LinkedIn is the top online professional networking site. It allows you to connect globally with other professionals, join groups, share ideas and information, follow companies, and search for jobs. It also helps others seeking talent to find you.
Create an account
Create an account at LinkedIn.com, and set up your profile to communicate your professional brand and expertise.
Your LinkedIn headline is important as it is the only customizable information people will immediately see in search results and group discussions. Consider the needs of your target employers and the skills, experiences, and strengths you want to highlight.
Your summary should answer the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Think about big-picture skills and accomplishments that showcase your expertise in your field, or highlight experience you are gaining to become an expert.
Connect with your network
Once your profile is complete, start connecting with people you already know through work, associations, friends, and family. Your immediate network is your 1st degree connections, and their connections become your 2nd and 3rd degree connections. This circle continues to grow as you connect with new people, and it will assist in uncovering new opportunities.
Join relevant LinkedIn groups to expand your network, gain subject matter insight, and post articles or comments to showcase your expertise. Walden University Career Planning and Development has a LinkedIn group you can join to stay current on upcoming Career Planning and Development webinars, read career articles, and pose questions related to career management.
We also recommend you join groups in your
- desired career field
- Walden degree program
- professional association(s)
- alumni group(s)
For additional ideas, identify a mentor or professional in your field and review their LinkedIn profile. Look at the groups they are participating in and decide if they would be beneficial to you.
Become part of our growing community by joining the Walden University Career Planning and Development LinkedIn group. Our group connects Walden students and alumni for professional networking and sharing career information. Identify your Walden University degree program on your LinkedIn profile as you make your request to join.
Comment on blog posts or start a blog of your own to showcase areas of expertise. This can also strengthen your brand and increase visibility to your network.
A few blogging tips:
- Set a goal and know your audience.
- Have a schedule for when and how often you will post.
- Set a professional tone; you are showcasing your thoughts, as well as enhancing your brand.
- Demonstrate strong writing skills by carefully proofreading your post.
- Include a link to your blog on your business card and/or e-mail signature to increase visibility.
To use Twitter for your brand, networking, and job search, create a professional profile and name. Next, take time to learn how Twitter can work for you. There are many ways to be active; however, remember who you follow, what you post, and how you present yourself become public and a part of your professional identity.
Be active on Twitter with these tips:
- Tweet. These 140-character posts can demonstrate your expertise to your followers.
- Retweet (RT). If you like something another professional tweeted, re-tweet it.
- Reply to a tweet. This is a quick way to showcase your opinion and expertise.
- Follow industry experts. Staying up to date on their tweets is a great way to know what is going on in your industry.
- @ mention industry experts. These are public messages mentioning a specific recipient. Post with an @ mention thanking someone for their time, or congratulating them on an achievement.
- Follow organizations. This will provide you with insider information beneficial in a job search.
- Direct message (DM). Send a private message to a recipient, such as a hiring manager.
- # hashtag your topic. Use a hashtag as a virtual filing cabinet, grouping your tweet into a searchable category.
- Favorite a tweet. This acts as a bookmark so you can visit the tweet later.
Follow these resources on Twitter:
- staffing managers
- potential coworkers (industry experts)
- career experts
- professional associations
Facebook can be used for your professional brand, network, and job search. Like with any social media site, you decide how to best use Facebook for your needs. Keep in mind that your activity on Facebook (e.g., who you follow, what you post) becomes a part of your professional identity. Some Facebook users establish a professional profile or page in addition to their personal profile. This allows a balance between social media “fun” and professional networking and job searching.
Below are some tips to get you started using Facebook for job searching and networking. If you choose to apply these tips, remember that they will become visible to your “friends.” Keep this in mind if, for instance, you are connected with your current boss or coworkers and start “liking” job search pages.
Brand yourself on Facebook with these tips:
- Have a professional profile and profile picture.
- Check your profile privacy settings to know who has access.
- Start a group or page showcasing your expertise.
- Comment on posts to gain recognition.
Expand your network on Facebook with these tips:
- “Like” organization pages.
- Identify a recruiter or industry expert and see if you are connected through friends of friends.
Job search on Facebook with these tips:
- Update your status to reflect what you are seeking.
