Establishing Your Digital Presence
"Employers and schools are going to new lengths to implement virtual recruiting. Now more than ever, it is crucial to have a professional digital presence."
As the world moves towards virtual environments, the job application process will also become increasingly virtual. A big player in this new virtual world is LinkedIn. LinkedIn serves as both a professional social network and a recruiting tool for companies; so in this article, we will learn how to strengthen your LinkedIn profile so it stands out among your network.
Keys to an Effective LinkedIn profile
Have a professional profile picture
Provide a professional summary
Personalize your headline
Showcase skills and endorsements
Request and provide recommendations
List detailed education information
List previous work experience
Show off your accomplishments
Highlight honors and awards
Professional Profile Picture
Professional Profile Picture
Having a picture on your LinkedIn profile is crucial for networking and hiring as it adds the human factor to LinkedIn’s digital representation. You will want the picture you choose to portray you as a well-groomed professional. Typically, the picture will be of you facing forward and from the torso up. Whether or not you choose business casual or business professional is largely up to the industry you are trying to enter. In some professions, business casual may rub a potential employer or connection the wrong way. In other professions, business professional can appear “overdressed”. If you are unsure of the what to wear in your picture, take a look at several profiles of individuals in your industry of interest to get a feel of the level of casual vs professional attire. Still unsure after that? Air on the side of caution and dress more along the lines of professional attire.
A professional summary provides the big picture for your passions, skills, and career goals. It resembles an elevator pitch or cover letter. This is the space in which you may tell your story and portray your unique personal and professional identity. When creating your summary, use keywords that may be searched online such as “Android development” or “project management” to increase your chances of being noticed on LinkedIn.
By default, LinkedIn sets your headline to be [Job Title] at [Company]. While this does get the point across, it can be a bit bland and redundant. We want your profile to stand out! Your role and company will be accessible from the experience section of your profile, so it would be best to use the headline as a kind of personal slogan to engage potential connections. The best part is, this personal slogan can (and should) still be relevant to what you do professionally. Not sure how to personalize your headline? Check out these 10 eye-catching LinkedIn headlines for an example.
Skills and Endorsements
Showcase yours kills! Include broad, searchable keywords that reflect your capabilities on your LinkedIn profile. Industry specific keywords such as “Java” or “Microsoft Power BI” are important to include in your profile, but be sure to include general skills such as “Leadership” or “Communication”. Once your skills are added to your profile, connections can view your skills and endorse them to vouch for what you have listed. You can also vouch for your own skills by taking a skill assessment through LinkedIn. Passing a skill assessment indicates the following:
You have demonstrated your knowledge of a skill
You have scored at least in the 70th percentile of everyone who has taken the assessment
You are taking initiative to show that you are staying up-to-date with the subject matter. The assessment badge only lasts on your profile for one year; therefore, to keep it on your profile, you will have to keep up with trends and best practices
In the previous section, we learned that your connections can vouch for your skills by endorsing them. You can receive more detailed praise and feedback from your connections via LinkedIn Recommendations. Recommendations can be requested anytime, so it is a good idea to request them before you need one. Consider requesting recommendations as you complete a major project or deliverable to make it easier for someone to remember all of the great things to highlight. Once you make the request and your connection submits their recommendation, you will have the opportunity to review it and request edits before you accept it. Accepting the recommendation makes it visible on your profile. Likewise, you can give someone a recommendation by visiting their profile and scrolling to their recommendations section.
Your education will take you a long way, so represent it! To create a holistic picture of your education, include an entry for each level of education. List the full name of your school and provide the appropriate information relating to your degree, field of study, and class standing. If you were involved with any clubs or organizations, you can list your involvement in the “Activities and societies” section. Below that, you’ll find a section where you can add a description of your education. Use this to include details about concentrations or highlight valuable learning experiences.
If you have a “non-traditional” education or formal education that doesn’t quite align with your target industry, that’s okay! There are numerous online resources that can help you build the skills needed to pivot your career (see the resources link in the skills section). As courses are completed, you can add a “Licenses & Certifications” section to your profile to highlight applicable certifications.
As stated in the previous section, classroom education will take you a long way; however, applying what you have learned in the real world is even better. Even if your previous work history does not directly relate to your target industry, list it anyways. With each different position held, provide a description of what you did while working in that position. Use action words such as “implemented” or “managed” and aim to quantify your work with relevant statistics. For example, “implemented XYZ method to reduce company costs by 13%”. Add supporting documents and media when applicable to give potential employers a better understanding of what you actually did. Make sure you have permission to share any documents related to your work experience.
Volunteer experience is additionally important to include on your LinkedIn profile as it provides more insight as to who you are and what is important to you. This is where your passion and personality are displayed. In some cases, volunteer experience is the edge that helps a potential employee secure a job.
Whether you have accomplishments in a team capacity or individually, LinkedIn allows you to show off your awesome projects, publications, and patents to the public. You can establish your professional brand and attract potential connections by showing off the impressive work you have completed. If your accomplishment was a team effort, be sure to include them as authors, collaborators, etc. to effectively portray the team presence. If your project can be found online, provide the link so potential connections and employers can find out more about your project.
Honors and Awards
If you have received any noteworthy honors and/or awards, add them to you profile. These achievements can come from academics, clubs, community service, work, and more. Anytime you are recognized for something you did, make sure your accomplishment has a spot on your LinkedIn. Recruiters look for the best of the best when hiring, so show off your excellence!
Employers and schools are going to new lengths to implement virtual recruiting. Now more than ever, it is crucial to have a professional digital presence. Now that you have the keys to create an awesome LinkedIn profile, it’s time to create or update yours and get hired! For more content around career development, follow Pipeline Career Services.