Many people are familiar with what LinkedIn is, but I am frequently surprised by the number of students who don’t quite know how to use it. While I am in no way affiliated with LinkedIn or getting paid to write about it (I encourage free accounts!), I do believe it can be a powerful tool to create a digital stamp that embodies your personal brand – and can easily be leveraged as a powerful networking tool, too. Curious about how to create or update your profile to make your brand statement clear and noticeable? Check out these five tips to make your profile pop!
Make sure your photo is a professional headshot. Not sure if your photo is professional enough? If you’re unsure, it probably isn’t! No need to pay for a photoshoot, but I highly recommend having a friend snap a photo of you with a solid light-colored background behind you, and cropping it to include no more than your mid torso and above. Wear something neat (business casual is fine) and smile! Profiles with headshots definitely get more traffic than those without.
Instead of writing a boring snippet with your major or last internship title (that’s in your experience section anyway!) try thinking of a brief, but creative description of what you do or what you’re good at. For example, if you started own your company, instead of saying “CEO of Fran’s Cupcake Company” try “Dessert aficionado with a passion for sprinkles” which will definitely make your profile stand out. If you work in a more traditional or conservative space, however, it is also a good idea to highlight the core skill set or motivation that drives your work. For example, if you work for a creative marketing agency, you might try something like “Marketing manager with a keen eye for design.”
While many people think of LinkedIn as an online resume, it’s definitely more than that. The summary section allows you to craft a (brief) statement that tells your story. What are you passionate about? What drives you? Specifically, what are you good at and how does it assist you in making things happen? Are there topics or experiences that you have that contribute to your overall value that may or may not be tied to your current position? Write about it here. LinkedIn tends to come up in the top 5 results when someone Googles your name, so make it count!
Like most social networks and blogs, you have the option within your profile to create a “Vanity URL” which is a shortened web address for your page that fits nicely onto a business card or e-mail signature. Vanity URLs also make your profile easier to find in online search engine results.
I like to think of recommendations as “living references,” because your personal brand is not just what you say about yourself – it includes what others have to say about you, too! Asking colleagues, clients, or former supervisors for LinkedIn recommendations can only strengthen your professional digital presence. Pro Tip: it is better to give than receive! If you ask someone to write a recommendation for you, offer a recommendation in return – or at least send them a thank you note. It’s only proper!
For more information about how to build your individual or company profile and leverage LinkedIn as a powerful marketing tool, click here.
Original Post Contributed By: Tiffany Waddell, Assistant Director for Career Development