For some students, creating a LinkedIn profile is a great rite of passage into the professional world. It signifies readiness to embrace an exciting career ahead. For others, creating a LinkedIn profile is merely an assignment that was completed during a career course and soon forgotten about after receiving a grade. Whatever your reason for having a LinkedIn presence, give your profile the love and attention it deserves.
Without a doubt, employers and graduate admissions panels leverage LinkedIn to further vet applicants. Yes, you spent a lot of time tailoring your application materials, which you think would suffice. However, we’ve learned from campus recruiters that sometimes it is LinkedIn that is more commonly used to select their pool of candidates to interview.
“LinkedIn is the students first opportunity to present themselves to the business world. I want to see how seriously they take that. It’s a chance to tell your story without the constraints of the university recruiting sites. I also look to see if they have attached any work they’re proud of. I don’t use it to make the final decision, but I always look at it before the interview.” William West, Regatta Travel
Now that you understand that employers REALLY DO utilize LinkedIn during the hiring process, let’s identify some tips and tricks to keep LinkedIn on your radar.
1 Update your resume and LinkedIn profile in tandem
Whether you are a job seeker or not, keeping a current resume is important. Opportunities arise at the most unpredictable times, and you don’t want the added stress of updating a resume when they do. Every time the idea strikes you update your resume, visit your LinkedIn profile, and make the same additions. Your online profile is likely to be seen more which may bring about unexpected opportunities.
2 Become a frequent visitor of LinkedIn
The more frequently you are on the platform, the more likely you are to revisit your profile and naturally make some additions. Make it point to visit LinkedIn weekly. While doing so, you might discover something about your profession, celebrate the promotion of colleague, or connect with someone you recently met. While you’re at it, add new skills you have developed, a certification you obtained, or a work project recently completed. According to Career Expert, Lindsey Pollak, you should toot your own horn – especially when it comes to your work. You can’t rely on anyone else to make your case for you.
3 Update your LinkedIn profile photo and tagline regularly
When you created your LinkedIn profile, chances are your first photo was cropped from a wedding you attended or a high school graduation headshot. This was fine for the first year, but it is time to update. Many employers host photographers to take employee headshots for website and publication purposes. Take advantage of such opportunities as they present. It’s always good practice to have a current professional photo and a catchy tagline. Update your LinkedIn profile photo each time a new photo is taken. When you’re 40, your headshot shouldn’t be you at 24. A simple photo and tagline update goes a long way.
4 Post and engage on LinkedIn
In 3,000 characters, the limit for a LinkedIn post, a lot can be said. Take the time to announce news about your company, to share attendance at a professional conference, or to promote an interesting article. Posting on LinkedIn helps maintain your network and stay connected to people you may not encounter regularly. If posting isn’t your favorite activity, take time to comment on posts others have made. Your recent activity shows up on your LinkedIn profile and demonstrates to your visitors your professional commitment.
Whether highly active on LinkedIn or more of a passive user, at the very minimum make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects where you are in your present career. You may be quite content in your current profession and not actively pursuing new career opportunities. If nothing else, your IU classmates, previous faculty, and those of us at Career Services are vastly interested in your career outcome and want to know where your IU education led you.