- Use job search apps.
- “Like” job site pages.
- Join job search groups.
Communicate Your Brand
Your brand captures what strengths, experiences, and attributes make you stand out from a crowd. Once you identify your brand, convey it consistently across multiple venues, such as in conversation, on your resume, during formal and informal interviews, in a professional bio, or on your LinkedIn profile.
Develop a short branding statement to help others quickly understand what you do, why you do it, and what makes you stand out from others in your field. A branding statement should be 1-2 sentences and entice others to want to know more about you. Below are a few examples:
“I troubleshoot online orders and technologies to create a positive and memorable customer service experience.”
“I work to make healthcare systems accessible and inclusive for all individuals by fostering interdepartmental collaborations.”
“I coach and inspire emerging leaders on how to help their organizations adapt to rapidly changing environments.”
“I use quantitative and qualitative research skills to design engagement surveys for nonprofit organizations.”
Highlight your unique brand in the Summary of Qualifications section of your resume. Align relevant aspects of your brand with the specific position you are targeting to convey how you can add value to employers. Below are a few examples:
“Collaborative and forward-thinking healthcare professional with fourteen years’ progressive experience in the nonprofit healthcare industry.”
“Efficient quality improvement leader and MBA student with 3+ years of call center experience in financial products.”
“Social services professional and instructor with experience in crisis intervention, case management, advocacy, life skills training, and adult learning."
Visit the Resumes & More tab to learn how to create a strong Summary of Qualifications section and view 40+ resume samples on the Custom Samples page for ideas.
Formal and Informal Interviews:
Practice communicating your unique brand during formal and informal interviews to strengthen professional connections and bring your best self forward. Knowing your strengths and how you can add value to others can help you answer the types of questions below with greater clarity and confidence.
Tell me about yourself.
What are your strengths?
Why are you the best candidate for this position?
Visit the Interviews tab for additional interviewing tips and resources.
Communicate your brand by writing a short bio that summarizes your greatest academic, professional, and community skills and accomplishments. Below are a few tips for writing a bio:
- Start with your name and write your bio in third person.
- Include your current position or role (if you are employed).
- Share several major professional, academic, and community achievements that your audience would find interesting.
- Give your bio a personal touch – what are you most passionate about? Again, your bio should reflect the unique aspects of your brand.
Share your unique brand on your LinkedIn profile. Create a Header that includes your main areas of expertise or professional roles, then develop a strong About section by expanding upon your greatest skills and strengths. Refer to the Networking tab for additional LinkedIn resources.
Prepare a 30-second pitch, the approximate length of time you would ride on an elevator with someone, to convey who you are, what you are doing professionally, and where you are headed. Practice your pitch to deliver a confident, natural introduction.
The goal of your elevator pitch is to lay the groundwork for an interactive, mutually beneficial conversation with your new contact by building on common interests and goals. As you both share your backgrounds, you may decide to schedule a follow-up conversation, so be sure to exchange contact information.
Sample elevator pitches:
"I'm pursuing my Ed.D, which complements my 10 years of teaching experience with the goal of moving into administration. I am researching whether increased computer usage affects elementary students' participation in extracurricular activities. In other words, is Facebook taking kids off the soccer field?"
"As a Master's in Nursing student at Walden University, I am working toward becoming a family nurse practitioner. Before going back to school, I worked as an RN on an Orthopedic Surgery Floor at XYZ Hospital, providing pre and post-surgical care. My passion for individualized healthcare, especially for underserved populations, drives my interest in cost-effective healthcare solutions."
"As an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling student at Walden University, I am working toward becoming a licensed counselor. Before going back to school, I worked as a mental health worker at a halfway house for mentally ill and chemically dependent adults. My passion for improving the lives of people with mental illness, especially in underserved populations, drives my interest in becoming a counselor."
Follow these guidelines on how to list academic credentials in your signature.
Before You Graduate
When creating an academic e-mail signature block for Walden University, as well as for most professional correspondence, you should only use the academic credential that you have earned after your name. You should not use amended forms of a degree (e.g., PhD-C or PhD(c)) to indicate partial completion of your program, nor should you use ABD (all-but-dissertation). None of these designations are accepted credentials, and using them may confuse others, including prospective employers. These amended forms are not recognized by Walden University either.
