Updated: February 2018
So you’ve been convinced to create a LinkedIn profile and now that you know the basics, you are ready to complete your profile. This process can take some time, but make sure you don’t leave the following things out of your profile:
1. A profile picture.
The number one mistake on LinkedIn is not having the right profile picture. Your profile picture should be as professional as possible and include only you. You want your face to be clearly visible, recognizable, and flattering. This means that the picture you took from last Saturday night with all your pals is not the photo you want to choose.
Your profile picture is your first impression to your employer, so choose a photo that is going to help them understand you have the kind of professionalism they expect from prospective employees.
2. A headline
Your headline appears right under your name and is usually your title of the position you hold at your current job or internship. If you don’t have a job or internship right now, still include a headline. It’s okay and acceptable to put Student at Capital University, Aspiring accountant, or College undergraduate seeking internship experience in the field of law. Including keywords related to your field is important because it will help put you on an employer’s search radar.
3. A summary
Your summary comes right before your experience section. This section functions similar to (but not the same as!) a cover letter. In your summary, give an overview of who you are, what your current and future career goals are, and most importantly, what you bring to the table for any potential employer.
Again, keywords related to your field are important to include. If you are having a difficult time writing your summary, try viewing other professionals’ LinkedIn profiles in your field and see what buzzwords they are using. CAUTION: do not use buzzwords if they are not truthful and pertain to the experience you have or wish to gain.
For more on how to write an effective summary, check out this example.
4. Experience/work history
Though all these parts of your profile are important, your experience is extremely important. So what should you list? Similar to a resume, experiences that are relevant to your career field should have top priority. This usually includes internships and extracurricular activities, freelance work, or related jobs or volunteer work you may have had.
Don’t have any experience directly related to your career field? Then include any experiences or activities that may show you in a leadership role, illustrate your work ethic, or show that you have experience volunteering or being involved in campus activities. There are many types of experiences you can include. If you are having trouble thinking of your experiences, drop in our office and we’ll help you talk through and identify some of the great experiences you may not even realize you’ve had!
5. Skills, Expertise, and Endorsements
The Featured Skills and Endorsement section is a keyword list of skills you already have. Do not lie about the skills you have. Employers who have found you based on this list will not be pleased to find out that you really don’t have a lot of the skills you claimed to have.
So be honest, but include all relevant skills to your field. This will help you show up on employers’ results lists as they search for potential employees.
The Featured Skills and Endorsements section is also beneficial because it allows your connections (the people who know you) to endorse your skills! This allows potential employers to see the credibility behind your skills.
Now you have the basics and know what to include in your profile. So what are you waiting for? Start getting connected!
Still don’t have a LinkedIn? Sign up for a free profile here.
-Shannon Ball, Rebecca Reynolds, PCA