LinkedIn has become an extremely underutilized tool for college aged students. A large majority of us, especially those who study a business related major, have been taught about the importance of having a LinkedIn profile throughout their education. However, many still do not fully understand how to use this important, useful tool. They copy and paste the information from their resume onto the website and call it a day. LinkedIn is much more than a resume template – it is a tool to help you present your skills and achievements front and center to any employer who desires to see. Defining your personal brand is vital in the business world, and this is an easy way of laying your brand out on the table for potential employers to see.
So you’ve added your education history, described your work experience, and uploaded a photo of yourself. What’s next? Here’s how you can get the most out of your LinkedIn profile.1. Choose your profile picture wisely.
Statistically, profiles with a picture are 14 times more likely to be viewed by potential employers. First impressions are just as important online, and you have to make sure you’re making a great one. Keep in mind that this is a professional social network – selfies from Facebook and Instagram may give off an unprofessional feeling. Instead, opt for a full body photo featuring business professional clothing. Professional headshots are preferred – these are often offered free of cost at various networking events and job fairs, so be sure to take advantage of these whenever possible!
2. Keep your summary simple.
The summary section on LinkedIn gives users the opportunity to introduce and describe themselves in one short paragraph. This is a very important part of your profile – most employers are not always going to have time to read every detail of your profile. Instead, they will rely on a quick glance at the key points to gain a general understanding of you and your achievements. With that said, be sure to fit as much relevant information here as possible. At the same time, be sure to keep it short, one medium sized paragraph at maximum. And most importantly, be very careful with your word choice. There are certain buzzwords, or words that are extremely popular to the point of being generic, that employers get tired of seeing when looking at hundreds of potential employees at once. Words such as motivated, creative, driven, and organizational should only be used in moderation.
3. Keep your Skills & Endorsements page updated.
LinkedIn allows users to put their skills front and center with the Skills and Endorsements feature. Here, you are able to list any and all of the skills you possess, from leadership to social networking to public speaking. Add as many relevant skills as you like; even something as minor as a proficiency in Microsoft Office is beneficial to mention.
4. Get somebody to endorse these skills.
One of the most useful parts of LinkedIn is the fact that others are able to publicly chime in with their thoughts on your work performance. Once you are done with adding your skillsets, your connections will be able to endorse them. These endorsements essentially let those viewing your profile know that your claims are valid. It says “I’ve worked with this person and I’ve seen them display these skills firsthand.” The more endorsements, the better. Once you gain more experience, you might also find yourself receiving recommendation letters from people you have done business with in the past. Just like the recommendation letters you send in with a college application, these carry a lot of weight, even more so then the skill endorsements. Networking is key in order to build relationships with people that can serve as a reference later on down the road.
5. Reach out to people as often as possible.
Everyone knows that the point of LinkedIn is to connect employers with potential employees. Many expect to be contacted by employers, and there are often times that you will notice someone taking a look at your profile to see what you have to offer. However, keep in mind that these connections work both ways. Make sure to network as much as possible. After meeting with someone in a professional setting, consider asking them if they are on LinkedIn and reaching out to them. Look for people in your current workplace, both managers, and coworkers, and add them as well. Even your professors can be a good connection – especially if you make the effort to build a relationship with them throughout the course of the semester. The more connections, the better; you never know who might be able to endorse or recommend you.
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Dylan Rhudd.