While a doctoral student, you can use any other academic credential you have already earned (including a first doctoral degree, if applicable). For e-mail originating from your Walden account, you should include a designation of your status in the academic program in the signature block on the second line (e.g., doctoral student or doctoral candidate). You should not include any references to other positions you hold outside of the university.
Chris C. Cumberbatch, MSW
Student, PhD in Social Work
When you qualify, you should refer to yourself as a "doctoral candidate" in correspondence, instead of being ABD. Candidacy status says that you are an active, advanced student, pursuing the last part of your doctoral degree. ABD is not an actual degree nor is it a credential; it is often used informally by individuals who did not complete their degree after they have stopped being a student. All amended forms of the doctoral degree credential, indicating partial attainment, should be avoided in your signature, as well. The intention to complete and progress toward a degree are different than actually completing one.
Mary Jane Smith, MBA
Doctoral Candidate, Doctor of Business Administration
Definition of Doctoral Candidacy
The status of “doctoral candidate” is defined as an advanced graduate student who has demonstrated mastery of the knowledge of an academic domain or discipline and a readiness to embark on the capstone project.
A Walden University student is considered a doctoral candidate when the following expectations, as prescribed in the Program of Study, have been completed.
- Academic Coursework
- Core Research Courses
- Academic Residencies (except Residency 4 for PhD students)
- Prospectus, approved by the Academic Program Director or designee following successful rubric examination, and on record with the Office of Student Research Administration
- Other specific requirements stipulated by the academic program
After You Graduate
Upon conferral of your degree, however, you should begin using that new credential on your academic and/or professional correspondence, directly after your name. Also, in most situations, you need only list your highest credential, based on an assumption that you also have the degrees leading up to it. You do not need to spell it out, nor do you need to include your academic specialization. No need to include periods in the abbreviation either.
Joseph J. Johnson, PhD
It is advisable for you to double check the standard in your profession/discipline for the use of “Dr.” as a designation in your e-mail signature. In only a few professional areas is it considered acceptable to use both “Dr.” and your doctoral degree. The preferred convention is to include the degree abbreviation at the end to indicate to everyone that you hold a doctoral degree, and to use Dr. as you would use Mr. or Ms.
An e-mail signature should not be a replacement for your resumé or curriculum vitae, but in some professional contexts, you may choose to include a relevant license or professional credential after your doctoral degree (e.g., LPC, RN). Again, restraint is usually warranted. Even though you have earned them, including an entire alphabet of letters after your name may communicate a level of egocentrism that is not congruent with your intention.
In summary, there are two general rules for academic/professional communications, which includes e-mail signature blocks: (1) only include the degree and credentials that you have earned, and (2) when in doubt about what to include, less is generally more. Specific contexts outside of Walden University may require a different strategy, however, so try to model your signature on professionals at the same level of training in that context.
Why is Networking Important?
- Approximately 80% of jobs are in the non-advertised "hidden job market."
- Employers are more likely to interview someone whose work and reputation they know, either directly or indirectly.
- You learn about career opportunities, work environments, best practices, hot topics and challenges, and key players in your career field.
- You can showcase information, accomplishments, passions, and skills that might not arise in an interview.
- You strengthen your professional reputation or "brand."
Building Your Network
Start by taking an inventory of people you already know, as they might be important contacts or know others who can benefit you. Reach out to professionals in your field, students, colleagues, supervisors, friends, and family via e-mail, phone, or LinkedIn to ask for advice and let them know what you are seeking.
- Alumni organizations (including the Walden University Alumni Association)
- Student organizations (including Walden University Student Organizations)
- Participants at conferences, seminars, or workshops
- Professional associations
- Volunteer service organizations
- Walden faculty, students, staff
- Former workplace contacts
- Clubs, such as hobby groups or fitness facilities
- Military colleagues
- Political groups
- Service professionals: attorneys, accountants, doctors, dentists, insurance agents, pharmacists, realtors, travel agents, veterinarians
- Children's contacts: PTA, Little League, Scouts, parents of their friends
- Faith-based communities
- Develop your brand. Think about what makes you stand out in your current or desired career field.
