Social Media Guide
Quick Tips for LinkedIn
Think of your LinkedIn profile as an interactive business card. It’s a summary of your professional experience, interests, and capabilities that is designed to attract the attention of important people who are searching for you online — recruiters, networking contacts, and grad school admissions officers. A strong profile is a key differentiator in the job market.
Craft an Informative Profile Headline
Your profile headline gives people a short, memorable way to understand who you are in a professional context. Think of the headline as the slogan for your professional brand, such as “Student, National University” or “Recent honors grad seeking marketing position.” Check out the profiles of students and recent alums you admire for ideas and inspiration.
Display an Appropriate Photo
Remember that LinkedIn is not Facebook. If you choose to post a photograph, and we recommend that you do, select a professional, high-quality headshot of you alone. Party photos, cartoon avatars, and cute pics of your puppy don’t fit in the professional environment of LinkedIn.
Show Off Your Education
Be sure to include information about all institutions you’ve attended. Include your major and minor if you have one, as well as highlights of your activities. It’s also appropriate to include study abroad programs and summer institutes. Don’t be shy – your LinkedIn profile is an appropriate place to show off your strong GPA and any honors or awards you’ve won.
Develop a Professional Summary Statement
Your summary statement should resemble the first few paragraphs of your best-written cover letter – concise and confident about your goals and qualifications. Remember to include relevant internships, volunteer work, and extra-curriculars. Present your summary statement in short blocks of text for easy reading.
Fill Your “Specialties” Section With Keywords
“Specialties” is the place to include key words and phrases that a recruiter or hiring manager might type into a search engine to find a person like you. The best place to find relevant keywords is in the job listings that appeal to you and the LinkedIn profiles of people who currently hold the kinds of positions you want.
Update Your Status Weekly
A great way to stay on other people’s radar screens and enhance your professional image is to update your status at least once a week. Tell people about events you’re attending, major projects you’ve completed, professional books you’re reading, or any other news that you would tell someone at a networking reception or on a quick catch-up phone call.
Show Your Connectedness With LinkedIn Group Badges
Joining Groups and displaying the group badges on your profile are the perfect ways to fill out the professionalism of your profile and show your desire to connect to people with whom you have something in common. Most students start by joining their university’s LinkedIn group as well as the larger industry groups related to the career they want to pursue.
Collect Diverse Recommendations
Nothing builds credibility like third-party endorsements. The most impressive LinkedIn profiles have at least one recommendation associated with each position a person has held. Think about soliciting recommendations from professors, internship coordinators and colleagues, employers, and professional mentors.
Claim Your Unique LinkedIn URL
To increase the professional results that appear when people type your name into a search engine, set your LinkedIn profile to “public” and claim a unique URL for your profile (for example: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname). This also makes it easier to include your LinkedIn URL in your email signature or on your resume.
Share Your Work
A final way to enhance your LinkedIn profile is to add examples of your writing, design work, or other accomplishments by displaying URLs or adding LinkedIn Applications. By including URLs, you can direct people to your website, blog, or Twitter feed. Through Applications, you can share a PowerPoint or store a downloadable version of your resume.
100% Complete = 100% More Likely to Get Noticed
You can’t build connections if people don’t know you exist or see what you have to offer. Your LinkedIn profile is your online business card, your resume, and your letters of rec all in one. Don’t be shy: users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
You’re More Experienced Than You Think
Complete profiles are so important because the more information you provide, the more people will find reasons to connect with you. Think really broadly about all the experience you have, including summer jobs, unpaid internships, volunteer work, and student organizations. You never know what might catch someone’s eye.
Use Your Inbox
Contrary to popular belief, networking doesn’t mean reaching out to strangers. The best networks begin with those you know and trust, and then grow based on personal referrals. Start building your LinkedIn network by uploading your online address book and connecting to friends, relatives, internship colleagues, and professionals you know in the “real world.”
As you build your connections on LinkedIn, always customize your connection requests with a friendly note and, if necessary, a reminder of where you met or what organization you have in common. If you’re being referred by a mutual friend, write a brief intro of who you are and why you’d like to connect. You’ll impress people with your personal touch.
Join the “In” Crowd
Another way to form new online relationships is to join LinkedIn Groups. Start with your university group – alums love to connect with students – and then find volunteer organizations or professional associations you already belong to. As a member, you can comment on discussions, find exclusive job listings, and meet people who share common interests.
Lend a (Virtual) Hand
As you build connections and group memberships, think about what you can do to support other people. Comment on a classmate’s status update, forward a job listing that fits the criteria of a friend, or write a recommendation for a summer job colleague. You’ll find that your generosity is always rewarded (and, of course, it feels really good to help someone!).
Question (and Answer) Everything
LinkedIn’s Answers feature is a great place to seek advice from a wide variety of people all around the world. You can also show the world what you have to offer by answering people’s questions about a topic where you have some expertise. The more active you are in Answers, the more people will view your profile and want to connect with you.
Do Your Homework
Before an informational interview, a job interview, or a networking get-together, use LinkedIn to learn about the background and interests of the people you’re scheduled to meet. Access Company Pages to research organizations and their employees, and use Advanced Search to find things you have in common with people you’re meeting.
Now Step Away From the Computer
There’s a perception that young people are only comfortable communicating online, so be sure to support your online networking with real human contact. Set up phone calls, attend live events, and send snail mail notes to people you interact with on LinkedIn. Remember that online methods should supplement, not replace, in-person relationship-building.
How to Conduct Essential Employer Research on LinkedIn
One of recruiters’ biggest complaints about entry-level job candidates is their lack of knowledge about an employer’s organization. Before attending a career fair, networking meeting, or job interview, you must do your homework. Here are some tips on how to use LinkedIn to research effectively and gain an advantage over your less-prepared peers.
Be Open to New Opportunities
While you may have some idea of the company you want to work for, there are lots of opportunities at organizations you’ve never even heard of. Keep an open mind as you conduct your research and remember that the wider you expand your search, the more likely you are to find a great job.
Just Start Searching
LinkedIn’s Advanced Search is a powerful tool for job seekers like you. Simply type in any keyword – “marketing,” “accounting,” “theater,” “baseball,” “Seattle,” “India,” anything – and you’ll see the LinkedIn profiles of people whose careers include that keyword. This is a great way to explore potential career paths and to learn about companies or job titles that might be a perfect fit for you. Save your searches to keep a record of careers and people that interest you.
Put Yourself in Good Company (Pages)
As you find employers you might want to work for, check out their LinkedIn Company Pages. Each page provides a wealth of information about an organization’s operations, employees, locations, available jobs, and more. Plus, when you visit any of the 150,000 Company Pages on LinkedIn, you’ll see how you are personally connected to people at that organization. Then you can reach out for advice or to request informational interviews and referrals to open positions. Not connected to anyone at your target company? Join a university alumni, industry, or interest group.
Know Before You Go
It’s the night before a big career fair, informational interview, or job interview and you’re feeling really nervous. Calm those jitters by using LinkedIn to research the person or people you’ll be meeting. You can discover facts about someone’s education, interest, work experience, group memberships, and connections you might have in common. This will make you feel more prepared and confident and provide you with some good conversation starters.