With the rise of online networking, it’s time to get your career search into the digital world. After all, networking doesn’t just happen face-to-face anymore. Here are ten ways to make your LinkedIn Profile shine. First of all, LinkedIn has a feature that guides you through adding to your profile. The more you add, the more likely you are to appear in searches. But first, work on your network.
1. Follow People: Any good online account has tons of connections to others. Look up your role models and follow them. You can even follow companies. If you do, you will be notified of any new jobs in that company. And yes, you can follow your friends too.
Now you may want to work on your profile to grab the attention of your connections. The first part of your profile is your Intro, which includes your name, title, location, and bio.
2. Profile Picture: Though this feature may remind you of Instagram, you may not want your icon on LinkedIn to be the same as the ones on your other social media accounts. Make sure this one is neat and professional. Remember that your future employer may see it!
3. Title: Make a catchy and creative title for your profile. You will want one that will catch the attention of employers but will also highlight your passions or talents, or tie back to your skills. Think of it as what you would title your autobiography.
4. Bio: Your bio should give off a holistic sense of yourself. You may want to include your interests and hobbies, as jobs now tend to look at the whole person with the increasing popularity of work-life blending. Mix that with some of your most relevant or significant past experiences. Outline and describe your goals, passions, and achievements. It is best to make it short and sweet, around ten sentences.
5. Location: Make your location in a major city area, even if you don’t live in that city. For example, write “Greater New York City Area” or “Greater Philadelphia Area.” Most companies are located in large cities, so this makes you seem more available to employers. It lets them know that you are close to their location and that you can commute there easily.
After you’ve done your Intro, you’ll need to add the following sections to your profile.
6. Education: Just like any regular resume, make sure to say your education level. As a college student, you do not need to include where you went to high school. But if you think it would be an asset to your profile, add it. Enter where you currently attend college. If you have not graduated yet, put your expected year of graduation.
7. Past Experience: Just like any regular resume, include your previous career experience, along with any current jobs you hold. Whether it be a job or community service, include it on your profile. It can’t hurt!
8. Skills and Endorsements: Make sure to include your skills. It’s good to have an equal mix of hard and soft skills, but with slightly more hard skills. Soft skills include things more general things like creative thinking, communication, and strategizing. Hard skills are more specific and include things like proficiency in Microsoft Excel or Adobe Photoshop and other industry-specific knowledge. The Endorsements section is a space for people you’ve worked with to speak about their experience having you as an employee or co-worker. Asking your boss or fellow employees to write you an endorsement on LinkedIn is pretty much like asking them to write you a recommendation letter. Only this time, it’ll be online for everyone to see! A good endorsement from another person can speak to how good of a worker you are and increases your credibility and appeal to other employers.
9. Fix Your Link: This is often something many overlook, but it is still essential. Fix your link to your profile to only include your name, without the usual extraneous characters a URL contains. This way, you can include a neat link to your profile on your resume. To tidy up your URL, first go to your profile. On LinkedIn’s current version of their website, click on the feature that says “Edit public profile & URL” on the upper right side. Then, in the top right corner, there will be a feature that reads “Edit URL: Personalize your URL for your profile.” Click the pencil icon to edit it. You will then be given the option to edit anything after “www.linkedin.com/in/.” The best way to do it is to write your first and last name, with no spaces, and no numbers, and correct capitalization. The finished product will read “www.linkedin.com/in/YourName.” Though small, this feature has its benefits. For one, it looks neater. And if you hand in your resume on paper, it will be easier for the recipient to type into a search bar and arrive at your profile. The easier it is for them to look at your information, the more likely it is you will get the job.
10. Finally, network! Especially with alumni from your college! Giving them a follow is one thing, but reaching out and asking them about their job goes a long way. You never know who might remember your name!
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool that fosters millions of connections worldwide. If you are looking for a job, or are just curious about career opportunities that lie ahead, creating a profile is a good idea. Happy linking!