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6 Ways to Maximize Your Internship Using LinkedIn

If you’re a typical college student, you’re probably not massively into LinkedIn. Not having had much, if any, professional experience, you wonder who to connect with and how to make your scanty profile look attractive.

But once you score an internship, things are looking up for you on LinkedIn! Here are six ways you can make the most of your internship by using LinkedIn:

Summer Internship 2014 written in sand
Make the most of it! Image via insideiim.com.

1. Connect with your coworkers. Here’s your chance to connect with people in the professional world, and hopefully in an industry of interest to you. It is appropriate to send an invitation to anyone you have worked directly with, as well as anyone to whom you reported. Make sure you personalize your invitation; don’t just send the generic message. Timeline: Near the end of your internship.

2. Connect with other interns. While you may be the only intern in a small company, many large companies have hundreds of interns in specialized programs. Don’t forget to connect with your peers! Timeline: Anytime during your internship.

3. Follow the company where you’re interning. Following companies is a great way to see the latest job postings, blog posts, hiring news and more. The company logo will appear on your profile under ‘Following.’ While you’re at it, go ahead and follow more companies you’re interested in! LinkedIn explains how to follow a company (or unfollow one) here. Timeline: As soon as possible.

4. Ask for recommendations. While it’s nice to have endorsements on your profile, what really counts are recommendations. (You know, the ones where people actually have to write something about you and your work?) Send requests for recommendations to your internship supervisor and other professionals you have worked closely with while at the company. When you send the request, make sure to specify in what specific area or skill you would like to be recommended. Perhaps it is your work on a specific project, or your professionalism. This will make it easier for the recommender, thus scoring you even more bonus points! This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: If you had a troublesome internship, for any reason, and you don’t think you would receive a good recommendation, don’t ask for one. Here’s how to request a recommendation. Timeline: Soon after leaving your internship.

Influencers on LinkedIn
A sampling of LinkedIn Influencers and Channels.

5. Give recommendations. Receiving an unsolicited recommendation on LinkedIn is one of life’s simple pleasures. Everyone likes hearing good things about themselves, and then displaying them on their profile for others to see. Right? Think about who you could give a genuine recommendation to from the people you interacted with at your internship.

Who helped guide you? Answered your questions? Made you feel comfortable and part of the team? Take a few minutes to write a recommendation for those people. A paragraph will do. Read recommendations on other people’s profiles to get a feel for what they look like. Write the recommendation in your own voice and write like a human. Here’s how to recommend someone on LinkedIn. Timeline: Soon after leaving your internship.

6. Follow Influencers & Channels. Do your company CEO, CMO or other executives blog on LinkedIn? Influencers are people who have been hand-picked by LinkedIn to share their thoughts with the masses. You can follow luminaries like Richard BransonBan Ki-moon, and Arianna Huffington. There are 500 LinkedIn Influencers and surely some who you would find worth reading. Once you follow an Influencer, their new posts show up in your newsfeed.

The same goes for LinkedIn Channels. By subscribing to a Channel, you will get a steady stream of articles on a specific topic. Accounting, Design, Green Business and Careers: Getting Started are just a few of the many Channels available. Pick the ones that interest you the most and then read, like, share and comment. Timeline: Anytime you feel like getting smarter.

Think of LinkedIn as a ‘Facebook for the Working World’ (minus the drinking pix). This is where you grow your network, share your accomplishments, find like-minded individuals, and learn the path to success. Spend 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn, and you will learn the ins and outs, as well as a lot about what it takes to be a successful professional in the 21st century.

Have any questions for me about LinkedIn? Share in the comments and I’ll respond here, or tweet me @kellylux

Kelly Lux

Kelly is the former Executive Editor of Information Space. Kelly currently teaches courses on Social Media, Online Community Management, and Content Strategy and Application, and she is currently the Assistant Director of the Communications@Syracuse program.

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