As a sophomore in college I feel the pressure, now more than ever, to create and maintain professional relationships that may benefit me in obtaining internships or even land a full-time job by the time I graduate. While knowing how to write a resume and cover letter are still important skills to have, LinkedIn has taken over the working world and without it, you’re virtually invisible to future employers. Learning to create and navigate LinkedIn is not always as easy as it seems so here are some tips on how to create a professionally attractive profile!
- An Appropriate Profile Picture
The best thing to remember about profile pictures is that this is your first impression that an employer has of you. Make sure the picture shows you in professional attire and that your face is fully visible. While selfies and vacation pics can fill your Instagram feed remember that you want to portray yourself in a professional manner on LinkedIn. Additionally, no picture at all might be worse than a bad picture. Profiles with a picture get 14x more views, so make sure to use a profile picture!
- Stand Out With Your Summary Statement
The summary statement part of LinkedIn is the place to stand out and truly show what you have done and how you would benefit any organization. This part is about more than the technical aspects of what you could do to benefit an organization, it’s a personal and humanizing statement. Remember that employers are getting to know you through a webpage and it is your job to make your personality shine through a computer screen.
- Experience, Experience, Experience
While many employers understand that not all college students will have a ton of experience, it’s important to specify any and all experience you may have. This is not limited to full-time jobs so make sure to include internships, fellowships, part-time jobs, volunteer experience, team projects, certifications, and awards. Basically anything and everything that has put you in the working world in some capacity. You want to highlight the skills you have gained and how they will benefit future employers.
- Build your network!
When I first joined LinkedIn I was intimidated by the idea that I was expected to make connections with people who seemed so important and unattainable. I quickly learned that the best way to approach the situation was by starting to connect with my inner circle. Often time, we make personal connections by knowing someone who knows someone and LinkedIn is just the same. Start by connecting with friends and family, just as you would in real life. After this, expand to professors, classmates, mentors, and professionals that you may meet along the way. While the process may seem intimidating, getting to connect with people from different aspects of your life will allow you to broaden who you meet and may allow you to reach even more opportunities.
- Random Things to Remember
Finally, LinkedIn works best when you work it. Remember that this is a platform in which you need to highlight yourself and your accomplishments. Make your profile easy to find by setting it to public and claiming your very own LinkedIn URL. This will help employers find you even faster if they do a quick Google search of you. Another thing to keep in mind is that 80% of job openings are never advertised. Often, the way you find out about these opportunities is by your connections and their connections and so on. Finally, add as many personal examples of work as you can. This shows employers what kind of work you are capable of producing instead of just you telling them.
By following these simple tips and tricks you are guaranteed to boost your LinkedIn presence. Happy job hunting!
All images courtesy of the HC Media Library