Tailoring Your LinkedIn Profile to Your Goals
A perfect LinkedIn profile? No such thing. What you need is a profile that’s perfectly you.
- Get clear on your audience. Think about who you’re trying to impress. Going after a high-tech start-up job? Write for entrepreneurial techie types. Unsure? Create a strong general profile that shows you’re a professionally minded student who’s eager to learn.
- Use a headline to broadcast your ideal job. Your Summary headline doesn’t have to be a job title. The best student headlines promote who you are and what you want to do after graduation. Stuff like “XYZ University honors student & aspiring Public Relations Associate.”
- Post a photo. Profiles with photos get viewed much more than those without. Pick a professionally appropriate headshot of you alone. No baseball caps, puppies, or group photos! (Bonus points for a smile.)
- Show some passion. A LinkedIn profile is more than a resume. You can tell a story and be bold. Win points with employers for your enthusiasm about the job you want. For example: you might begin your Summary with “I’m a budding journalist who can hit the ground running in a newsroom.”
- Include keywords. Use keywords and phrases recruiters search for. Find examples from job descriptions you’re going after, or profiles of people who have the jobs you want, and pepper them throughout your Summary and Skills & Expertise sections.
- Be smart about adding sections. Complete the profile sections designed just for students, such as Courses (for anything related to your desired industry), Volunteer Experience & Causes (to help round you out), Projects, Languages, Certifications, Organizations, and more.
- Mention the most relevant experience. The Experience section can and should include internships, extracurriculars, part-time positions, and volunteer work. But it’s okay to leave off experiences you’re no longer interested in or don’t fit with your career goals.
- Ask for recommendations and endorsements. Request recommendations from bosses or teachers. Ask them to mention specific qualities and skills that align to your career goals. Even a short recommendation is better than nothing! Any of your connections can now also endorse your skills for jobs you want.
- Join LinkedIn Groups that line up with your goals. Group memberships appear on your profile, so even if you don’t have experience, they show you’re credible and are actively building a network in your desired field. Start by searching the Groups Directory to find groups that interest you.
- Check your work. As a final step, ask a career counselor, friend, or family member to review your profile. Ask if your reviewer can describe your goals just by looking at your profile. If the answer is no, then go back to the top of this list and start making some revisions!
Start creating, editing, and updating at www.linkedin.com.