Whether you are currently looking to break into the job market or not, creating a really great LinkedIn page is a good idea. In a time when employers search through social media as part of the hiring process, you want to give them something other than your best friend’s birthday party and last week’s basketball game photos to look through.
Let’s start from the top: the photo. You have to have a photo so you’re easily recognizable and to prove you’re not some rando. Make sure it looks professional; if you were to be hired for a job, your photo should be similar to what you would look like on your first day. Keep it shoulders up, and don’t have anyone else in your photo because that’s just confusing.
Next: the tagline. As a student, this one can be tricky. You may not have a specific business focus area or be able to call yourself a “professional” of some sort, but you can include your role in a part time job or explain what you’re studying. Keep it short and sweet so it’s easy to see what you’re all about in just a headline.
Linkedin also says that one in five managers hired someone for their volunteer experience. This is good news for those of us who have been in school!
Include anything and everything. Lead off with the name of the organization then detail your involvement. If you can, definitely take advantage of this area. Volunteer work can be done during school and it’s a way to hang with those people who have been in the workforce for a while.
The summary: imagine someone is introducing you to a crowd. You want your summary to be your highlight reel, but also feel free to include your aspirations and goals. This is a glimpse of who you are as a person and as a potential employee. Give it some personality.
The experience category has been extremely helpful to me as I’ve created new resumes throughout the years. If you keep this part of your LinkedIn page up to date, it’s easy to pull from your profile rather than the deep corners of your memory for the relevant information.
Honors and awards follow the same rule: keeping it updated helps you keep an accurate and thorough record of your accomplishments. Include scholarships, leadership positions, honors societies, and anything else that shows you were recognized in some way. If you feel like you’re coming up a little short, maybe you had the best group project in one of your classes or gave a presentation at a school function.
Now that you have a good-looking profile, don’t forget to reach out to people and keep those connections active. Networking can be tough, but when you can do it on your couch in your pj’s, LinkedIn becomes a pretty sweet option!