area, or repost stories that come from people within your network.  You want to showcase your knowledge. Sharing information or news can quickly draw attention to your profile from top companies and executives who are also looking to stay current on industry topics and trends.

Go on the Offensive

Job seekers shouldn’t sit around waiting for a company to stumble across their profile. LinkedIn is about social networking. It is not a resume posting service. You can expand your opportunities by looking for companies that interest you. Once you find them, follow their profiles as you would on any social media website. This helps you keep up to date on personnel changes or news about a promising company.

Don’t limit your interaction to the company profile either. Do some research to figure out who the company’s key players are and follow them. The more contacts you make, the more doors you open. Company profiles on LinkedIn will often list the executives. You can also try the business’ website to learn more about their staff and the company’s mission and goals.

Reach out to key players and request a connection or send tips and news to them directly.  Ask them if you can take them to lunch or a cup of coffee to share ideas on a specific topic.  People will respond to a person who is taking initiative and looking to expand their connections and experience.  Remember, a lot of these executives started out their careers being mentored by other executives in their industry and a lot are looking to pass forward their knowledge to the right person.  Why shouldn’t that be you?

Students Should Apply for Jobs Directly from LinkedIn

LinkedIn allows businesses to list job openings and accept applications directly from the website. This is a time saving tool for both employers and job seekers. Just as important, it sends a message to a company that you are an internet-savvy individual, fluent in all the modern tools.

The job search engine allows you to focus the query on keywords and advanced options like location. Once you find listings that meet your needs, look at your available connections for each. On LinkedIn, a connection means a contact related to the profile. If you see two connections, you have successfully networked with at least two people who know something about this company. Contact them to see if they can give you the name of a decision maker.

Be sure that the job you are applying for matches your past experience.  Make sure the keywords and skills that are mentioned in the job description are echoed in your profile.  People will be impressed by the fact that they found someone whose experience clearly matches the job description. Add or change your profile picture to one that shows you as a professional. Animals, avatars or cartoons are fun but may put off a company executive who is looking for a potential employee. Presenting a complete and accurate profile will increase the likelihood that your resume will be taken seriously as a contender.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool that may be useful in your job search. With practice, you can take social networking to the next level – one that gets you hired.