Make a LinkedIn Profile
Otherwise known as the professional social media site, LinkedIn is a 575 million community with more than 260 million monthly active users. Naturally, companies use this massive talent pool in their talent search today, with over 26 million companies and 15 million active job listings. And, of those people on LinkedIn every day, this study estimates that 40 million members are in decision-making positions.
Just to round it all off, LinkedIn is the most-used social media platform amongst Fortune 500 companies, which are entities that host some of the best internship programs in the entire world. Therefore, being on LinkedIn is in your best interest, especially if you are hunting down the right internship before or after you graduate.
LinkedIn makes it easy to showcase your talents, skills, experience, education, likes, and interests in an organized and easy-to-read way. And let’s be honest, we all know that employers are going to check out your social media before they give you this internship. In fact, 70% of employers snoop social media accounts ahead of hiring decisions. If they’re going to look, you might as well give them something to check out that is related to your professional development as an individual.
The good news is: LinkedIn is completely free and easy to use.
Let’s look at some LinkedIn tips that will help you set up an effective profile:
No, LinkedIn is not about good looks or nice clothes; it’s about your professional skills. However, when someone lands on a LinkedIn profile, the first thing they see is your profile photo, and your cover photo. If you want people to take you seriously, this is the place to show it.
For your profile photo, upload a professional headshot of yourself. This is not the place to use a picture from your most recent trip to a beach.
The cover photo is a way for you to express your personality, while keeping it appropriate. If you are an accountant, maybe have a professional photo taken of you at a desk with clients. If you are a graphic designer, consider a banner that showcases three of your designs in a clever way.
The final opportunity to showcase imagery is with the articles you can upload to your profile. I will touch on this below.
2. About Me:
This is the most-read portion of your LinkedIn profile. In 4-5 paragraphs, this is where you sum up your achievements, goals, and pursuits for people to read. It’s a good idea to start out in the present, stating your name, your titles now, and what your skills entail. In subsequent paragraphs, mention jobs you have completed, or will complete, followed by awards, certifications, and notable project achievements. Lastly, don’t forget to be a human and include a paragraph about your hobbies, likes, and dislikes outside of corporate America.
3. Linked Work:
This appears above the articles section. Linked work are tiny, image-based buttons that bring people to published articles, featured pieces on you, etc. elsewhere on the Internet. I highly recommend opening a blog, or having at least one blog that you wrote somewhere, linked to your profile. If you were highlighted in an article or newspaper story, you can link that here. Basically, if you are not in a the news highlight anywhere, be proactive, and write a few of your own articles, submit them, and link them here. This is where you will stand apart from the competition.
Articles have become hugely important on LinkedIn. They prefer that you write your thought-pieces directly on their site, which is why they place massive traction on your original LinkedIn articles. On the home page, you can simply click “Write Article” at the top of the feed. You will be prompted to add a photo, title, and text body. It is highly recommended that you write at least 3 articles, developed with thought-out information, stats, and data. Be sure to use eye-catching photos with the articles, preferably of you, so that employers can view some additional imagery content.
If you don’t know what to write, check out other people in your industry and use their examples as a starting point. If you are a terrible writer, there are affordable copywriters on sites like Fiverr.com that will provide you with a piece you can upload as yourself.
Be sure to take your time and carefully fill out each company/job you have held thus far in your life. If you are looking for an internship, chances are, you have not had many jobs in your life. Be thorough and spellcheck all of your writing so you look completely professional.
6. Education & Certifications:
If you have won any awards at college, do not forget to input them into your LinkedIn profile, along with the status of your education. Lastly, be sure to add in any volunteer experience. If you do not have any, now is probably a good time to go out there and earn some.
Be sure to have your friends on LinkedIn endorse your skills, as well as write recommendations on your behalf. All of this is just an added boost if something is crawling your LinkedIn profile with a magnifying glass.
You get to round it all off with your personal interests, etc. As I have mentioned a few times, don’t forget to look like a human being! Companies want to think they are hiring talent that is going to blend with the company cultural comfortably.
If you feel like LinkedIn is a foreign language to you, simply do what you should always do… your homework! Check out dozens of profiles. See what other people are saying, what kinds of articles they are writing, where they are posting them, etc. This will be industry-specific, which is why you want to stalk other people doing exactly what you are doing, or plan to do. With enough exposure, you should be able to fill out a perfect LinkedIn profile.
Lastly, keep it updated. It always looks good to seem active and “on top” of your professional future. Try and write an article once per month, and keep the dates on your experiences relevant. It makes you look more organized and motivated for the future.