By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer
Baylor alumni Ben Cork, operational reporting and data management manager for LinkedIn, hosted a Zoom conference Wednesday to offer students his advice on how to best take advantage of the website’s features.
Cork recognized that in his professional career there was always a network connection that helped him get a job. He outlined how defining your professional brand, building your LinkedIn profile, building your professional network and using your network to connect to opportunity all would benefit the potential employee.
“A lot of jobs, a lot of companies, and a lot of recruiters look for you on LinkedIn,” Cork said, “you just have to know where to look and who to ask.”
Cork explained that a professional brand as what people expect, and it can be shaped by how you present yourself to others. A professional brand is important because it tells employers why they should pick one person over another.
He warned users to be mindful of their LinkedIn profiles, because it will be reflective of their professional brands.
Cork suggested to completely fill out the profile information and summary. Other than a resume, a LinkedIn profile speaks to all potential employees and goes into more detail with skills, projects and interests.
The Woodlands senior Morgan Bruce said the best piece of advice she heard from Cork wa, “to create a LinkedIn summary that goes beyond just who you are as a student. Talking about your passions and future goals on your profile allows for more ways to connect with recruiters.”
Cork warned students that in fact if their summary was under 40 words, their profile won’t show up in a search result, even though they may have the keyword an employer entered in their profile.
Cork also emphasized the power of networking. LinkedIn is a network of professionals, and Cork advised that users start by connecting with at least 500 people to show an extra level of effort. That can be co-workers, classmates, friends, and family members.
Cork encouraged students who may not have a super strong network to reach out to the Baylor resources.
“The career center has a plethora of resources available and I know I didn’t maximize them during my time at Baylor,” Cork said. “There are plenty of ways to make sure you’re connecting with the right people, even if your network is not where it should be.”
Around 50% of hires result in a personal connection Cork said. He also encouraged viewers to reach out to those who they have something in common with, can connect them to someone else, or can help them achieve their goals.
Cork said it is best to send a message along with a connection that is far removed from your personal networks. Introduce yourself, how you came across their profile, and what you’re looking for. Connection invites with a message are more likely to get accepted and may start a conversation.
Cork said it may be intimidating to reach out to those loose connections. Though, “there is a strong desire for people to help each other. Don’t be afraid to reach out, I almost always get a positive response,” Cork said.