Linked profiles are quickly becoming the digital age’s answer to the traditional paper-based CV. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a dynamic online CV.
Graduate recruiters are using LinkedIn to fill jobs and tech savvy job hunters have been using the site to network with other professionals in the field or to ‘follow’ companies they wish to work for.
Edit: I originally wrote this post in 2011 and thought it was time for an update since LinkedIn has gone through a few changes since then. However, in as much as LinkedIn’s look and feel has changed over the last two years, the basics of creating an All-Star profile still remains the same.
Top 10 tips for a killer LinkedIn graduate profile:
1. Write your headline – LinkedIn automatically puts your current position as your profile headline. Change it. Try to stand out by stating what you have to offer and identifying your unique selling point to attract recruiters.
Do: “Psychology Graduate, Specialising in Survey Design. Interested in Market Research and Analysis”
Don’t: “Motivated Graduate Looking to Work in Market Research”
2. Choose an appropriate photo – LinkedIn is not Facebook, so having a photo of you holding a glass of wine is a no-no. Neither should you feel that you have to put your passport photo up. Choose a good headshot with a neutral/inoffensive background. You want to be personable and yet professional. People will make assumptions based on your photos so you might as well make it a good one.
3. Use keywords – Use keywords when describing your work. The more industry relevant keywords you have in your profile, the higher you are on a recruiter’s search rankings. This increases the chances of your profile getting noticed. Breakout the keywords in the skills section since this will come up in search as well, extra points if you can rack up endorsements for your skills.
Keywords is not just about industry buzzwords. Often graduates forget that the programming languages, or industry specific tools like Google Analytics, Photoshop, etc. are keywords that should be found on their profile rather than just something like “campaign management”.
4. Only include relevant jobs – If you’re applying to be an accountant for one of the Big 4 you probably don’t need to say you served Big Macs at 16.
5. Complete the summary – Treat it like your short personal advertisement/covering letter. Assert your personality and sell yourself. There’s also a lot of scope to be creative here, why not try embedding a short video clip where you talk about yourself?
6. Highlight what you can do – LinkedIn has introduced a new section where you can add your skills, languages, certifications and publications. The skills section allows recruiters to search for a particular combination of skills, which you may well have. As above, get endorsements for your skills where you can.
Do: Brag about your achievements
Don’t: Lie or stretch the truth about the number and extent of your skills
You can also make your profile a bit more visual by adding links, Slideshare presentations, videos and images to showcase your work. As in the example below, I have included links to other websites I’ve worked on as well as information about each individual project I’ve been involved in.
7. Get recommendations – If you did an internship and made a great impression on your employers, don’t be afraid to approach them for a recommendation. It basically lends your profile more credibility. Plus, what’s better than a third-party endorsement?
8. Claim your vanity URL – Personalise the web address for your LinkedIn profile. This helps your results especially if employers search for you on Google.
9. Adjust your public profile settings – Go to the settings and select which sections are visible on your public profile. I would recommend having the summary, your current position, skills and education visible. There’s no point in crafting a killer profile and then hiding it under a bushel.
10. Update regularly – Your profile should evolve with you. It’s been a while since I’ve been a fresh graduate so I’ve made sure to update my own LinkedIn profile at appropriate points in my career to reflect the changes. By constantly updating your profile, you’ll have a handy jump-off point whenever you need to update your CV and look for a new challenge.