When Steve Kearns graduated from USC Annenberg in 2016, he was ready to jump into a professional career. He had been drawn to public relations because of the practical tools, resources and skill-building the program offers. While an undergraduate PR major, Kearns made connections while interning for leading entertainment brands and learned firsthand knowledge about industry needs. These real-life experiences gave Kearns the confidence to remain focused, take initiative and be creative in his approach.
While still attending USC, Kearns decided to complete his LinkedIn profile and see what opportunities might become available. “In doing so, it made me more visible to recruiters — especially those at LinkedIn. In the fall semester of my senior year a recruiter at LinkedIn reached out to me via InMail, inviting me to interview for open roles at the company. Following a series of interviews, I received an offer to join them in my current capacity,” Kearns said.
Now the social media lead at LinkedIn, Kearns returns to USC Annenberg on Oct. 17 to share his insights with current students. Here are five tips on how to market yourself on LinkedIn, from Steve Kearns:
1. Build-out your profile
LinkedIn makes it easy to craft a professional profile. Include a professional headshot and an interesting headline. Talk about what you are passionate about — adding any sort of work experience, such as student organizations, volunteer work and internships — anything the employer will think is relevant. Add media work and attachments, too.
Once you have everything filled-out, the “All-Star” designation will appear on your profile; this means your profile is complete and you are more likely to appear at the top of employer searches. In addition, adding a picture can garner you up to 60 percent more profile views.
2. Engage with content
Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to industries you want to pursue and consider posing specific topics for conversation. Follow influencers and companies, which will allow you to see their postings and express interest. The more engaged you are on LinkedIn, the more visibility you gain among recruiting managers and professionals.
3. Publish content
Another way you can build your presence on LinkedIn and offer a leadership perspective is by adding professionally relevant content on the site’s writing platform. So, for instance, when you learn about a new trend in marketing you might consider posting a long-form update on the topic rather than a status update. Recruiters like to see genuine opinions and knowledge.
4. Use the “InMail” feature
In addition to engagement and publishing, reaching out to recruiters via the “InMail” feature can be key. After you apply to a job, go back to find the recruiter through InMail and send a follow-up message. This way, not only have you applied, but you have taken the extra step to express your genuine interest upfront.
5. Don’t forget the “Jobs” and “Alumni” tools
Use the “Alumni” tool to see who at your targeted company graduated from USC. And use “Jobs” tool to apply directly within LinkedIn.
The Trojan Family isn’t just clever branding — it’s the real deal. At LinkedIn, USC alums have been my biggest advocates and closest colleagues; they help me navigate challenging times and join me in celebrating triumphant ones.
Also, applying directly via LinkedIn allows recruiters to view your profile directly, and saves you the trouble of attaching tedious cover letters, resumes, letters of recommendation and more. Whereas traditional job applications may take 30 minutes or more to complete, applying via LinkedIn should take no more than a few seconds of your time.