IT Services's blog posts tagged with 'sussex university'

Make the most of LinkedIn

Jun

12

Social media that works for you

transparent-Linkedin-logo-iconIt might be that you’ve just graduated or that the idea of approaching your final year is making you think about what’s going to come next.   Or maybe you’re considering graduate opportunities, summer internships and doing what you can to begin shaping your post-university career.  You might be well-versed with Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, but LinkedIn may just be hovering around in your peripheral vision. Perhaps you’ve set up a profile already, but it’s lying dormant and underused.  Because let’s face it, LinkedIn is many things, but it’s not much fun.  It’s not where you go to see a string of photos of friends embarrassing themselves and each other, or to pass round the latest and greatest viral video.

Looking through your homepage on LinkedIn, (if you’re not doing it right, that is) is like the worst staff meeting EVER.  It’s full of professional backpatting, and the most flagrant and obtuse display of credentials and achievements that you can hope to thumb through during a toilet break.  But used well, LinkedIn can really become a very useful and active partner in the shaping of your future career.  Now that most companies have a very active LinkedIn presence (it’s the third most visited social media network, after Facebook and Twitter) it’s a great place to focus on your interests in a way that could hook you up with future employers.

What’s it for?

For a moment let’s pretend you’ve not heard of LinkedIn at all yet.  It’s basically Facebook but it operates in a purely professional realm.  It puts the emphasis on the networking of the social network; it’s about making professional contacts and reinforcing those you’ve already made.  It’s to see who your existing contacts know and who they might be able to introduce you to, and slowly but surely, it’s becoming a really useful, and potentially quite exciting, tool for job hunting.  Many companies are advertising positions on LinkedIn and you can apply to these directly through your profile.  Not only that, but recruitment agencies and headhunters are on the prowl for people who fit their spec for vacancies.  If you use your LinkedIn profile well, the chances are your next job may just come to you.

Your Profile

Your profile isn’t just your profile; it’s your online CV.  Present it well, as you’d like to put yourself across to future employers.  This doesn’t mean be drab and serious – nobody wants to have dull colleagues – but it’s not the best place for wacky profile shots.  Like the picture, the tenor of your profile should be professional, for the most part, but also engaging.

One recently added feature called Resume Builder takes all the information from your profile and, using one of several available templates, turns it into a PDF version of a CV.  How good is that?!  I for one hate the constant CV updating, the writing in of dates and responsibilities and grades, and to have something which does it for me is a dream come true.  However, it’s not perfect yet. Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 13.34.08 I think it’s a shame that you can put things like interests, causes and volunteer experience on your LinkedIn profile but these don’t (at the moment) show up on the CV.  Also, it’s very literal in the translation of your profile to a CV so make sure you check the formatting thoroughly.  I’m not sure that this tool is quite well developed enough to *completely* make CV-writing a thing of the past, but with a few tweaks it may well be.  Basically, what I’m saying is don’t rely on it 100% just yet, but keep checking back for updates.

Active profiles will attract the most attention, but remember to keep any posts you make relevant to your fields of interest.  With the feed becoming more similar to your standard Facebook view with our trusted friends “like,” “comment” and “share” accompanying each post, people are getting frowned upon for sharing more trivial posts, those that are more suitable for a Facebook feed and that detract from the professional focus of the site.  To post a cheesy and emotive career-centric motivational quote may just make the grade, but to post statuses on evening-time escapades and videos of babies giggling … well, it’s just not good LinkedIn etiquette.

Putting yourself out there

The great thing about LinkedIn is that you can really interact with and immerse yourself in the field of employment that you’d like to move into.  You want to work in TV?  Well, there are many ways on LinkedIn of connecting with people who already do.

Whilst some people may allow you to “connect” with them without , others you may be able to “follow” instead.  There is nothing stopping you – depending on their account settings – from directly contacting potential employers or people who you think might be a good connection for you – but be careful as LinkedIn doesn’t approve of people being too trigger-happy with the connect button.  You’ve only got a limited number (albeit 5000) of times you can connect with people, and you’re encouraged to only connect with people you actually know… but you can try circumnavigating this with a polite message about your interest and the reason for your connect request.

Another way to connect with people is to find and join groups that are relevant to your targeted area; again, using TV as an example, you can search in the Groups section for TV or Television, or be more specific such as TV editing, TV production and so on.  There will be a number of groups that are designated as only for established professionals, so if that’s not you yet, use the tools to refine the search to open groups only.  There’s no harm done by requesting to join the closed groups, though.  You’ll also find in most groups that there’s some sort of thread on which those who are happy to make new connections can say so, providing an arena for new, off-piste connections.

