Whether you are just starting out looking for your first job, or are more advanced in your career and looking for a change, having a stellar LinkedIn page is crucial to landing interviews at potential dream jobs. Luckily, we’ve compiled this simple guide to creating a LinkedIn profile, from writing the perfect headline to highlighting your greatest achievements.
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Top Tips for Creating a LinkedIn Profile
1. Choose a Professional Photo
The way you present yourself on social media is often your first impression to employers. Think carefully about the impression you wish to give. Keep in mind what you are wearing in the photo, the background, and the general tone you’re after. While this may vary between industries, an overall rule of thumb is to keep the photo professional and high-quality.
Don’t forget about the cover photo, either! Try to choose something that relates to an interest employers would not detect from your CV. Maybe you’ve recently travelled somewhere abroad, or taken up a new sport. In keeping with the general tone of professionalism, don’t be afraid to show some personality too!
Tip: Request LinkedIn recommendations from current or former employees — the more the better!
2. A Good Headline is Key
Be direct here about what it is that you do and what you hope to do in the future. With only 120 characters available, it is important to maximize this space. Let employers see why you are passionate about your profession, and, of course, include relevant keywords to make your profile more visible.
Recruiters on Linkedin will assess your profile in a very short amount of time. It’s helpful to be specific about your current status (full-time, part-time, contract, freelance) as well as what you are looking for, both in terms of job scope and what it is you hope to gain from your next opportunity. And, most importantly, focus on what you have to offer. If you are a student, for example, be clear that you are searching for your first entry-level opportunity. When it comes down to the interview, employers want to see motivation — show them this by writing a catchy and professional headline!
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3. Let your Target Jobs Inspire your LinkedIn Profile
While every experience is valuable in some way, you want your employers to see you as a fit for the experience they have to offer. If you are applying for jobs in the legal sector, for example, your experience as a summer camp counselor is probably less related than your college internship or volunteer experience. The better you understand the opportunities you are seeking — and what it is you bring to the table — the easier you will be able to cater your LinkedIn profile to the market. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Message professionals in your field to ask about their experience, what interested them initially and how they started out.
Tip: Build your network of connections around your targeted jobs or companies.
4. Avoid Being too Generic
The summary section of your profile lets you write a paragraph or two about your overall experience. Who will be reviewing your profile once you begin applying to jobs? What industry or profession are you targeting? If you don’t know where to start, take a look at the profiles of professionals in your area to get a feel for the industry’s tone and keywords.
Let your LinkedIn profile stand out! Try to focus your relevant skills to the jobs for which you are applying, but also be authentic in explaining why you are applying for those jobs. As a candidate, you should fit in to what the employer is looking for in an employee and should add your own point of view to the organization. It is a social network after all — while remaining professional, your profile should always reflect who you are in your society.
5. Highlight Internship and Volunteer Experience
Think about the possible LinkedIn searches that might yield your profile in the results. Typically, employers search by degree, years of total and relevant experience, location, and keywords. Make sure these details are clearly outlined on your profile. For example, if you are applying for jobs in the non-profit sector, make sure to include the term ‘non-profit’ directly in the title of your past or current position.
And, while there is no need to include every past experience, take pride in the ones most rewarding to you! If you found a connection to the organization, then it is definitely relevant. Remember that whatever you decide to list on your LinkedIn profile, it will be up to you during the interview to clearly defend these choices to employers and to explain the added value they bring to the table.
Tip: To avoid any confusion, make sure your CV and LinkedIn profile are seemingly identical.
6. Customized URL
Want to take your LinkedIn profile a step further? Go to your own profile’s page and on the top right you will be able to edit your custom URL. Instead of the generic first-last name followed by a stream of numbers, you can shorten the URL to a customized name of your choice. This small effort will take almost no time at all and will show employers that you are not only qualified for the job, but tech savvy too!
Tip: Stay active on LinkedIn even after finding employment — keep up to date with the profiles of your peers and mentors to give yourself a competitive edge!
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Of course, the first step in anyone’s career development is their choice of academic degree. We all want to study something that is not only interesting, but that will lead to highly rewarding career opportunities. Many people choose to go back to school after beginning their careers, either to change directions or advance in their existing professions.
If you are looking for a flexible option that allows you to study at your own convenience while still earning a living, you might consider an online degree from University of the People. Over 20,000 students have chosen to pursue their education with UoPeople in fields like education, computer science, education, and healthcare.
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With so many new jobs being created, personal branding is more important than ever. Employers want to see your personality through your LinkedIn profile, and to understand everything you can bring to the position. Make yourself stand out from the rest! Social media is a great tool for serious job seekers looking to network and find new opportunities.
When creating a LinkedIn profile, the most important focus should be authenticity. Let your social media presence reflect the way you present yourself to your own friends and family. Being professional and focused is certainly crucial, though your employers should also feel your passion when they read your profile. You can still be personable and charismatic even while keeping a professional tone!