- Clean up your online image. Conduct a simple internet search of your name to see what is currently out there. Remember, if people can find it, it is a part of your brand.
- Build relationships offline. Professional associations, volunteering, and connecting with your community will quickly expand your network.
- Build relationships online. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and blogs are great social media tools to showcase expertise and expand your network.
- Tailor your LinkedIn profile. Complete your profile to 100% and tailor your headline and summary.
- Target your efforts. Take time to set networking goals and reflect upon your progress.
- Share your passion. When you meet someone new, it is your opportunity to share your passion toward your field.
- Show gratitude. Send a thank-you note when a professional goes out of his or her way to meet with you.
- Follow up. Set a date when you will follow up with people in your network to maintain your relationships.
- Give back to your network. Once you have established your network, pay it forward and be a mentor for others!
Associations and Professional Development
- Academic Employment Network
- Association of American Educators
- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Higher Education & Online Learning
- American Association for Adult and Continuing Education
- American Association for Higher Education and Accreditation
- American Association of Community Colleges
- American Association of University Professors
- Association for the Study of Higher Education
- National Student Success Advising Association
- National Association of Student Affairs Professionals
- Get Educated
- Higher Education Recruitment Consortium
- Inside Higher Ed
- National Association of Colleges and Employers
- Society for Research in Adult Development
- US Distance Learning Association
Military & International
- Department of Defense - Office of Education
- Department of State
- Institute of International Education
- NAFSA: Association of International Educators
- Troops to Teachers
- American Association for Employment in Education
- American School Counselors Association
- Association of American Educators
- Association for Middle Level Education
- International Literacy Association
- Learning Forward
- National Association for Bilingual Education
- National Commission on Teaching and America's Future
- National Council of Teachers in English
- National Education Association
- New Teachers Project
- Resumes for Teachers
- State Departments of Education Directory
- Teach for America
- Early Childhood- Career Development Resource Guide
- National Association for the Education of Young Children
- Association for Early Learning Leaders
- National Child Care Association
- National Head Start Association
- American Association of School Administrators
- Association of Teacher Educators
- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
- National Association of Elementary School Principals
- National Association of Secondary School Principals
- American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
- Council for Exceptional Children
- National Association of Special Education Teachers
- American Communication Association
- American Educational Research Association
- Association for Educational Communications and Technology
- Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education
- International Society for Technology in Education
- National Center for Education Statistics
- Research Gate
- Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education
Clinical Research Administration
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
- American College of Healthcare Executives
- Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals
- Professional Association of Healthcare Office Management
- National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants
- American Association of Healthcare Consultants
- American College of Epidemiology
- American Public Health Association
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
- Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
- International Epidemiological Association
- National Association of Community Health Centers
- National Environmental Health Association
- Society for Public Health Education
- Society for Epidemiological Research
- Alliance for Nursing Informatics
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners
- American Nurses Association
- American Nursing Informatics Association
- American Society on Aging
- Association for Nursing Professional Development
- Doximity: The Professional Medical Network
- ENP Network
- National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
- The Gerontological Society of America
- The Nursing Directory
Management & Technology
- American Management Association
- American Society of Association Executives
- American Society for Quality
- Biz Journals
- CEO Express
- Fast Company
- Fortune Magazine
- Institute of Behavioral and Applied Management
- International Institute of Business Analysis
Accounting & Finance
- American Accounting Association
- American Finance Association
- Association for Finance Professionals
- Association of Professional Accounting and Tax Consultants
- International Federation of Accountants
- National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
- American Communication Association
- Association for Business Communication
- International Association of Business Communicators
- National Speakers Association
Entrepreneurship & Small Business
- Applied Business and Entrepreneurship Association International
- Entrepreneur Magazine
- Entrepreneurs' Organization
- National Federation of Independent Business
- National Association of Business Owners and Entrepreneurs
- National Federation of Independent Business
- United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
- U.S. Small Business Administration
Global Supply Chain Management
- Association for Talent Development
- International Association of Administrative Professionals
- National Human Resources Association
- Professionals in Human Resources Management Association
