Spice Up Your LinkedIn Profile

20 11 2013

By: Andrea Larson (@andrea_larson_)

Do you have a LinkedIn profile and need help getting it noticed? Have you not set up an account because you don’t know where to begin? Don’t be intimidated by LinkedIn. It is an effective tool for any future or seasoned professional, in any type of major.

So what is LinkedIn exactly? LinkedIn is a professional social network site that connects more than 225 million professionals. Use it as a source to find a summer internship or job, or network with peers and potential employers. I didn’t know how valuable LinkedIn was until I attended a LinkedIn workshop on campus Nov. 8.

University.linkedin.com, was the outline for the workshop, and is the go-to resource when learning how to use LinkedIn. There you will find a variety of helpful articles, videos, webcasts and more. I learned that the first two steps toward getting noticed is creating a marketable profile and using networking skills.

Creating a marketable profile:

  1. The first thing someone sees on your profile is the headline, which creates a first impression. The headline includes a photo of yourself and is important to consider when creating your profile. Pick a photo that is professional and high quality. Avoid having other people in the frame of the photo. If you don’t have any professional photos, have someone take one for you at a photo studio or at home. Make sure the photo is not busy and that you are wearing business attire. Next is your headline. You want it to sound like an elevator pitch – short and to the point. Let people know who you are and what you want to do. Do not make it too personal or over the top.
  2. Think of the summary as being the first couple paragraphs of a cover letter – be concise and confident. You will want to include relevant work, internships, involvement, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, goals and your education. Then, list your specific jobs that relate to those career goals. Be clear about the tasks you performed at those jobs; explain what you learned and what you took away from the experiences. Sell your skills and be proud. You will want these to be written in bullet points so it is easier to read for someone scanning your profile. If you do not have any work-related experience, you can talk about certain projects you’ve been a part of or certain courses you have taken. Do not down play your experiences, you likely have more than you think.
  3. Skills and experience include tasks or applications that you have learned and excelled at. They provide specifics that employers would be searching for in an employee. Ask yourself, “what are my best qualities I could bring to a job?” – then include them. What is unique about this section is that peers and past employers can endorse you as well.
  4. There are additional features you may not know LinkedIn has that make it so valuable. You can include organizations you are involved with or have been part of, and awards and recognitions you have received (e.g. scholarships, deans’ list or leadership awards for clubs). You also can follow interest groups and organizations to get updates on event announcements, when they have job postings or other relevant information. Comment on their profiles and like the information they send out – this will help raise interest and get you noticed. Take your own initiative to post articles, or add links to your blog, personal websites and social media pages. The more complete your profile, the higher you will appear in searches by prospective employers, and the better chances of getting hired.

Start networking:

Networking begins by identifying the people you are closest with, like friends and family. Connect with them, and then think about others you can connect with such as teachers, supervisors, co-workers, alumni, etc. Once you start making connections, you will become closer to connecting with people in the field of your dream job. Have past employers write a job referral or recommendation right on your profile. This allows prospective recruiters to see how others evaluate your performance. LinkedIn also offers an advanced job search engine that allows you to stay updated on new jobs that are available. Start leveraging your connections!

When sending a request, add a friendly note of how you know each other, what you have in common or where you might have met. A good idea to remember is to send a request to someone who has interviewed you for a position, thanking them for their time and consideration.

We ended the workshop with the important note that it is crucial to update your profile as often as you can. Let the world know who you are and your accomplishments, and become one step closer to getting hired.

This video came from University.LinkedIn.com, click here to check out more!

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