1) Add a Professional Photo of Yourself
The new profile page has a prominent placeholder for a photo of you. As you seek to build relationships on LinkedIn, people will want to see who you are – just like on Facebook or Google+. Remember to use a professional-looking headshot and not your favorite pic from last year’s summer vacation.
2) Make Your Headline Meaningful
Use the title or headline as an opportunity to grab your page visitor’s attention. Rather than simply list yourself as a “student,” use industry buzz words to show your ambition and career potential. Perhaps you are a “Rising Culinary Expert” or an “Aspiring Writer.” Or, you could use this space to cite your own personal branding statement – citing your career goals. And, in your contact info, don’t forget to list your personal website, Twitter and/or blog URLs.
3) Complete Your Information!
Ensuring that your profile is complete and up-to-date is a key step in your LinkedIn success. Your Summary should be a concise snapshot of your experience and skills, much like an elevator speech, and provide a statement about your career goals in one short paragraph or two.
The revised Skills & Expertise section is a great place to list all of your skills. Next, use the Experience section to add any current jobs or internships, as well as any other positions you’ve held that lend to building your credibility and showcasing your experience. Much like a resume, this is your opportunity to tell the world about all that you are capable of achieving. So, provide some concrete examples of how you’ve accomplished goals, led a team to reach an achievement or took initiative to create a success. And, don’t forget to list any Volunteer work!
The new Projects section is a great space to provide detailed information about any project you have worked on – perhaps in an internship or volunteer capacity. Did you organize a fraternity/sorority event? Did you work on a special class project that required you to complete real-world tasks? Did you take on a leadership role in a project for an agency where you volunteered over the summer? Use this space to talk about those projects while describing your specific role and how you met objectives, surpassed goals or otherwise created success.
4) Personalize Your LinkedIn Profile Link
By default, LinkedIn assigns your profile page a nondescript link that includes a long numeric identifier. However, you can personalize this link to become something like: www.linkedin.com/in/trishfreshwater. Having a personalized link makes it easy for you to remember when sharing your profile, and it helps build your personal brand by identifying yourself in the link. You can update your link simply by clicking the Edit Link hypertext next to your default profile page link on your profile.
5) Get Recommendations
Recommendations are a great way to have others endorse your skills and experiences. Ask professors, former employers, those who you have volunteered with or other leaders who you have worked with to write brief recommendations on your page. Third-party endorsements are one of the strongest ways to promote your experience and capabilities.
Building your LinkedIn profile is an important step in maximizing your use of this social medium in your job search. But, don’t forget to join relevant groups in your career field and become an active contributor. Participating in conversations, sharing your knowledge and building relationships are all important for building your personal brand, advancing your job search and building your future career.
Make your LinkedIn profile stand out. Embrace the new profile and let your skills leap off the screen at those who may be interested in hiring you. Remember, you only get one chance to make a great first impression.