In today’s world, many people overlook the extent to which recruiters and employers are using LinkedIn as a tool to find potential candidates. It can be easy to think that you are only being looked at as a candidate when you are applying to jobs and finding potential employers, when in reality networking profiles like LinkedIn allow for employers to find you. Having a well-developed profile that is consistently updated is a crucial first step in opening up the doors to all kinds of potential opportunities. That being said, take the time now to pull up your LinkedIn profile, follow this checklist, make any necessary tweaks, and last but not least, be ready for success!
Your Profile Picture
Having a profile picture on LinkedIn is necessary; it makes your profile much more likely to be clicked on because of the personal touch it adds to those coming across your profile who may not know you. Ideally, you want the photo to be as high-quality and professional as it can be, a clear image with good lighting. You should be dressed in work attire, either business casual or business professional. If you have not had the chance yet to get professional pictures done, throw on a nice outfit and grab a buddy to take pictures of you somewhere with a clean and simple background!
Like your picture, your header would be one of the first aspects someone would see on your profile (and even before they click on your profile). One of the most common mistakes people make is using headlines that are extremely generic and do absolutely nothing to differentiate you. Make sure to revamp a boring heading, like “Student at UMass Amherst,” into something descriptive and exciting, like “Driven Marketing Student at UMass Amherst seeking a Summer 2019 Internship Opportunity.” Just from tweaking your heading, recruiters and employers now know a little bit more about your unique qualities and what you are looking for!
There is a little more freedom when it comes to your LinkedIn summary and what you would want to include. On a basic level, you should at least include who you are, what your past work and school experience has been, followed by what kind of opportunities you are searching for or career goals you have. You want to use this space to give potential recruiters or employers more insight on who you are, deeper than just your 5-10 word header. Here, you can include your strongest qualities and where you have had the opportunity to utilize/strengthen them, and even where you are today in regards to your career and how you have gotten to this point. Be honest, and don’t be afraid to brag a little and show off how unique you are, because this is your chance to show everyone what you’ve got to offer!
When filling in your past experience, make sure to add more detail other than just where your past jobs have been and how long you worked there. It is important to know where you have worked in the past, but it is even more important to get a sense of what your days really consisted of during your time there. A lot of the time, recruiters are seeing your profile before seeing anything else, such as your resume, so you want to include detailed bullet points under each job describing what kind of tasks you performed on a day-to-day basis. For example, describing experience in a customer service position can go from this…
Use strong action verbs and be specific, each bullet point should be able to highlight a skill you learned and improved upon while at that specific job.
PROTIP: Currently looking for a job? Let recruiters know you’re seeking opportunities by going to ‘Settings and Privacy’ under your account, then making the switch under ‘Job Seeking Preferences.’
Last but not least, BUILD YOUR NETWORK!
Don’t be shy! Whether it be a work event, a school event, or even a small interaction you might have had with someone, make the effort to reach out and connect with them on LinkedIn. You never know where your next opportunity could come from, and just one connection could lead you to hundreds of potential ones!