You’d be surprised at the number of candidates I see making rookie mistakes when it comes to their LinkedIn profiles. This is likely the first place that employers will look when considering your application! Make sure that your profile is optimizing by taking these five steps:
Invest in a Professional Headshot
The easiest way to make a great impression and differentiate yourself from your competition is by using a professional headshot as your profile photo. The difference between a nice headshot and a cropped photo from your latest sorority function is clear. Stand out from every other recent graduate by hiring a photographer to take professional photos for you to use to represent yourself as the seasoned professional you are (or want to be).
Link to Outside Websites
Did you volunteer at a local organization? Intern at a reputable firm? Include links to both their LinkedIn pages as well as their websites to make it easier for prospective employers to learn more about your experience. This also lends credibility to your work history as they can learn more about the companies, their clients, and reputation.
Include Multimedia Content
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to upload documents, video, and photos to your profile, so take advantage of it! Be creative and incorporate video from projects you were involved with or documents that support your experience to create a more engaging profile. The longer prospective employers spend on your profile, the more invested they are in learning about you and the more likely you’ll get that call for an interview.
Focus on Clubs and Organizations
I see many recent graduates miss an opportunity when it comes to highlighting their experience in clubs and organizations. While many employers will first look at your work history, including information about your extracurricular activities will make you look well rounded and interesting to those viewing your profile. It also opens the door to make a personal connection! Many times, candidates will be given a second look because they share an interest or belong to the same community as the hiring manager. The key is to be as specific as possible. Did you hold a leadership position? Serve on a committee? Those are the things you’ll want to highlight.
Build Your References
Nothing impresses prospective employers more than seeing specific and relevant references regarding your work experience. Reach out to past managers and co-workers asking if they’d provide a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. You’d be surprised how happy most are to do so, if you just ask!