Linkedin is a great service that can help you land a job right after graduation, but only if you use it correctly. The way your profile is set up and the information provided on it could make the difference between connecting with a future employer or being brushed aside due to a profile that lacks impact. Worry not, I’ve compiled a nifty list to help get your profile in tip-top shape.
1. Have a professional(ish) headshot.
First rule of thumb when choosing a photo for your profile picture; absolutely under no circumstances post a selfie. No future employer wants to see a picture of you posing in your bathroom or pouting at the camera, this goes for any type of selfie, even ones of you smiling. No group photos, no pictures of you and your pets, and try to choose a photo with a minimal, non-distracting background. Your profile picture should be recent, businesslike and preferably taken on a camera that’s nicer than the one attached to your cellphone.
2. Write a Compelling Summary.
According to Forbes.com, your Linkedin summary is your most powerful form of personal branding. Use your summary space to write about your skills, experience, values, passions, interests and goals. A good summary should be 2,000 or fewer characters and start with a bang. Use the first sentence of your summary to bring the reader in and make them want to know more about you. For example, start off with a sentence that describes some of your best attributes, “Driven, organized, team-player with great customer service skills”. After you describe your professional skills and accomplishments, add in some personal information like your hobbies or other interesting things that you would like to share. For example, “I run three marathons per year for charitable organizations” or “Three years ago I (insert cool and life changing experience here)”. Lastly, to give your summary the perfect final touch, upload something that showcases your skills, like an article you wrote, a slideshow, or a cool video that you put together for your last job.
3. Rack up Recommendations not Endorsements.
Endorsements are basically useless on Linkedin, this is because your connections can endorse you for any skill. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve logged on to Linkedin and had my third grade classmate endorse me for random skills I don’t even have. Recommendations are a much more useful section to include in your profile. Add professors that you’ve had good experiences with on Linkedin and send them a recommendation request, after you leave internships or jobs send your old bosses and mentors recommendation requests! Having previous employers, professors, and mentors positive comments on your profile will give you credibility and showcase how you can maintain beneficial professional connections despite moving on to other positions.
4. Follow Groups that Correlate to your Career Aspirations.
Linkedin groups are a great way to access information, make connections and find job openings relevant to your field. Once you join a group, members of the group will share relevant and helpful information that will help you develop more knowledge and skills. Maybe you might even want to share something that you found helpful with your group, which will help build your online reputation. Groups are also great for connecting with distant people in your field, they bring similar professionals who would have never had the means to connect together to further a common interest.
5. Fill Out your Profile!
Last but certainly not least, fill out your profile! Linkedin has a great interface that allows its users to showcase all pertinent information on one well organized profile page, so as a user the most important thing to do is to utilize that. Make sure you fill out all your job information, including your position, your duties, how long you have been with the company and any awards you may have earned. Fill out all of your schooling experience, the clubs and associations you were apart of and any charity work you participate in. Finally, remember to link your portfolio or website to display work and projects that you have completed.
Jordan Miszlay is a Senior at the University of Nevada studying Strategic Communication. She is currently the social media manager for Wolf Pack Relations.