In our digital age, it is more important than ever to have an online presence. Today, your first impression is never when you shake someone’s hand, career development starts online. It is a given that before meeting with someone, say for an informational interview, or leading up to a job interview, the person you are meeting with will search you on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is useful in 3 different ways:
- It allows you to build your professional network. Giving you connections at places you might want to work, ultimately leading to references. Or it gives you a platform to find and meet people for informational interviews.
- It showcases your experience. Employers often go through LinkedIn profiles to see how professional someone is and what work experience they have. LinkedIn is like an online resume for anyone to see.
- It helps you understand someone’s background. Whenever I go into a job interview or am meeting with someone, you should be familiar with their background so you have the opportunity to ask thoughtful questions. LinkedIn allows this.
Now that you know why LinkedIn is important for your career development let’s talk about how to make your Linked Profile great. Similar to a resume you want to pay attention to all the fine details while being articulate about who you are. Below are some tips to help you get started.
- Make sure you have an updated headshot or else you will stand out, in a bad way.
- Don’t use a default header image.
- If you are a student it is helpful to put that in your headline, people are more willing to connect with and help a student.
- The about me section gives you a chance to talk about your story in a unique way. Don’t just say the role you are currently in or what college you go to. Craft a story that gets people’s attention.
- Treat the experience section like it’s your resume. Any text I put under on my LinkedIn experience comes straight from the experience section on my resume.
Now that you have a great LinkedIn it’s time to go and connect! Find alumni to your college and look for mutual connections at firms you are interested in. Make sure to send a message with your invitation, those are more likely to be excepted. Good luck!