LinkedIn claims to be “the world’s largest professional network with over 467 million members in over 200 countries around the globe.” Profiles that are 100% complete are 40x more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. You have more space here than on a resume so don’t forget summer jobs, paid and unpaid internships as well as volunteer and leadership roles.
LinkedIn: How to Use & Build a Profile
Customize LinkedIn URL: Set your LinkedIn profile to “public” and create a unique URL (e.g., www.linkedin.com/in/JohnSmith). This may be included in your resume.
Upload professional photo: High quality image should be of you alone and in attire that aligns with your field of interest. No selfies, cropped picture of you with others or pixilated images. Your profile is 7x more likely to be viewed with an image.
Align headline with career goals: The default headline is your most recent job title. Replace with statement or keywords relevant to your field of interest that are likely to be searched.
Update contact information: Include a professional email address. Do not include your physical address or phone number.
Show off your education: Include major(s) and minor(s), courses, study abroad and summer programs. Share your GPA, test scores, honors and awards. Remove high school after sophomore year of college unless incredibly relevant.
Develop a professional summary: Your summary statement describes your qualifications and goals in a bulleted format. It should be keyword rich to align yourself with your field of interest. You may even list specialities after your bullets.
Fill “Skills & Expertise” with keywords: View job descriptions, O*Net and profiles of people who have the kids of roles you seek to identify relevant keywords.
Share your work: Attach writing samples, design work, presentations, etc. Unlike your resume, you get to tell AND show your successes on your LinkedIn profile.
Update your status: Post regularly, mentioning projects, books/articles you’re reading or events you’re attending.
Connect: Follow UT Martin and join industry groups, volunteer organizations, and professional associations of interest.
Collect diverse recommendations: Strive to have at least one recommendation for each position. Recommendations from people who have directly managed you are most significant.
Edit: There should be NO grammatical or spelling errors.
Be authentic: Communicate the same way you would in a professional interaction. Do not be overly formal or change your style- be real, be you, but be professional. Avoid cliches.
Customize your connection requests: Do not use the generic LinkedIn message. Remind them where you met/explain why you want to connect. They will be more likely to respond.
Be responsive: Reply within a few days to connection requests, personal messages or comments on group discussions you post. This keeps you in people’s minds.
Research before reaching out: Review profiles before contacting on LinkedIn. Th connection is stronger if you highlight what you have in common and want to discuss.
Target and personalize: People are more likely to respond to personalized messages. Use a status update for mass updates.
Be careful with introductions: If you are asked to introduce someone, remember that your reputation is on the line. You should know the connection well; it’s okay to politely refuse.
Keep it short and sweet: In today’s busy world, no one wants to read long, dense paragraphs. Keep summary, messages, discussion postings, and recommendations clear and to the point. Bulleted lists should include five or fewer bullets.
Proofread: Everything you post on LinkedIn can be seen by a wide audience 9even private messages could be forwarded or saves). Double-check spelling, grammar, style and tone.
Give more than you take: In addition to updating your own status and asking for help or connections, comment on other people’s updates, send a job listing and help with requests.
Always say thank you: When people answer a question you post, provide an introduction, suggest a job or otherwise help you, send them thank you messages.
Follow up online networking with phone calls, attending events and mailing notes to people with whom you interact.
After your profile is complete, send personalized connection requests to your network: friends, family, neighbors, faculty members, advisors, classmates, supervisors, etc. Then, ask for job search help and ask questions like:
- What advise do you have as I pursue a job in XYZ industry?
- Do you know anyone in my field of interest and would you feel comfortable connecting us?
- Could I meet with you to talk about your day-to-day activities?
Join groups to learn industry lingo. Also, answering questions builds credibility. Follow industry channels as well.