Finger on the pulse …

Influencers Q1_2014Yet another way to immerse yourself in the professional world of your potential future peers is to use the section of LinkedIn that’s called Pulse, which is currently nestled under the “Interests” tab.  Pulse is a publishing platform that’s a relatively new feature, and it acts simultaneously as a place to blog and get your own thoughts and ideas published as well as reading a vast array of articles written by other LinkedIn members in addition to articles from online news sites.  You can tailor your Pulse feed to your interests by choosing relevant topics to follow.  LinkedIn have their own selected board of “InFluencers” who used to be the only LinkedIn members who could contribute to this section of the site, but now it’s open to anyone and it’s a really great tool to get to grips with.  By posting thoughtful pieces of writing on Pulse, you exponentially increase your reach on LinkedIn; you can, again, really increase the attention you get from others in your field of interest.  And this works – a friend of mine has recently started publishing short articles and as a result, she’s actually getting more recruiters contacting her regarding potential employment opportunities.

Using LinkedIn well really is about being a go-getter – the contacts are out there and this network brings them all much, much closer.  It’s a great time to sign up as well, as LinkedIn is developing new features all the time and amongst the current 350 million members, you’re bound to make some great new links and you could find your life as a graduate gets off to a great start.

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What can you expect from IT Services at the University of Sussex?

Sep

03

It’s not long since the phones were ringing loud and often over at Clearing HQ and the air was generally abuzz with sounds of students celebrating getting into their university of choice, and it’s not long until you future freshers will start arriving on campus. There are all sorts of unknowns for you to deal with – who your flatmates might be, how much you’re going to have to read, and those things called washing machines – but we’ve decided to lay down in black and white what you can expect of IT Services here at Sussex.

The truth is, we’re all around you. That’s not meant to be creepy, it’s meant to be supportive and as if we’re super, super helpful (we are). From 1st September you can register online and once you’ve done that, you’ll get your IT username and password. Then you are truly one of us.

You might want to download the SussexMobile app before you come – it will have information about your welcome activities and all sorts on it. In fact it’s a very useful thing to use throughout your time at Sussex – it has your timetable, your email, information about your library account and your printing account, and other good things like news updates and finding a computer that’s available for use in a cluster room. Download it from the App Store or the Play Store by searching SussexMobile.

If you’re living on campus you’ll have wi-fi in your bedroom, however we recommend that you use the wired connection (using the cable provided) as you’ll get faster internet that way. You’ll find information in your room about how to connect but it’s also online. There’s also a new free wi-fi service for visitors on campus which is provided by O2. This is great, and it means your parents or whoever is dropping you off can hop online if they need to while they’re here, but as O2 are essentially the admins of it we can’t be of too much help if it’s not working for you as all support is provided by O2. Something that is a bit of an unknown is whether any games consoles or eReaders you might bring along will work on our system because of the authentication required. Because we’re often asked this, we’ve made FAQs about both consoles and eReaders for you already.

Now, outside of the residences there are over 800 student PCs available for use across campus, as well as printers and scanners. Even if you’ve brought your own laptop with you, you still might find these useful as they have lots of software installed on them that you can use, like the whole Adobe Creative Suite, for example. There’s also more specialist software and hardware for different subjects so make sure you familiarise yourself with what’s available. Other software you can download onto your own computer, such as Office 365 through which you can download apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. When you login to this online, you’ll also see that you’ve got 1 terabyte of cloud storage through OneDrive, which is in addition to the 50 gigabytes of storage you get via the student PCs.

You should also get acquainted with Sussex Direct and Study Direct. They sound similar but they do different things.  Sussex Direct is a kind of control panel for your time at university. It’s where your personal details can be viewed and edited, you can add money to your printing account and you can view information about your degree such as your module results and online feedback.

Study Direct is a Virtual Learning Environment (or a VLE) and it’s really where information about your courses in the here and now is stored. Each of your courses will appear there and it’s up to the tutor of that course how much information is then uploaded to it. You’ll find information about when and where the teaching sessions are taking place, a course outline, maybe some background information to the lectures or teaching sessions week by week, and some reading suggestions. There might be downloadable information and an interactive forum. It will also be where you upload any e-Submissions (any assignments that can be dealt with entirely electronically).

If you’re a bit worried that your IT skills might be slightly lagging behind, don’t worry – we offer plenty of free training courses at differing levels so you’re sure to learn some new skills. Whilst our friends in Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) predominantly support teaching staff in learning new tricks to aid their sessions, it’s really worth staying in touch with them as students too as they have really good tips for helpful technology that can help with your studies and also make any presentations you have to do really pop.

Now lastly, we’re always here if you need help. You can reach our support team online or come into see us in Shawcross (this will make more sense when you get here and you see how all our buildings have nice names) – the support desk is manned from 9am until 7pm weekdays during term time, and until 5.30pm during the holidays. Follow us on Facebook, like us on Twitter and stay in touch with our blog. We’re looking forward to having you here on our big happy IT network.

PS: Download our IT at Sussex booklet too, but you’ll get a copy at your IT induction session as well.