- Society for Human Resource Management
Leadership & Organizational Change
- Association of Change Management Professionals
- Association of Leadership Programs
- International Leadership Association
- International Organization Development Association
- International Society for Organization Development and Change
- National Management Association
- National Society of Leadership and Success
- Organization Development Network
- Toastmasters International
- International Association of Project Managers
- International Project Management Association
- Project Management Institute
Sales, Marketing & Advertising
- American Marketing Association
- Business Marketing Association
- Internet Marketing Association
- National Association of Sales Professionals
- Sales and Marketing Executives International
- Society for Marketing Professional Services
- American Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
- Association for Information Systems
- Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)
- Association for Women in Computing (AWC)
- Computing Research Association
- National Cybersecurity Training and Education Center
- Data Science Association
- MIT CSAIL Software Engineering Research
- International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology (ACSIT)
- IEEE Computer Society
- Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
- Information Systems Audit and Control Association
- Information Systems Security Association
- Information Week
- International Association of Privacy Professionals
- International Society of Automation (ISA)
- Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
- Tech Guide
- Women In Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
- Women In Technology International
- CompTIA’s IT Certification Roadmap
- Microsoft Learn: Certifications
Social & Behavioral Sciences
Counseling, Social Work, and Human Services
- American Counseling Association
- Association for Counselor Education and Supervision
- Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
- Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities- Provider Search
- Council on Accreditation - Who is Accredited Search
- Joint Commission-Quality Check Search
- National Board for Certified Counselors
- Psychology Today's Find a Therapist Search
Criminal Justice & Forensics
- American Board of Forensic Psychology
- American Correctional Association
- American Probation and Parole Association
- Correctional Education Association
- International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology
- National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association
- National Institute of Corrections
- National Organization for Victim Assistance
Human Services & Administration
- American Public Human Services Association
- Human Services Administration Organization
- National Organization for Human Services
Marriage & Family
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- Association of Child Life Professionals
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors
- International Family Therapy Association
- National Association for Family Childcare
- The National Council on Family Relations
Mental Health & Therapy
- American Mental Health Counselors Association
- Association for Specialists in Group Work
- Mental Help Net
- National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
- National Association of Social Workers
- National Institute of Mental Health
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Council on Social Work Education
- International Federation of Social Workers
- National Association of Social Workers
- Social Work Policy Institute
- Society for Social Work and Research
- The New Social Worker
Trauma & Emergency Response
- The International Association for Disaster Preparedness and Response
- National Emergency Management Association
- American Psychological Association
- Association for Psychological Science
- Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers
- Career Profiles - Careers in Psychology
- Government Jobs: Position Classification Standard for Psychology Series
- Divisions of APA (50+ Psychology specialty areas)
- International Association of Applied Psychology
- Learn Psychology- Job Guide
- Psi Chi- The National Honor Society in Psychology
- Career Transition Booklet
Clinical & Counseling
- Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology
- Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards
- Society for Research in Child Development
- Educational Psychology- APA Division 15
- International School Psychology Association
- National Association of School Psychologists
- American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP)
- American Psychology: Law Society - APA Division 41 (AP-LS)
- International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology (IACPF)
- Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology (JPCP)
- Society for Police and Criminal Psychology (SPCP)
- American Psychosomatic Society
- Society for Health Psychology - APA Division 38
- Society of Behavioral Medicine
- Association for Talent Development (ATD)
- Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES)
- Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA)
- Public Sector HR Association (PSHRA)
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- Society of Psychologists in Leadership (SPL)
- The Association for Business Psychology (ABP)
- The Society of Evidence-Based Organizational Consulting (SEBOC)
Public Policy & Administration
- American Society for Public Administration
- American Political Science Association
- Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
- Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration
- Alliance for Non-Profit Management
- American Society of Association Executives
- Association of Fundraising Professionals
- Making a Difference Through Volunteering and Nonprofit Careers
- National Council of Nonprofits
- NonProfit Times
- Human Rights Organizations and Resources
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy
- Worldwide NGO Directory
Visit the Career Exploration page (Government button) for a list of websites and resources.