Graduation season is one of the happiest times in our lives. It is a time to applaud hard work and celebrate the journey that has brought us to where we are today. From professional development certificates to master’s degrees and everything in between, the diplomas we earn mark huge milestones and open doors to new adventures. For college graduates, once the caps are thrown, it is time to put on your job hunting hats and start the search for your dream jobs or other career growth opportunities. Whether you are a seasoned professional looking for a change or you are starting fresh in a new position, you need to showcase your talents and accomplishments for potential employers to see.
With more than 300 million users, LinkedIn is the social network of choice for professionals. More companies are utilizing this channel to research candidates and recruit the best of the best. It is also a great space to network and build connections. Use this great avenue to your advantage with these 6 tips for new grads to optimize your profile:
- Picture Perfect
According to LinkedIn's official blog, “a profile with a photo is 11 times more likely to be viewed.” The picture you choose can also be used to visually share your talents. You can use a photo of you working at your desk, speaking at a presentation or even a photo of you holding any awards or certificates you have achieved. Whichever image you choose, make sure it is professional and is the best representation of who you are as a person and as a future employee.
- Create a Headline That Stands Out
A headline is basically a 5-second elevator pitch to market yourself online. You have limited time to grab a recruiter’s attention and you can do that by incorporating keywords that you find in job listings. Are you looking to be a Human Resources Manager? Which headline do you think is going to capture a recruiter’s attention?
Human Resources Coordinator at Lee & Associates
Human resources leader who utilizes knowledge of business and organizational operations to lead change and corporate communications for the nation's largest commercial real estate firm.
The second headline displays your knowledge and experience in human resources rather than just your current title. It appeals to recruiters, but more importantly it can capture the attention of senior level members because of your knowledge of business and corporate communications.
Even Santa Claus has a captivating headline:
— LinkedInU (@LinkedInU) December 18, 2013
- Update Your Contact Information
The last thing you want is for a recruiter to reach out to you to an old email address or phone number. Updating your contact information is the easiest task of all the updates listed. Simply click “Edit Profile” and go to “Edit Contact Info” which is located right below your picture and headline.
You also have the option to include your social media handles and other websites. You should definitely include social channels if they are professional and appropriate, and include websites that highlight your creativity and writing style.
Lastly, if you have not customized your LinkedIn URL, do it now as an added bonus because focusing on little details like that can add up. And plus, linkedin.com/in/garyturner looks a lot better than linkedin.com/pub/gary-turner/854x2d3fdzdfkel.
- Write a Killer Summary
Take advantage of the summary section. Assume recruiters and employers do not want to scroll through your profile. Instead they want to skim through your summary to get an overall idea of who you are and your skill sets before investing their time to read through your entire profile. Use this space to draw them in and make them take that next step to know more about you.
A great feature to use in your summary is adding links or uploading files. Highlight your greatest work or even a SlideShare presentation of who you are and why you are the best candidate for the job.
You can also refer to these essential tips for new grads for creating an impressive summary.
Here are some great examples from LinkedIn.
Take time to tell the story of your professional experience. Use keywords and background information relevant to what companies and recruiters are looking for. The best way to do this is to research listings for the jobs you want and searching for keywords within LinkedIn, and take note of what keywords and phrases you see often.
Do not be afraid to list all of your past jobs. The more content you put on your profile, the better your chances at showing up in search results and connecting with people who may find your past experience intriguing. If you have a past job that is not relevant to your current search, try to think of responsibilities and duties that can relate to or add value to you as a candidate.
For example, if you are looking for a sales job and one of your past positions is an after school teacher at a daycare, think of the duties you had as a teacher and how it can apply to sales. As a childcare educator, did you have to reach out to parents to build a relationship and trust so that they re-enroll the following school year? Did you nurture your relationship with your students and make sure each child had a memorable time while under your supervision so that they went home and spoke highly of you and the program? Did you provide excellent customer service to parents and inform them of additional programs and summer camps that could benefit their child and also bring in revenue for the daycare? That is sales.
Use LinkedIn as an online resume and apply resume writing tips to your profile.
- Tell the World You Are a Graduate
Shout to the rooftops that you have graduated but don’t forget your LinkedIn audience. They want to know that you have graduated too. Add your school, your areas of study and activities in the education section.
One crucial thing students overlook is joining their school’s alumni network. It is a great space to meet other alumni, ask and provide advice and explore opportunities. It is also an easy way to stay connected to faculty, staff and to build new connections.
Your LinkedIn profile represents who you are in the digital space. Treat it like an online portfolio and use it to differentiate yourself from the rest. Know that people are looking at it at any given moment so keep it updated and relevant to the job you are looking for. By making it stand out, you increase your chances of exposure and create more opportunities to move forward professionally.
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