Monday, May 30, 2016

6 LinkedIn Tips for College Students

6 LinkedIn tips and hacks for college students/recent graduates. There are a large amount of Do's and Don't's on LinkedIn however, this is a start to what your LinkedIn profile should look like.

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I'm sharing with you the secrets to LinkedIn success because, after becoming one of the top 1% LinkedIn profiles amongst my University, I have to do something with the hours of research I put into learning about the different LinkedIn features. 

As the new Vice President of my school's NSBE club, an academic and professional development group, I've discovered that many students still see LinkedIn as the "Facebook for Old People." There has not been one professional event or hackathon where I didn't connect with someone on LinkedIn, therefore building my network for future reference. LinkedIn has also noticed this deficit amongst college students and built an app to cater to our needs.  

1. Study what everyone else is doing. Look at professional’s in your industry profiles, take note on verbiage and tactics you can bring to your profile. However, some things are customized or may not be suited for you. Throw these ideas out of the window and be selective of what you put on your page.

2. Start by bringing your personal page to your family/friends. Add family/friends to not only build your network internally but, also to receive feedback on your profile. You may not realize how confusing it is to be looking for a tech job and have a profile full of irrelevant positions about your cooking experience.

3. Don’t only say what you’ve done- show it! Post samples of your work or share articles about your achievements, it gives you more credibility. 

4. Find out where is your community engaging? What are the most popular groups? You must be interested in your professional development so start by JOINING this group: Professional Development in College. 

Once you join a group, aim to post in it at least once a month... Then gradually become a weekly contributor. This will depict you as a knowledgeable resource in a given topic.

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5. Get creative: Post updates on the LinkedIn feed, ask questions, and link to other sites. OR if you have a blog, cross-share these post on LinkedIn to gain blog readers AND prove your expertise WHILE getting recruiters and future clients to notice you.

6. Continuously update your profile and your connections. Alongside having a relevant profile, you need relevant contacts. Maintain connections by annually reaching out to your connections by asking about their professional endeavors since you last saw each other.
These tips are hacks and secrets because, they are steps that the general public neglect to take. The current LinkedIn practice has been to create a profile, throw up your work experience, and add the recommended profiles. Then, you sit and wait till your profile miraculously baits recruiters to gift you a job. 

WELLLLL…… in such a competitive job market, it’s going to take a bit more effort to differentiate yourself from the 300+ million LinkedIn members. This can be done by taking an hour of your afternoon or study break to check out updates in LinkedIn groups or send a quick message to the recruiter you met at the NSBE convention. 

This guide is for people who have already set up a profile and these 6 steps should be taken to enhance your LinkedIn experience.

Join my LinkedIn group to connect with me and others interested in Professional Development!

LinkedIn's University team put together a checklist for students who need assistance setting up their profiles here.

Grammarly yours, Semirah D

P.S. The Just Apply Inc. non-profit for professional development in colleges is building a community of STEM and business students who are interesting in professional development. You can join on LinkedIn here. Also, I would greatly appreciate some feedback about the LinkedIn group since this is a new venture. You can tweet me like "hey Semirah, maybe the LinkedIn group would be better suited for professional tutorials!" OR "Yo Semirah, I just applied to a scholarship through your LinkedIn group, thanks!" Either message would be greatly appreciate. xoxoxo

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or paid post. I am truly just obsessed with finding all the cool features on LinkedIn and exploiting them. And then sharing all of these features with fellow college students and friends puts more value into the hours I spent. However, LinkedIn you are more than welcome to reach out to me! I'd love a tour of the Mountain View or NYC headquarters.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

MIT Hacking Medicine Grand Hack Competition 2016

I applied to the MIT Hacking Medicine competition and the Grand Hack committee accepted me as one of the 40% out of 2,000 international applicants. After being informed about how many people were turned down from this event, I knew I couldn’t miss it or casually opt out. This was my first healthcare hackathon so, I didn’t really know how to prepare (compared to a tech focused hackathon where I can think of ways to use the sponsors software or devices). I planned to enthusiastically join a team and devote my services at the MIT Hacking Medicine competition.

Day 1 of Grand Hack, I arrived early and as I’ve learned at past hackathons, I have to jump right in and just start networking. I was at MIT, (there was no harm to networking with every professional in site.) I sparked up a conversation with one of the sponsors and it was actually her first hackathon so, after hearing that I’m a veteran/ ‘expert’ hackathoner, she asked me for some advice. This was surprisingly a reoccurring conversation. It was many participants first hackathon so, after learning that this was not my first rodeo, people would lay out a set of beginner hackathon questions that I was happy to share my insight on. MIT Hacking Medicine was different so, I’ll tell you why this was many attendees first hackathon (being that you would expect MIT to recruit a plethora of hackathon experts). The Grand Hack team pulled a very diverse pool of talent to make this event medical focused. Only 20% of the attendees were your traditional programming software engineers. The other 80% were clinicians, doctors, medical students, venture capitalist, techies, and more!

To top that diversity, there were 20 countries present. I ended up meeting a young doctor from Ireland! My table alone had 6 countries represented.

After the introduction of the Grand Hack team and the sponsors, it was time for team pitching and forming. For Day 1, there is no time to waste. I had to keep reminding myself that when I would sit down and not introduce myself to the stranger next to me. It took me a little bit to warm up but, I shook hands with my seat strangers and asked about people’s backgrounds. 1) Because I was curious and 2) Because I was scoping out who I’d want on my team. Many of these medical professionals and engineers did not end up on my team but, they ended up being people to talk to the next 48 hours and later LinkedIn contacts to call on for future reference.
The teams were pitched and I narrowed my options down to three teams. I spoke to each presenter of those three teams and decided to join one of the engineers who was an employee of a company that was sponsoring the hackathon, Validic.

Day 2) long story short for Day 2 was that we spent hours brainstorming and walking around our original idea. All the while, we had 4-6 mentors come by and offer their insight. It wasn’t until 10PM did the lightbulbs go off and we decided to run with our idea.

Day 3) The mentors from yesterday checked in with us to see our growth. Our mentors included; an Emergency Medicine doctor from Massachusetts, a representative from the TCMx accelerator, a venture capitalist, another clinician, and a healthcare entrepreneur. Thank you Grand Hack team for offering the services of 100+ professionals and experts in the healthcare industry. I mean, they got doctors to take a whole weekend to help a bunch of college kids with ‘pie in the sky’ ideas. Having time with just 6 of those 100+ mentors was an invaluable opportunity that I hope I took full advantage of. Time with these mentors not only evolved our project for the competition but, it also helped out the mentors. The mentors and participants networked, saw how each other worked in teams (aka future job opportunities here and future program participants, etc.), and overall everyone walked away learning or gaining something new.

This competition exposed me to the innovative side of the healthcare industry as a mechanical engineer and opened me up to a community that could aide in bringing my ideas further. Spending the weekend at MIT for Grand Hacks was definitely a spark in my early engineering career and I know it will help me later down the road.  

Resources used during this hackathon:
Datasets from: Allscripts, Intersystems, and more.

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Previous post in my Women Engineer in Training series:
WeCode Harvard 2016: A gathering of really cool women engineers
NSBE42 Convention: Sharing tips to excel academically and professionally 
BostonHacks: My intro to using wearable technology (aka Fitbits/Garmins/etc. for non-fitness uses)
NSBE Biz Competition Video: Watch me on Youtube!!

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