How to use LinkedIn

Linkedin how toWhen LinkedIn is brought up many of people say “I don’t understand what it does,” or “I don’t know how to use it.” Are you one of those people?

Consider this:  According to the Pew Research Center, LinkedIn subscribers are especially high among people that have bachelor’s degrees and make $75,000 or more a year. Aren’t these the people you want to connect with professionally?

No matter what kind of job you are looking for, having a strong, polished online presence can help professionals reach you.

So how do you use LinkedIn to its full potential?

When you initially set up a profile with LinkedIn, the social media site will walk you through the process of getting your professional network established.

The first thing that LinkedIn will ask you to do is upload a picture. Remember that this is a professional site, so you should choose a professional picture. If you don’t have one, put on a blazer or business casual outfit and recruit someone to take a few for you to choose from.

Next, LinkedIn will ask questions such as: What is your past job experience, what kind of skills you have, what is your educational experience, etc. If you don’t have an appropriate answer for some of the questions, that’s okay because you can skip them. However, if you do have an answer, be sure to fill it out completely and professionally

Now that you have your profile set up, the next step is to connect with people and build your network.

In order to connect with someone you must have a relationship with them in some way. It might be someone from work or someone you used to know in school. You might have their contact information, like an email to show you have connected with them before. Perhaps you have this information from a recently acquired business card. If you want to use this as your contact reference, and you have just met the person, do it very soon after meeting. This keeps you top-of-mind and gives you an opportunity to use LinkedIn as a way to continue that introductory conversation.

Another thing to consider when connecting with someone is the invitation message. This is the equivalent of the “Friend Request” in Facebook. You are essentially asking someone to be part of your professional network. LinkedIn offers generalized messages to help, such as “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” but if you are trying to impress someone or remind someone of a prior meetings (perhaps at a job fair or trade show), a helpful tip is to customize the message. A simple template to follow is:

“ Hello_____, we met yesterday at ___________and I enjoyed speaking with you.

 I would like to talk more about what you do; I am really interested in that industry.”

This template of course should be customized for your audience, but it allows you to stand out from the crowd that defaults to the template messages.

Linkedin profile strengthAs you build your connections and your profile, be sure to reference your profile strength that is located to the right of your profile page. There are 5 levels of LinkedIn Profile Strength: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert and All Star. If you don’t reach All Star on your first day using the site, don’t worry. Your strength will improve as you add information to your profile and that takes time and experience.

Aiken, Union counties receive work ready certification


Gov. Nikki Haley announced today that Aiken and Union counties have received certification through the South Carolina Work Ready Communities (SCWRC) initiative. Aiken and Union join the 42 other counties that have met the specified workforce and education goals.

South Carolina leads the nation with the most certified work ready communities, and continues to attract international business development due to its commitment to economic growth and a robust workforce pipeline.

“With Aiken and Union counties being named Certified Work Ready, we are only two counties away from reaching our goal of being the first state in the country to be fully certified. This is a testament of Team South Carolina’s hard work in making sure we have the most competitive business environment in the world for companies looking for a place to call home,” Gov. Haley said.

“We celebrate what this means for these counties and our state” said Cheryl M. Stanton, Executive Director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. “With the Work Ready initiative, and a continuing commitment to skilled workforce development, it is not surprising that employment numbers have been at historic highs over the last year, and companies continue to expand and choose South Carolina as the place to do business.”

The South Carolina Work Ready Community initiative provides a framework to strengthen economic development using a community-based approach, grounded in certifying counties as work ready.

To become a South Carolina Work Ready Community, a county must reach or exceed goals in earning National Career Readiness Certificates (achieved through WorkKeys® testing), must meet or exceed the three-year graduation rate average or improvement percentage, and must engage business support.

A map of South Carolina’s 44 certified counties is available here.

For additional information, visit

Pilot program helping the homeless find jobs

In December, DEW and Transitions, a Columbia-based organization that transitions people from homelessness into permanent housing, completed a pilot program to assist those who are homeless develop skills needed to land a job.

About 55 people started the six-week Back to Work program in October and 19 finished it. Another four people were offered jobs before the program ended. Of those 19, nine have found work, and the others are being assisted one on one by DEW staff with finding jobs and with development of soft skills that are needed for them to be successful on the job.

Craig Curry, Transition’s CEO, said a lot of the people he sees coming through Transitions have been “lost in the shuffle” and didn’t get the attention they needed earlier in life.

The Rev. Robert Walker, pastor of Main Street United Methodist Church, offered classroom for the program. The program was led by Patrick Thomas, DEW’s regional manager of the Midlands, and his staff.

The Back to Work program teaches participants practical skills, and it includes training for enhancing self-esteem and motivational skills. Lasting six weeks, the program begins with a “boot camp” designed to implement immediate positive change.

Session Highlights Include:

  • Assessment of skills, abilities and work potential as well as job coach assignments.
  • Resume templates to be sequentially completed section-by-section over the course of the program.
  • Basic or advanced computer skills course or depending on skill level.
  • Navigating employment websites and review of resources needed for employment, such as references and interview clothing.
  • Expectations, social skills and behavioral styles for the job search process as well as employment.
  • Exploration of careers and job types, as well as discussion of realistic expectations for employment.
  • Overview of Federal Bonding Program.

The program was capped with a graduation ceremony and a hiring event.

