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Creating Your LinkedIn Profile

Professional students

Up to 87% of available jobs are not posted in job forums. Discouraged by that? Don’t be! LinkedIn has taken center stage in the world of networking. Over 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find their next employee. More than ever, you need to mindfully craft your online professional brand. LinkedIn provides a unique “all in one” networking service. Before you begin, I recommend taking a virtual audit of business profiles you hope to become. This will provide a clear inventory of what to include now, and what to work towards in the future.

First Impressions

Profile Picture & Cover Photo

The first piece of your professional profile is a professional headshot. When choosing a photo, keep in mind the following:

  • Use a professional, welcoming image of yourself with a simple background and excellent lighting.
  • Attire should match industry expectations and represent your professional brand. Typically, you will want to dress in business professional or business casual attire.
  • Do not include or crop an image with other individuals or have a distracting background

Your cover photo should represent your industry but remain simple. Its purpose is to complement, not distract from your profile. Always ensure your cover photo is relevant to your field.

Headline & Bio

Your headline is one of the highest “weighted” keywords when employers search for candidates. How do you make it serve your needs: focus on words that describe your industry and position in general terms, using keywords for the skills that best describe you.

Your bio should round out your professional brand. This is a quick, first-person, “about me” that introduces your passion, experience, and expertise. Your bio should remain professional yet written in a conversational and inviting tone. Give insight into the who, what, and why of your personal brand.

Primary Content

Experience & Volunteer Experience

When including your experience on LinkedIn, your resume is your best friend. If you have a stellar resume, this part will be a breeze. If not, spend some time getting it in order. Unsure of where to start when constructing your resume – meet with your industry-specific Career Coach at handshake.com who knows the tips and tricks to make your resume stand out from the crowd.

A benefit of using LinkedIn is that space is nearly unlimited. Unlike a resume, your experience section can be as detailed as you deem fit. When including a new experience, ensure that you connect with your organization on LinkedIn. Below your company and title, you will include at least 5 bullet points describing your experience. These bullets should highlight the skills that best align with your unique value and industry.

Every experience does not need to be included within your experience section. Curate your profile to best reflect your professional brand.

Including community involvement displays social responsibility, leadership, and time management. Consider adding a volunteer experience section to your profile.

Education

Many underutilize the education portion of their profile. Your education experience should include any post-secondary degree that you have earned. Within this, you may include:

  • Activities and Societies: This may be included in other areas of the profile as well.
  • Relevant Courses: Include up to 5-course titles that reflect knowledge in your industry
  • GPA: If you hold a GPA above a 3.5

 

Licenses, Certifications, Projects, Accomplishments & Languages, and more

LinkedIn has several sections you can choose to include on your profile. These include licenses and certifications you hold and/or languages you know.

Projects offer another opportunity to showcase talent, experience, and expertise. Before connecting a project, review it to ensure that it represents your best work. If you collaborated with other individuals, include them in the collaborator section.

Skills, Endorsements & Recommendations

Skills are one of the highest weighted factors for search engines on your profile. Use this section to its fullest potential. Review requirements for job postings and professional profiles to determine which skills employers are looking for. This section should include a blend of soft and technical skills.

Colleagues can endorse your skills and leave recommendations. Oftentimes, endorsing others encourages them to do the same. Always evaluate yourself and others accurately.

Interests & Hashtags

By following companies and hashtags, you allow employers to view your interest, industry knowledge, and involvement. Because of this, it helps populate relevant content on your feed, making positions, current events, and industry information available to you.

Involvement

Your LinkedIn profile will best serve you if you engage with the platform. Join professional groups, post content, and connect with colleagues and thought leaders to gain the most from your profile. Connecting with others will provide you with an abundance of relevant content to share with others as well.

Interested in learning more?

Liberty University’s Career Services (www.liberty.edu/careerservices) is here to help! They can assist you in your LinkedIn development, career strategizing, and resume creation. We offer workshops and one on one industry coaching to assist students and alumni in building their professional brand.

Connect with the office today at Liberty.JoinHandhake.com

 


Written By:

Photo of blog writer

Abigail Lane

Career Coach
alane1@liberty.edu
Career Services