When it comes to professional networking and job hunting, LinkedIn is an invaluable resource – especially for new graduates. Besides your resume and cover letter, a fantastic LinkedIn profile is key to differentiating yourself from your peers, and serves as a positive resource in your online arsenal when someone searches your name.
However, if you don’t put effort into creating and maintaining your LinkedIn profile, you can quickly lose your competitive edge. Having a robust profile is imperative. Here are some tips to get you started.
Keep it clean
Obviously your LinkedIn profile should be free of typos and grammatical errors, but also make sure to keep your name professional, clean up your personal URL and provide an appropriate photo. Be advised, a photo is a must. LinkedIn notes that profiles without a photo are automatically relegated to the bottom of search results. Keep it professional, but don’t be afraid to show off your personality as well.
LinkedIn provides you with a messy default URL, but you can easily change it to only include your name (e.g., linkedin.com/JaneDoe). This allows you to include the URL on business cards, applications and other resources without it appearing cluttered.
Fill out as much as possible
Most importantly, include all of your professional contact information (email, social media profiles, etc.) so that it’s easy for recruiters and hiring managers to get in touch. In general, the more thoroughly your profile is filled out, the higher LinkedIn will rate it in search. Taking the time to fully complete each section (summary, experience, education, publications, etc.) will greatly strengthen your profile.
Your page can be further supplemented with links to relevant work or an online portfolio, recommendations from colleagues or mentors and summary of your skills. Note that LinkedIn allows you to add documents, photos, links, videos and presentations to your profile, all of which can make it more distinct and visually interesting.
Pro tip: Adding a background picture is another great method for adding a visual element to your profile, notes Newsweek.
Remember LinkedIn is all about networking and personal growth, so keep your profile updated and be active in the LinkedIn community. Herzing’s degree programs include a professional development class that includes coursework on how to effectively maintain your LinkedIn and leverage it in your job search. Make a point of connecting with your classmates, professors, potential employers and others in your industry. Also, join groups (up to 50) and post professional updates and news regularly. It’s critical to keep your profile as up to date as possible, because you never know when someone may view it to consider you for a position.
Source: LinkedIn Profile Writer