Creating a LinkedIn profile falls to the very bottom of the to-do pile. In the past many companies did not pay much attention to social platforms like LinkedIn. But in this day in age, where social media leaves a person’s history only a keyboard away, it is more important than ever to monitor your professional, online presence. LinkedIn is a useful tool to “put yourself out there” and build your online network in a professional capacity. Like a Facebook for professionals, LinkedIn allows you to build an online profile that details your work history, volunteer experience, portfolio and hobbies. All the while enabling you to “connect” with other users to further build your networking community, and search for jobs.
LinkedIn is a great tool that further rounds out your professional image, but starting with a blank profile can be intimidating; where to start, what to include, what not to include. Here are some tips to help get you that “all-star” profile.
1. Matching a face to a name.
The first thing that you see, whether it's a LinkedIn or a Facebook profile, is the person's profile picture. A picture is worth a thousand words (well, almost). Your profile pictures can say a lot about your professionalism, or lack thereof. In a study conducted by Cornell they found that our first impressions are sticky - very sticky. When it comes to likability, we don't tend to change our minds, even after meeting someone . Putting up a profile picture that projects likability is the first line of defense on your LinkedIn. But make sure you keep it professional; potential employers and peers will look at your profile. If it looks like your Facebook profile picture, you've gone far too casual.
2. Relevant work history.
When starting or updating your LinkedIn profile be sure to keep in mind your ideal position. What job you want will be a determining factor in what work history you will include on your profile, your references, and your profile summary. If you're looking to start your career as an accountant, diluting your profile with food service jobs might over shadow that priceless internship experience you have under your belt. Just keep in mind the kind of background employers will be looking for and how you can match your profile to fit that.
3. Paint your personality.
LinkedIn leaves space for volunteer experience, publications, skills, honors/awards, and a variety of other categories. Be sure to use these options to add some color to your profile. After all, you're more than just a culmination of work history and a pretty face. Show potential employers what you do day-to-day and what you enjoy, it will make you more approachable and more of a concrete person than just a name on paper.
4. Connect to companies.
Connecting to companies on LinkedIn will allow you to see their posts and updates, and more importantly any job opening that they have to offer at the time. This is a great way to monitor a company that is of interest to you, and watch for any job openings that they have that are relevant to you.
5. Open networking.
Though it is intimidating to put yourself out there, open networking on LinkedIn is the most successful way to build your connection count and have access to peers who possibly work for your dream company. Within possible connections recruiters are intermixed and often post job openings that they are looking to fill.
LinkedIn is a large part of your professional profile. Ensuring that you have an exceptional profile will help when potential employers research you online, and when you job search online. We hope these tips were helpful, happy job hunting!