4 Quick Steps To Making Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
“Find and be found.”
This should be the mantra for every student in secondary and postsecondary education.
When David Theriault, an English teacher at Fountain Valley High School in California, asked his students to put their resume together in a creative format and began talking to students about the importance of a digital portfolio, I’m sure Beverly Pham would not have predicted how this assignment would change her life. When the University of Southern California sent her a letter saying that she had not been accepted because her grades were not strong enough, she wrote back and replied, “Google Me.” The admissions team at USC found through a quick Google search all of the work she had done based on her digital presence initiated in David Theriault’s class and accepted her to USC.
How many talented and passionate young students like Beverly go unnoticed because they didn’t have the guidance to navigate the digital era and create a digital portfolio?
In this crazy competitive search for jobs, students sometimes feel like they have to settle for what they are offered. They take low-paying internships, or whatever position will start paying off their student loans immediately after graduation. If we want to empower students to find jobs they love instead of settling, they should have two things prepared before they graduate: A digital portfolio and a professional network.
This is where “LinkedIn” comes in….
So maybe you’ve heard “LinkedIn” uttered by your colleagues at work, mentioned by your fellow classmates at school or spoken by a friend who’s on the hunt for a new job. But what is LinkedIn, anyway?
You’re not the only one who doesn’t know. Despite being one of the most popular social platforms today, many people still have no idea what LinkedIn is supposed to be used for or how they might benefit from being on it.
A Brief Intro to LinkedIn
Put simply, LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. Whether you’re a marketing executive at a major company, a business owner who runs a small local shop or even a first year college student looking to explore future career options, LinkedIn is for anybody and everybody who’s interested in taking their professional lives seriously by finding new opportunities to grow their careers and to connect with other professionals.
It’s sort of like a traditional networking event where you go and meet other professionals in person, talk a little bit about what you do and exchange business cards. On LinkedIn, however, you add “connections” similarly to how you’d make a friend request on Facebook, you converse via private message (or available contact information) and you have all of your professional experience and achievements laid out in a neatly organised profile to show off to other users.
LinkedIn could be very useful to you if used correctly. Here are some ideas of how you could use LinkedIn and the potential benefits to you:
- Build a professional LinkedIn Profile that speaks to your interests and current career goals. Keep it updated as the career / business goals change. The benefits are a developing professional presence online.
- Connect with fellow students, advisors, professors, business professionals you meet while in school. The benefits are a growing network of peers, resources and professional connections that can open doors in the future.
- Engage with and on content related to your career / business goals. Engaging on and sharing content that is relevant to your career / business goals helps to build a professional reputation through LinkedIn.
- Use LinkedIn Search to research businesses, industries and people. Research is an important part of your career journey.
4 quick steps to making a professional LinkedIn profile
Here are 4 quick tips to make your LinkedIn page look professional: A professional LinkedIn page allows you to gain an edge over your competition.
Improve your Profile Picture
They say first impressions are everything. Your profile picture is the first thing that people will see when they visit your profile. Your profile picture is your first chance to communicate with potential employers and connections that you are a worthy candidate, and as such, your picture should communicate professionalism. Accomplishing this is fairly simple; your photo should be a headshot of just yourself, with a simple background. Your face should be the main focal point of the photo, taking up a little more than half the photo. You should be dressed in clean, professional attire that is appropriate for your respective industry.
A successful LinkedIn headline will quickly and clearly communicate your professional skills to others. It should be simple and short sentence(s) that is engaging and informative. Use keywords that will make you seem more attractive to recruiters in your industry.
If you are currently unemployed, don’t just write “unemployed” or “looking for work.” Come up with something that highlights what would make you an attractive candidate for the position.
Background and summary
Your LinkedIn summary should give the reader more insight into your professional life and should be broken down into the following categories; professional accomplishments, professional ambitions, and special skills or ways you can differentiate yourself from your competition.
Your professional accomplishments should include a sentence or two about anything significant that you have accomplished at a previous position, for example: “Led a small team with the highest sales numbers in the region.”
Professional ambitions could be anything from your professional interests, such as, international commerce or social media marketing, to things that impact your life on a more personal level, such as an interest in a particular sport.
If you’re a student and don’t have a lot of professional work experience, be sure to include any important roles you played in any big class projects or assignments.
Your work experience is also very important and should include details from your work history. This section should list all the relevant positions that you have held, as well as your role in that position.
Each position should have at least a handful of bullet points explaining your role within the company, while also highlighting your responsibilities and skills. Anyone reading this should be able to determine what made you a valuable member of your team within that organization.
A good thing to remember when writing your work experience is to try and include any transferable skills that would make you an attractive candidate for a variety of industries.
Follow this link on to check out examples of good LinkedIn sample profiles for students.
Also, here is the link from the LinkedIn site which provides resources to let students know the benefits of a LinkedIn profile and presence, and to help get started
LinkedIn could be an amazing tool to grow your professional network allowing you to connect with people in your industry, find job openings that you may be interested in, and gain insight into different career paths. All the best & hope this post helps you get started with your very own LinkedIn profile.