Article by Autumn Siebold
Beyond the bullet points of your resume, your LinkedIn profile is often an employer’s first real impression of you. So, deciding what should — and shouldn’t — be on it is a big decision.
“A LinkedIn profile is a great way to show off your experience in your own voice,” said Clarence Anthony Jr., assistant director of Graduate Career Development. “You can show off your personality in your profile more than you can in a cover letter or resume.”
Here are Anthony’s top eight strategies for creating an effective and engaging LinkedIn profile:
- Start with a good hook. “The About section is basically a written elevator pitch. Focus on talking about what you’re proud of and what your goals are,” Anthony said. “For example, a good hook would cover what you’ve accomplished thus far, the skills that you've developed, and the direction that you see your career heading.”
- Find the perfect picture. This can be a professional headshot or a photo of you at work, like in the lab or giving a presentation. “You want a clear image that shows you in a professional setting,” he added.
- Reveal the story behind your resume. “It’s important to describe your work in a fashion that tells a story and is engaging — don’t just repeat the bullet points on your resume,” Anthony said. “Look at other LinkedIn profiles for people who are in the job you want or in the same industry, and approach the way you describe your experiences in a similar way to how they did.”
- Show your full skill set. The Skills and Endorsements section of your profile acts as a filter for recruiters. So, be sure that it is thorough, and keep it updated as you gain new skills, Anthony added.
- Don’t go off-topic. “Sometimes, people treat LinkedIn like Facebook,” he said. “I’ve seen people post extremely political things to their LinkedIn feed, or even use it for dating,” Anthony said. “That doesn’t look good to recruiters.” He recommends that you stick to only posting professional information like job updates and articles related to your career field.
- Check your feed daily. Anthony reviews his LinkedIn feed at least once a day. “If you’re looking to contact recruiters, you can find them just by searching ‘hiring’ and the company name,” he said. “Plus, you can see who’s been looking at your profile. And the News and Views section is a great way to keep up with industry trends.”
- Ask for advice. “Something a lot of students overlook is the Career Advice section on your profile page,” Anthony said. Here, you can select a certain industry and topics you’d like to get advice on. “Once you sign up, it matches you with a few people you can message and ask to mentor you in that field,” he added.
- Update your feed and your profile regularly. Again, think about first impressions. It’s likely that this is the first-time recruiters are seeing you. “Be sure that the information on your profile page is current,” he said. “And post regularly to your feed. You want to show that you’re a productive and engaged individual.”
For more advice on using LinkedIn or other career-related topics, schedule an appointment with one of the graduate career advisors in the Career Center here.