Crafting Your LinkedIn Profile in 7 Easy Steps!
by Elaine Fernandez
As college students, most if not all of us are working towards our goal of attaining our dream jobs. The resumes and cover letters we submit to go with our applications for internships and jobs are talked about everywhere. However, one of the best ways to present yourself to recruiters, future graduate schools, people in your network, and much more is through your LinkedIn profile.
As a current third year student in college, I will say that I underestimated the extent to which LinkedIn would be able to help me in my professional career. LinkedIn is a crucial way for others to picture and see what you can bring to the table in a lively way that is not on a plain white sheet of paper.
Because of this, I want to share with you all seven introductory tips to make sure your LinkedIn profile displays your personal brand in a good light.
Tip #1: Add a professional headshot
The picture you have on your profile on LinkedIn is the first thing people get to see about you and it can tell them a lot about yourself and your personal brand. This picture does not have to be taken by a professional photographer. Your roommate, classmate or friend can take this picture for you, but just make sure that you:
- Have a plain background that’s not distracting.
- Have a picture from your chest up to the top of your head from a straight angle. Again, no selfies.
- Preferably have a neutral face, or smile in your profile picture, so no silly faces.
- The outfit (specifically your top-half) that you have on when taking or choosing your profile picture is something you would wear to your future job.
Note: If you prefer not to share a headshot for any personal reasons, add a photo that represents you.
Tip #2: Have a background picture that’s representative of you
As with your profile picture, your background photo is one of the first things that people see the moment your account is clicked on. For this reason, having a background photo that represents you in one way or another will accentuate your personal brand.
Some examples of this could include: the city you’re from, one of your favorite quotes, your school, your job, a hobby, or anything else that represents you or the communities you belong to. The options for this are endless, but when making your profile, just make sure that the background photo shows some part of who you are.
Tip #3: List many experiences, even the ones you think have nothing to do with your career
As you would do on your resume, include the experiences that you’ve had that have helped you grow professionally in one way or another, whether it’s a job, an internship, an extracurricular, or a volunteering experience.
All types of experiences that you’ve had can count
, as transferable skills have just as much impact as skills that you’d gain from traditional experiences.
Pro tip: make sure to include experiences that you’d be able to have a conversation about.
Tip #4: Fill out additional sections – they matter!
Making sure to have sections like the languages, awards, courses, and certification categories filled in is crucial!
Pro tip: add these sections with key experiences and skills that can be the cherry on top to your page (for example: courses related to your career path or professional growth, more than one language, awards that showcase your abilities, certifications that could be applied in a future career, etc.).
Tip #5: Compare with your resume
Be certain that the skills and experiences you have on your LinkedIn profile match up with your resume. All the dates should be the same, and the impact points (if you choose to include) should be similar. This is important as employers may look at your LinkedIn, and having inconsistent information is not a good sign.
Tip #6: Connect with others (but wisely!)
While on LinkedIn, make sure to connect with people who can help you in your professional or personal growth. It’s not recommended to connect with anyone and everyone
, as a few meaningful connections will always outweigh many meaningless ones.
Feel free to connect with people in any organization you may be a part of, your friends and loved ones, people who have the job you may be looking for, and much more. Your network will eventually help you in one way or another in amazing ways, whether it’s by connecting you to other people that can help you get to where you aspire to be, by sharing opportunities, and more!
Pro tip: make sure when connecting with people you aren’t familiar with to send a note about WHY you want to connect with the individual
, as people are more likely to accept your connection when you send a note than when you don’t.
Tip #7: OWN it
This is not a tip talked about enough: your LinkedIn profile is yours, and only yours. Make sure to own that, and to try your best to not compare it to other people’s profiles.
As you begin your profile, do not feel discouraged if you see people who have 500+ connections as everyone is on their own journey in expanding their network. Do not feel frustrated if your LinkedIn is not where you’d want it to be, or if it does not look as content full as others.
Everyone starts somewhere and everyone is on their own chapter in their life. You’ll eventually get to the place where your personal brand will speak for itself.
Building and using LinkedIn is not a straightforward path that can be mastered within one read of tips, but more so a skill you’ll gain and only get better at the more you use it and as you gain more experiences. To this day, I’m learning new things every day on how to make the best use of this application, so take it day by day.
I hope these tips were able to give you a small gist at how you can showcase your personal brand, and I cannot wait to see where the power of your LinkedIn profile will take you.
ABOUT MAKING WAVES FOUNDATION
With a unique focus on college attendance and graduation, Making Waves Foundation supports historically underrepresented and underserved students in pursuing their dreams. Making Waves Academy is a public charter school in Richmond, California, educating more than 1,100 students and Making Waves Foundation’s college success program, known as CAP, provides coaching, scholarships, financial literacy, and career support for more than 500 college students as well as a network for more than 500 Wave-Maker alumni.
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