By Ashley Larson (@aelarson6)
As a senior, the real world is right around the corner. With it comes the daunting task of job (or internship) hunting. Recently, PRSSA hosted Barb Benish and Dr. Sara Steffes Hansen, who gave a LinkedIn workshop about how to use this important networking platform along with one-on-one help for attendees. Students of all skill levels met to improve their profiles or, like me, get started on the networking site.
Dr. Hansen kicked the workshop off with a video explaining why students should make a LinkedIn profile. Turns out, it’s not just for well-connected CEOs! Building a strong profile now may help you land that awesome job right after graduation.
For new users, Benish built a profile from scratch and highlighted best practices along the way. Her first tip? Make sure you have a strong résumé! It makes creating your LinkedIn profile a piece of cake.
She also pointed out the importance of a good profile picture. LinkedIn users with a quality photo are 21 times more likely to be viewed and 36 times more likely to be messaged.
Your profile summary on LinkedIn is key, according to Benish, because it’s like your digital elevator pitch. Sell yourself! All it takes is a few short paragraphs and bullet points to highlight your skills, accomplishments and goals. Sprinkle in some personality and employers may be interested in hiring you.
Speaking of personality, remember to change the URL on your public profile to your name, if possible. This makes it shorter, neater and easier to remember.
Badges are another component of a strong LinkedIn profile. For example, New and Emerging Media students who take and pass the HubSpot inbound marketing certification exam can display a badge on their profile. PRSSA members can showcase their membership card on LinkedIn as well.
Another cool thing about LinkedIn is its portfolio capabilities. Upload your résumé. Share some writing samples or photographs. If you’re working on something awesome for class, work or your internship, add it to your profile.
As students, adding courses related to the field you want to work in is a great way to show prospective employers that you have practical knowledge.
Don’t forget to interact with other users! After all, LinkedIn is a social network. Endorsements from coworkers and supervisors show that you have skills. Connect with your professors and classmates—you never know what connections they may have.