By: Rachel Ornstein
We all know the importance of LinkedIn as a professional social network, yet there are many students that don’t have an updated, or even any, LinkedIn profile. This is super important to the eyes of future employers. Jenna Newman, our Vice President of Professional Development, talked through the important aspects of a LinkedIn profile in our second skill slam of the semester. Here are some tips that Jenna covered:
Headshot: Employers are more 14x more likely to view the profile of someone who has a professional-looking headshot. You should have a recent picture of yourself that is from the elbow up. Make sure the picture is just of yourself and does not have a busy background. Employers want to see you, not you on the beach with your best friends.
Summary: While a summary may seem intimidating to write, it’s important to see it as an opportunity to sell yourself virtually to employers who are viewing your profile. You should state who you are, what you aspire to be, and a few qualities that will help you get there. Think of this section as a “30-second pitch” of yourself!
Experience (Work/Volunteer): This section involves highlighting experiences that contribute to your capabilities. Regarding work experience, you should identify key tasks that you accomplished, as well as quantifying your achievements if possible. Make sure you highlight work experience from most recent to least recent. Volunteer experience can also be listed here. It’s important to note that 41% of employers find this experience just as vital as any work ones, so always take volunteer opportunities if you can!
Education: One of the most important questions regarding education is the debate on when high school related activities should be included. Students also wonder whether or not to put their GPA online. Jenna suggests that anything from high school should be off your profile when you are five years out, and with a degree. With regards to GPA, it is not something you must have on your profile; it will not count against you. Usually a GPA of 3.5 or higher can be listed.
Other Sections: Publications is a great section for you to list any writing you have done for employers to take a look at. Providing employers with evidence of your experiences is definitely a plus. The Endorsements section is something to keep in mind when you finish an internship. Here, other users can “endorse” you for skills that you are good at, and it can help with future employment!
It’s important to know that your LinkedIn profile will not become perfect overnight; it’s always a work in progress! Jenna suggests taking some time each week to update it, and before you know it, your profile will be a model for others to use as a guide!