How to Create a Great LinkedIn Profile
Published on Apr 30, 2012 by Amy Cassell
In a world where companies are Internet-searching potential employees on a daily basis, having a presence on LinkedIn is becoming more and more necessary. The social network for professionals is used by millions of people, and it's one of the easiest and best ways to show off your educational background, job and internship history, special skills, and other vital information that potential employers want to know. Full Sail recently launched its own LinkedIn page, where grads, employees, and students are currently participating in a "JOB-OPP SWAP" by sharing potential job opportunities.
Internet Marketing Program Manager Robert Croll was surprised to find out that some employers won't even interview a candidate if they don't have a LinkedIn profile, so he recently shared some advice on how to create the best LinkedIn profile. Check out his tips below:
Use Your Own Name
This should be obvious but a student at a conference at which I recently spoke asked me about this, so I felt I should address it here. If you don't use your real name, it's going to be very difficult for people to find you.
Strive for 100% Completion
LinkedIn uses gamification to encourage users to complete their profiles. Take advantage of the progress bar feature to ensure that you've added everything that potential employers might consider important.
From the LinkedIn blog:
How do you find the right keywords? Look through job listings for the kind of position you'd like to ultimately get and find commonalities. Then, be sure to include those keywords (in a natural way) in the Summary, Skills & Expertise and other relevant sections of your profile.
Experience Doesn't Have to Mean Work (But Be Honest)
If you're a student with little (or no) real-world work experience, don't fret. Think about experience as anything that has helped you learn to become a better employee. Have you volunteered for a non-profit? Helped out in the family business? Did peer counseling or mentoring at school?
As long as you're transparent about your actual duties, don't hesitate to include experience that isn't paid work experience.
Recommendations are like references for potential employers. Get them from current or past supervisors, colleagues, supervisees, teachers, and peers. Tell those you're asking for a recommendation what your aspirations are, and ask them to be honest in describing how they know you and the basis for their recommendation. (You have a chance to approve recommendations before they're public, so don't worry that someone might post something negative.)
Take Advantage of New(-ish) Student Sections
LinkedIn has long been deemed a great tool for working professionals, but last year they added some new sections that make it more useful for students as well. These are explained in a post on the LinkedIn blog, Introducing New Profile Sections Designed for Students. Consider showcasing the courses you've taken that are relevant for the kind of position you're seeking. (This is also a great way to include more of those all-important keywords.)
Check Out Apps
There are a number of apps that can be associated with your LinkedIn profile. One that can be of particular use for students is Reading List by Amazon, which allows you to share what you're reading. Since you'll likely be sharing a lot of school reading, this can help give a prospective employer better insight into your education.