Leveraging LinkedIn to Work for You

  • Posted on: 3 March 2019
  • By: minnesotangos

Ana Vergara

The value of a human rights practitioner can range from being an advocate, campaigner, peacekeeper, investigator, to artist. However, sometimes when I share that I’m a human rights practitioner, I get a deer in headlights stare. As a MINN fellow, I’ve had the opportunity to share and, quite frankly, GEEK OUT about what it means to be a human rights practitioner through the extensive MINN network and by using my advocacy skills through LinkedIn.

Today, there is a need for more conversations around human rights and what it means to view your work through this lens. LinkedIn is a useful platform to have these needed conversations with professionals including and beyond the human rights community.

As a person of color, I understand that in some communities, “tooting” your successes can be viewed as vain. However, in the world of LinkedIn, we merely want to know who you are and what you bring to the table. Often, you bring a lot more than you give yourself credit for. In a world led by the globalized labor market, it’s up to us to tell our stories and communicate our ideas through platforms like LinkedIn.

A MINN board member, KaYing, recently led a LinkedIn workshop through MINN where we learned to not shy away from sharing the careers we’ve so tirelessly invested in. Instead, we leverage our passion and knowledge to share with others. 

So here are five takeaways on how to advocate for yourself using LinkedIn:

  1. Don’t believe the events you are attending or your original published content are too small to share on LinkedIn. Chances are other professionals are seeking similar opportunities or have similar interests.
  2. Pay it forward by actively promoting your connections. If you want others to share the buzz about your amazing work, you must invest in doing the exact same for your network.
  3. This is YOUR platform to show how much you care about your work. It may sound obvious, but all those customization features are there for you to be creative by using punchlines in your intro or highlighting impacts you’ve made throughout your career. It’s not a place to simply list boring duties.
  4. Creep, look into what other people are doing! Trust me, I’m a millennial. I know that the majority of you already do this on Facebook. But, be sure to TURN ON YOUR PRIVATE MODE before you look at other profiles for ideas and inspiration, or to simply strategize your networking game plan.
  5. Take the leap! The hardest part is starting, not what comes after.

If you liked these tips, please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn! I look forward to learning more about who you are and what gifts you bring to the world.

About the Author:

Ana Vergara is a Master of Human Rights candidate at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. Ana has worked at the Amnesty International headquarters in Washington, DC as a refugee campaigner. Her campaign work specifically focused on asylum seekers at the southern border and family separation. She has created story toolkits meant to empower immigrant and refugee voices. Her work has been used as outreach material for Hollywood screenwriters, such as those of Jane the Virgin and Queer Eye. This spring, you’ll find her preparing to take a group of Humphrey students to lobby at Capital Hill on human rights abuses.