Curry said he was excited to have the hiring event following the program and feels that is the main reason people stuck with the program for the entire six weeks.

“If only a handful of people get jobs, this program will be a success,” Curry said.

Tax Season Tips for Job Seekers

April 15 is almost here. But before you push the button or drop your income tax paperwork in the mail, consider these tips if you’ve been unemployed or conducted a job search in the past year.

moneycalendarUnemployment compensation is taxable income, according to the Internal Revenue Service. If you received benefits through the SC Department of Employment and Workforce in 2014, you should have received a 1099-G via your MyBenefits portal account.

If you have trouble accessing or downloading your 1099-G, check out this step-by-step guide.

Don’t forget; you can also deduct certain expenses associated with your job search. The search must be for employment in your current field, and you cannot deduct if there was a substantial break in time from the end of your last job and the start of your search.

Below are some allowable deductions outlined in IRS Publication 529:

  • Employment and outplacement agency fees.
  • Expenses for preparing and mailing resumes to prospective employers.
  • Travel and transportation expenses associated with your job search.

Find Open Jobs in S.C.’s Fastest Growing Cities

You may have already heard that the Palmetto State is home to three of the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan areas, according to the U.S. Census.

Congratulations to Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach (second behind The Villages in Florida), Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort (13th overall) and Charleston-North Charleston (17th overall).


Maybe it’s all that salt air attracting new arrivals to South Carolina’s breathtaking coast. If you’re thinking about following the crowd and relocating to one of these hot spots, check out to find a job in the area. Just enter the zip code and a keyword to find available jobs.

To give you a jumpstart, we’ve pulled the top 25 companies posting the most job openings in each of these areas. Check them out below.

Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach:


Hilton Head Island-Bluffon-Beaufort (Beaufort County) :


Charleston-North Charleston:


To get up-to-the minute details on hiring events in these and other areas throughout South Carolina, follow @scworksinfo on Twitter.



Georgetown SC Works Connects Woman With Supportive Work Environment

sandra Amann_successstorySandra Amann had a complicated medical history. With physical limitations and some impaired memory issues, she had not worked since 2010 and had difficulty looking for work.

She contacted the Georgetown SC Works office in search of services through the Ticket to Work Program. A product of the Social Security Administration (SSA), Ticket to Work provides people receiving Social Security benefits more choices for receiving employment services. SC Works serves as an employment network for the program, helping “ticket holders” find meaningful employment.

With her disabilities in mind, Georgetown SC Works helped her revamp her resume and began looking for jobs best suited to her needs.

When an opening came available at the local County Vocational Rehabilitation Services office, the center processed the referral on Amann’s behalf, recommending her for the position. With a new resume in hand, she applied for the position and was ultimately offered the job.

Less than 20 days after walking into the SC Works center, Amann was employed and making almost $12 an hour in a supportive environment, conducive to her health needs.

Who’s Hiring in the Upstate?

If you are looking for a job in South Carolina’s Upstate, look no further than SC Works Online Services. The state’s largest jobs database will tell you which employers are hiring in your area. Below you will find the top 10 employers currently posting the most jobs in the Greenville, Spartanburg, the Anderson and the Greenwood/Laurens areas.

Remember, to find the best matches near you, visit and search by zip code and keyword.

The top 10 hiring employers in Greenville County are below.


The Upstate workforce area includes Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties.


The Upper Savannah area includes Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, and Newberry counties.


The Worklink area includes Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties.


Who’s Hiring Along the S.C. Coast?

If your job search is taking you to the eastern half of the Palmetto State, check out which employers have the most openings on SC Works Online Services.

Below you will find the top 10 employers with the most postings in the Pee Dee, Grand Strand, Charleston area and the Lowcountry. Check out to search for positions by keyword and zip code.

Here are the top employers with openings in the Pee Dee, which includes Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marlboro and Marion counties.


The Waccamaw area includes Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties.


The Trident area includes Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.


The Lowcountry area includes Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties.


Find Out Who’s Hiring in 2015

Are you looking to kick off 2015 with a new job search? SC Works Online Services has all the tools to get you started.

Find out which companies are hiring in your area. Below are the top 10 employers posting the most jobs in the Midlands, Orangeburg and Rock Hill areas. To search for jobs by zip code and keyword, visit today.

Here are the top hiring employers in the Midlands, which includes Fairfield, Lexington and Richland counties.


Below are the top 10 employers with openings for the Santee Lynches area, which includes Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter counties.


The Lower Savannah area includes Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, and Orangeburg counties.


The Catawba area includes Chester, Lancaster and York counties.


Check back tomorrow to see who’s hiring in the Pee Dee and along the S.C. coast.

SC Works Helps Nichols Realize Occupational Goal

Rebecca NicholsWhen Rebecca Nichols enrolled in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program through Hartsville SC Works, she was unemployed but had the desire to become a licensed practical nurse.

With the training opportunity that WIA provides and the high-demand of nursing occupations, Nichols enrolled in the licensed practical nursing program through the Marion County School of Practical Nursing.

She received her Certificate of Achievement in May 2014 and her State Board of Nursing Licensure shortly after in July.

Just one month after completing certification, Nichols was hired as a licensed practical nurse at a local nursing and rehabilitation facility in Sumter.

Through SC Works Hartsville, the WIA program and Nichols’ hard work, drive and dedication, she is now self-sufficient and making a positive impact on her community.