LinkedIn gives you the keys to controlling your professional online identity. LinkedIn profiles rise to the top of search results from sites such as Google, letting you control that first impression. Best of all, the LinkedIn community has a culture of facilitating professional connections by sharing information through groups and company profiles.
Why should you make a profile?
1. You go to Middlebury - as a Middlebury student, you are part of an impressive network of accomplished professionals from a wide array of fields. Take advantage of this!
2. Maintain existing connections – LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with colleagues you already know, or have already worked with. Keep these connections alive!
3. Form new connections – by establishing your existing network, you may develop new connections and hear about job opportunities through your professional grapevine.
4. Create a professional online presence – you don’t want those Facebook posts and pictures to be the only thing on the internet representing you. Having a professional online presence will ensure that employers looking for serious candidates see your professional profile picture and accompanying accomplishments, not your weekend activities.
Already have a profile? Great start. Below are some tips on how to improve what you’ve already got.
Your headline needs to be a short, memorable slogan that shows your position and goals. For example: “Honors student seeking government position.”
Unlike Facebook you only get one photo on LinkedIn, so you’ll want to make it count! Make sure the photo is a high quality image of just you, professionally dressed. Don’t have very many of these? Middlebury’s Center for Careers and Internships hosts a LinkedIn Photo Shoot periodically, meant specifically to provide you with an appropriate profile picture. Check the calendar for the next shoot!
You will not get through your four years at Middlebury without experiencing many hours of the college’s rigorous academics. Show it off! You earned it. Even better, the display of your major(s), minor(s), courses, and study abroad programs are very helpful for your job search and for anyone visiting your profile. LinkedIn is also an appropriate place to display your test scores, GPA, and academic honors.
It is important to develop your professional summary. As LinkedIn puts it, “your Summary statement is like the first few paragraphs of your best-written cover letter - concise and confident about your qualifications and goals.” This is where you can include relevant work experience as well as non-academic involvement.
“Skills and Expertise”
This is where you can display the keywords that employers look for in their searches. Once you have a few of these, it allows colleagues and friends who are familiar with your work to “endorse” these qualities, vouching for your professional abilities.
These are professional updates – again, LinkedIn is not Facebook. A new job, a professional event, or an interesting and relevant article are examples of appropriate posts. Updating your status regularly will ensure that your connections do not forget about you and what you’re up to.
You will want to join and display membership in different groups on LinkedIn that are relevant to your job search and reflect your network. These groups show up at the bottom of your profile, which shows employers and your other connections that your are interested in engaging in the professional community and learn the appropriate communication skills. For starters, join the Middlebury College Community, one of the Middlebury networks on LinkedIn!
As LinkedIn explains, “the best profiles have at least one recommendation for each position a person has held.” These recommendations are most impressive when they come from people who worked with and managed you directly.
By setting your profile to “public” and creating a unique URL, you can increase the results that employers see when they search your name online.
Your profile also allows for you to upload actual examples of your work, giving employers a firsthand idea of what you can do.
For more information on these specific areas, see the “Building a Great Student Profile” sheet provided by the website (hard copies can be found here at CCI in the ADK house). For additional information on any questions you may have, you can visit the LinkedIn for students section on the LinkedIn website.