by ALEJANDRO REYES VEGA, CSU Public Relations Assistant
LinkedIn is now more powerful than ever with the ever-growing importance of the virtual presence. This is what Keely Branstad from the Carrier Development Center has to suggest that can help you network and grow professionally.
- How can students stand out on LinkedIn?
The best way to stand out on LinkedIn is through your profile. Do you have a professional headshot as your profile picture? Is your summary written well and provides a complete overview of work experience and skills you have? You also want to make sure your profile is up-to-date. Profiles with no photo and out-of-date information may look like an inactive page. Another feature LinkedIn has is the ability to customize a URL. This is a great way to make a URL that is concise, neat, and easy to remember and give to others. By creating a customized URL, it looks professional and you can easily add it to a business card or your email signature. Lastly, LinkedIn has a tool that allows you to see your profile strength. This tool tells you how well your profile is completed compared to others using the platform. It can help you improve on weaknesses of your profile and gives you tips on how to create a stronger profile and reach “All Star” status. The Career Development Center offers LinkedIn Profile Review appointments and can offer you feedback to strengthen your LinkedIn presence.
While your profile is an important aspect of LinkedIn, connecting, and engaging with others is also important. LinkedIn has features that allow you to join groups and follow pages of professional interests. This allows you to engage with people that are interested in the same topics as you and allow you to have meaningful conversations, meet new people, and share new ideas. It’s an easy way to connect with other professionals and get your name out there!
- How can I make my resume stand out?
The best way to make your resume stand out is by having a consistent document that is easy to read and understand. Research has shown that employers spend an average of six seconds looking at a resume, so you want to do everything in your power to make it easy to read and navigate. Formatting is an easy way to make your resume easy to read quickly and the use of headers can help draw attention to certain parts of your resume that employers are most interested in. Once you have the employer’s attention, you want to make sure your bullet points are well thought out that talk about skills, tasks, and relate it to the job description. This allows employers to see the skills that you utilize in your current job role and help them see how you could incorporate those skills for them. Many students think that the best way to make their resume stand out is to make it “flashy” or creative with colors and different fonts, but in the end, it ends up being distracting, hard-to-read, and drawing attention away from your experience and skills. Our Job Search Handbook can be found on our Career Development Center website and includes a resume checklist as well as other tips to make your resume stand out!
- What are some of the common mistakes that students do on LinkedIn/Resumes?
A common mistake that students can make on their LinkedIn profile is not highlighting their experiences and skills. When organizations are looking at your profile, they want to know what you can bring to their organization. If your profile doesn’t say anything about the work experiences that you’ve had and skills you’ve utilized in the experience, then they aren’t learning anything new about you and do not see how you can benefit them. Similarly, another mistake is not thinking about who your target market is. You want employers to know that you are interested in their organization and industry, so by tuning your profile to your target market it will let employers have a better idea of what industry experience you are looking for. You can focus your target market through groups and organizations you are following as well as including it in your headline and summary.
Another mistake that students make is sending connection requests without personalizing it. If you don’t personally know the individual you are sending a connection to, you’ll want to let them know why you are interested in connecting. Try not to send the default message and personalize it by telling them aspects of their profile that made you want to connect. It could be as easy as saying that you are interested in a job in the XYZ industry and would love to know more about the work they do within the industry. This will increase your odds that they’ll connect with you as well as decrease the odds that they report your profile. If you have too many reports, your account could be restricted or deleted. You also want to be wary of invitations that you accept. By having multiple spam connections it can ruin the credibility of your account. Quality connections are better than quantity.
- What is the proper way to use LinkedIn/portray oneself?
LinkedIn is a great way to network with recruiters and other professionals. The networking/connection aspect is a great way for you to conduct informational interviews with professionals that are in a job role, industry, or specific organization that you are interested in. By having a complete profile with details about your job qualifications, employment history, education, skills, experience, and professional photos with an active history of sharing, liking, and commenting on other content will make you stand out on the platform.
LinkedIn also has a great professional development aspect to it with LinkedIn Learning. Every MNSU student has access to LinkedIn Learning by logging into D2L with their StarID and password. From topics ranging from career planning and development to developing skills like communication, listening, and time management; there are many ways to keep up-to-date on professional development topics that will make you a well-rounded candidate. The platform also has training in software and industry-specific skills.
While LinkedIn is a great way to promote one’s professional image, it is important not to forget about how your image is portrayed on other social media accounts you use. In the age of technology, employers can search for you and your online presence easily. Before a job search, clean your social media of any unflattering words or images that don’t support your professional brand. An easy way to see how employers would see your online presence is to go a quick Google search and Google Image search of your name.
The pandemic has made us more reliable on our virtual presence. It is important to have a professional profile that can help you connect with others and find opportunities.