1. Picture: When including a picture in your profile, make sure the file is a .jpg, .gif, or .png and that it is less than 4 MB. I originally attempted to copy a picture from my Facebook page, but it was a .bmp which was not compatible with LinkedIn. Also, use a headshot that is professional in appearance (i.e. no birthday crowns or silly faces) and has a solid background that is not distracting. It is important to include a picture to validate your profile when attempting to connect with fellow users and when interacting on discussion boards or group pages.
2. Summary: The summary section is your first chance to really highlight your specific background, skills, and career interests. The summary is not the place to talk about personal facts or vague long-term goals. Think about your key strengths and what you can bring to the table, and tell the employer how you can apply these strengths in the work place. For example, as I read back through my summary, I noticed a few statements that were not specific enough to show employers what I can do. My original statement was: Enthusiastic about assisting students. Assisting students in what; how; and to do what? My re-vamped statement is now: Enthusiastic about assisting students in effectively articulating their skills in the job search process. Do you see where I’m going with this? Also, I recommend spacing between each statement to make the text easier to read.
3. Experience: While this section is pretty straightforward, I encourage you to focus on highlighting the skills that are most relevant to your desired position. Also, don’t forget about related leadership experiences you have had while in school. A public relations major who was PR Chair in her sorority could include this position in the experience section and discuss the PR skills used in coordinating events and publicizing philanthropy activities. If you have unrelated work experience, try to focus on the skills that can transfer to your future job. For example, in describing my position as a credit union teller, I focused on problem solving, training, and member relations skills which translate clearly to my career goals in higher education where “conducting account transactions” does not.
4. Education: In the education section, LinkedIn provides the space for you to expand on your knowledge of and experience with your field of study. Discuss skills gained during relevant class projects such as collaboration and presentation skills. This can help show your exposure to certain topics and material even if you don’t have any related experience.
Your challenge for this week is to use the top tips to create or re-evaluate your own LinkedIn profile.
Next Week: Utilizing LinkedIn groups, applications, and discussion boards.
Author: Meaghan Lee