How To Curate the Perfect LinkedIn Profile
In College Networking 101, I introduced the idea of using LinkedIn as a tool to step up your college networking game. In this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at the platform and understand, step-by-step, how to utilize all of its available resources. I’ve found multiple internships through LinkedIn, and if market yourself effectively, you can too. After following these steps, you should feel confident that your LinkedIn profile will set you apart from your classmates.
I think of LinkedIn as a kind of animated résumé; it showcases your experience, skills, and abilities in a way that can create a much better picture of you than a bulleted list on paper could. One of the best ways to bring your LinkedIn résumé immediately to life is to upload a professional headshot. This is crucial, as users with profile pictures receive 21 times more profile views than users without.While your profile picture by no means needs to be taken by a professional, you do need to look professional in it. This means a simple background and business-professional attire. Save your artsy shots for instagram; your profile picture is the first thing employers see on your profile, so you want to look mature and qualified.
Write a Strong “About” Section
This is your chance to show recruiters how your personality blends with your work ethic and why they should want to hire you. Some people go for a quippy anecdote that explains how they got into their industry, but I think it’s best to be short and sweet while still in undergrad. Think of this as the “objective” section of a résumé. You want to explain what the purpose of your LinkedIn profile is. Include whether you are looking for an internship, and make sure to be specific about what you are hoping to learn and gain from the experience. Not only do you want to introduce yourself, but you also want to explain why you would be an asset to any company. Here are a few examples for wherever you are in your college career:
If you are a sophomore or junior and don’t yet have any internship experience, the example below is for you. This person simply covers the basics. Feel free to include your interests and activities outside of school if they’re related to the industry you’re looking to enter.
Here’s a student with experience who is looking for their next internship. This description uses their specific internship experience to show that they’re qualified for another position in the same industry. If you’re not looking for something in the same field as your previous experience, you can add additional personal information explaining why you want to branch out.
This graduate student example can easily be personalized if you’re still in undergrad. This student does a great job of letting her personality shine through while simultaneously showing off her experience.
Explain Your Experience
Go the extra mile and include brief descriptions of what you did at each job or internship. A title means nothing to a recruiter if they don’t know what you were responsible for on a day-to-day basis. While this information is also on your résumé, it’s best to include it in both places. Be careful not to be too descriptive, or else you won’t have anything new to add in the interview!
Have People Endorse Your Skills
Ask previous employers, professors, or supervisors to endorse your skills. LinkedIn has a space for you to list your relevant skills and abilities, and they take it one step further by encouraging people to endorse you for your listed skills. This is a feature unique to LinkedIn that really sets it above the résumé. Hiring managers are much more likely to be impressed by your skill if they read a rave review about it from a past employer.
Ask for Recommendations
This section is the place for past employers or colleagues to sing your praises. Think of this section as a brief letter of recommendation. Not only does this reinforce your skills and achievement, but it also provides another opportunity for future employers to get to know you better. Internship supervisors or campus organization supervisors are great people to ask for these recommendations.
A big tip for connecting with industry professionals on LinkedIn is to send a personalized message with your invitation. If you met them at a networking event or attended a panel they spoke on, it’s best to remind them of how you found them when you request to connect on LinkedIn. The private messaging channel on LinkedIn is a great way to connect with these people, either for advice or to ask for an interview. Here are some examples to use for private messaging (make sure to replace the bolded text with your own information).
I’m a college senior interested in working in marketing. For some time now, I’ve been following your work for Bryan & Associates, and it’s really impressed me. I particularly loved your recent campaign in The Atlantic; that multimedia component was totally unexpected and really effective. If you ever have 20 or so minutes, I’d love to hear more about how you started working in the field and what skills you believe are most relevant to the profession.
Thank you so much,
This is an example message to a recruiter. Think of these messages as a foot-in-the door strategy; meeting someone to learn about their profession is a great first step to potentially getting an interview.
I found your profile on the Association of Professional Women page and wanted to reach out to discuss potentially working together. I’m a social media strategist with six years of experience and currently seeking new opportunities. I’d love to chat about whether my background might be a good fit for any of your openings, and I’d also be happy to connect you with other professionals in my field.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Always try to follow companies you’re applying to on LinkedIn. This way, you can stay up to date on company news and get a feel for the company culture they present. By following companies you’ve applied to, the bottom of your profile will list them among your interests and accurately correlate to your desired industry. This shows hiring managers you are well informed of the industry, helps you stay up to date with trends, and prepares you to conduct a well-informed interview. Letting your personality shine through is one of the best ways to make sure you’ve curated the perfect LinkedIn profile. Hopefully these tips help you as you find and land your next internship!