Make Your LinkedIn Profile Look Amazing and Help You Land That Dream Job
Published: January 5, 2016
I was all ready to set up my own LinkedIn profile, so I added a picture and then started to answer all the questions, filling in the blanks and trying to describe my work experience, my interests, my previous employers and… whoa.
How much of my email list should I invite? My yoga instructor? Probably not. I was overwhelmed. I needed help and I wanted to be sure that this profile of mine looked top-notch and polished and that I made the connections that would lead me to a successful career and a valuable network of like-minded people.
(Cue superhero music) Here comes the iSchool Career Center and a couple of invaluable tutorials on how to set up the perfect profile!
First you may ask, is LinkedIn really that important? The answer is a resounding yes! Ninety-two percent of company recruiters use it to find qualified candidates for jobs and internships. Now that’s important. And as of January 2016, LinkedIn had more than 400 million users. Whoa…
On October 7, 2015, the iSchool’s Career Center Liaison Jill Klees gave a fantastic presentation entitled “LinkedIn—Develop Your Online Brand.” I’ll give you some highlights from Klees’ presentation, but you can watch the presentation on your own if you wish.It’s about an hour long, and Klees fields questions throughout. She started out by defining your “online brand” as how you want to present yourself to the world and the message you want to send. It is one of the first impressions that a future employer will have of you.
Getting Started with the Basics
Klees outlined these five most useful elements of your profile that recruiters look at:
4. Skills and Expertise
Don’t skip the photo, because you’ll be 11 times less searchable without one! People want to see and remember your face. Just down from the photo of your lovely and professional face is the headline section. A headline should be what you are and what you do, not just your current job title. Don’t worry about your headline being really good at first—it will evolve with time as you grow into your career.
After a great photo and your headline, make sure you write a summary, highlighting your strengths and areas of expertise. The summary section is right below your headline description. “Think about what makes you unique and how you can add value to an organization,” suggested Klees.
A summary can also highlight your strengths, passions and skills without necessarily having to fall back on your job experience. This is great for me because as a stay-at-home-work-at-home-student/mom, I honestly don’t have a lot of relevant work experience. But if I can write a convincing summary, I can show employers that I have great writing skills and a lot of passion about my particular interests. Remember when you create your summary to use direct and intentional statements about what you do—be specific. Break it up in short paragraphs and use bullet points so it’s easy to read. Klees recommends writing your summary in Word first so that you can spell check and make everything clean. And for goodness sake—proofread it before you cut and paste it into your profile!
Experience, Skills and Secret Weapons
“In the experience section, make sure you speak directly to your target audience,” she counseled. Really think about who your readers are going to be. Klees also stresses that your writing be real and honest—let your best self shine through. Look at other people’s profiles for ideas; they’ll give you ideas about what language to use. Profiles on the iSchool’s Community Profiles and Alumni Career Spotlights can give you some inspiration as well as possible networking connections.
If you’re a proud student, be sure to share links in the Project section on LinkedIn. It’s located in the same section as Summary, but you have to click the View More bar underneath to see the Project section as well as a dozen other categories that can attest to your interests, strengths and experiences. This is a great place to link to the libguides, wikis, blogs and websites that you’ve worked on in your courses. Klees reminded listeners that these projects demonstrate experience relevant to your professional goals.
From there, start filling in your skills section. Klees warned that many recruiters look at these skills and endorsements subjectively, so be honest, but don’t put too much weight on whether or not anyone can add to or verify your skills. So what skills do you have as an information professional? Will they be what employers are looking for? Oh yes, indeed. According to an article on LinkedIn, the top ten most sought-after skills by recruiters on the site include statistical analysis and data mining, storage systems and management, network security and web architecture.
Other Resources to Help You Craft Your Best Profile
The iSchool’s webpage about LinkedIn is another place to help you start to craft the perfect profile. And this page put together by Klees helps you build your profile for whatever site or sites you choose.
Another great tutorial to help you perfect your LinkedIn profile, was sponsored by the iSchool’s ASIS&T student chapter and featured social media expert and California State University East Bay instructor Kim Legocki, entitled “10 Steps to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.”
Stay tuned for another post when I’ll give some highlights from this presentation and Klees’ about how to network and use your amazing new profile to get you on track for the career of your dreams.