LinkedIn is considered your resume+. When used effectively, it communicates who you are and what you’re skilled at. It is a professional networking platform that can be leveraged in unlimited ways. Most importantly, it allows you to establish a personal brand online, as well as build a strong professional network. Many people under utilize LinkedIn or don’t understand how powerful this free tool can be. This short blog highlights how to maximize the main sections to get your profile noticed. Stay tuned for part two of this blog for ways on using LinkedIn effectively.
Photo, Headline, and Summary
When creating your profile, ensure you are using an appropriate and professional photo. Your photo should be high quality with a simple background; it should be a headshot of you in professional attire. It’s great to have your photo professionally taken, but not 100% necessary. A nicely done amateur photo is better than nothing. That being said, please avoid selfies at all costs. For your headline, write a short, descriptive branding statement that will enhance your professional theme. Your headline should be 120 characters or less and should include who you are and what is important to you: e.g. Aspiring Healthcare Administrator, Marketing Intern, Economist, Blogger, etc.
The summary section of your profile is essentially your pitch in written form. This section should include things like your skills, strengths, and a quick overview of your experience. Consider using a past, present, future framework and write your summary in first-person. Consider your audience, and end this section with what you’re looking to do next. If you’re seeking employment or an internship, you’re speaking to recruiters and hiring managers. What do you want people to know about you in 1-3 short paragraphs of text? What value would you bring to an organization or company? Why would people want you on their team?
Education, Experience, and Skills
When completing the education section, include the school (college, university, etc.) and your major(s) and minor(s). Clearly state the degree you are pursuing and your gradation date. You can also include your study abroad experience, other special programs, or certificates you’ve earned.
In the experience section of your profile, include your work or past internship experiences as well as bullet points showcasing your accomplishments related to the work you’ve done. Only putting the organization name and job title does not give enough information, and it doesn’t add much value to your personal brand. Include any volunteer experience as well as leadership roles in campus clubs/organizations.
The skills section of LinkedIn is used as part of a keyword search algorithm used by recruiters and also to match you with relevant job openings; so make sure you don’t skip this important step. Review other professionals’ skills sections to identify skills they highlight in their profiles. If you have other skills or accomplishments you want to add to your profile, the accomplishments section might have a subcategory for them. In the accomplishments section, the subcategories are languages, honors and awards, organizations, and projects, etc. For more tips and best practices, visit the O’Neill Career Hub to work with a career professional. You can also check out this LinkedIn profile checklist on our website.