Social media has become an almost universally adopted hiring tool and 87 percent of recruiters surveyed are using LinkedIn as part of their process. Before you begin using this professional networking tool you need to complete your profile, which describes your education, career history and other related information you may want to share with others. Unlike the recommended one page limit for a résumé, you can include much more information on your LinkedIn profile.
Here are some helpful tips in creating your LinkedIn profile.
Your LinkedIn profile picture can function like your cover letter. When potential employers are viewing your picture, they are forming their first impressions of you. It’s best to have a professional headshot of yourself. If this is not an option, use a good camera or cell phone photo. Remember to dress in blouse/shirt and jacket/blazer and stand in front of a plain background.
Your headline should communicate your expertise, your field and why you’re special. You want to include what you are, who you can help and how you can benefit the reviewer.
Include your phone number, email address and links to web sites. Customize your LinkedIn public profile URL by including your name, www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.
Unlike the summary of your résumé, you can describe yourself in the first person. In addition to academic and/or professional highlights, it can contain personal information such as your interests, values, point of view and life experiences.
List the jobs you’ve held and highlight your accomplishments. Even if it’s a part-time job, this will give a potential employer an idea of your work history.
Include an entry for each of your degrees. When you select the school name from the LinkedIn list, the school logo also appears in your profile.
List all the skills you have to offer. The top three to five skills should be the ones for which you want to be known.
This is an opportunity for you to share information about your academic projects. You can share details about what and how you did a project.
Recommendations are what others you have worked with have to say about your work. The best recommendations can be from managers, professors or classmates.
The most important tip is to proofread it. Your profile is as important as a résumé and cover letter. Proofread means reading it multiple times, speaking out loud as you read to ensure it sounds normal and to help you catch and eliminate mistakes. Better yet, have someone else proofread it to catch errors you might have missed.
For additional information on creating your LinkedIn profile, view LinkedIn profile checklist.
Betty Boza is a Career Development Specialist for the Fulton Career Center. Her primary responsibility is assisting online, graduate and doctoral students with all aspects of career development including résumé preparation, professional network expansion, effective job search strategies and mock interviews.