Creating a Great LinkedIn Profile! for the College Graduate
Do you think it’s impossible to have a great LinkedIn profile when you’re just fresh out of school? Think again! Even though you may be a new College Grad without much experience, your profile can still be a shining example of what you have to offer.
There’s a lot of competition out there for new grads. That can make your job search daunting. It also gets frustrating when you get caught in the never-ending cycle of needing experience for the career you’re embarking on, but not getting the experience because no one will hire you without it! Fear not, there are ways to show a future employer what you can do for them, regardless of your experience or lack thereof.
First of all, consider your online representation. If a friend of a friend can find the photos of you partying all night after graduation, so can your future boss. Take some time and search yourself out as though you were a prospective employer. Find things that make you question whether you’d be the right person for the job? Fix up your image! You’re not in school anymore – so polish up your web based appearance to look like the young professional you aspire to be!
LinkedIn is one of the best places to get started. This is where your networking kicks into high gear. Let’s start with your profile photo. Choose a picture that can project you into the business role you’re seeking. Just finished law school? Don’t use a photo of you waterskiing at Uncle Bob’s cottage last summer! Make sure your face is clearly visible, you have a natural smile and whatever you do, pick a photo where you’re the only person in it. Nothing looks worse than a profile pic of you and and half of someone else’s face. Put a little thought and effort into it. Remember, you want to show from the beginning a confident and reliable image of what you can do for your future employer.
I highly recommend reading “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport and “The Start Up of You” by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha to get a better idea of how to strategize your attack of redefining yourself post grad introducing the new you to the professional world.
So which sections on your profile are most important to complete? Well, at zenPeak, we believe it all starts with a great resume.
We recommend a functional style resume (http://zenpeak.com/3-second-resume/) to get an employer really excited about what you can do for them. Once you’ve updated and revised your resume to highlight your skills and abilities, and backed up your bragging rights under your work and/or volunteer experience, it’s time to fine tune (and shorten!) all this info into your LinkedIn profile.
Make sure you enter your field of expertise or industry you’re trying to break into. List any degrees/diplomas you have received as well as the schools you went to. You never know who may be looking for you. State the area where you’re from or looking to work in. Fill in your experience as best you can. If you don’t really have any, make sure you write a summary of your education and any volunteer work you may have done that is applicable. If you have a website that highlights your skills and abilities make sure to add that as well. Last but not least, make sure there are no typos in your profile. It’s hard to claim you pay attention to detail if you have spelling and grammatical errors throughout your information. Be accessible and update your information as it changes. Join groups of like minded professionals and peers and increase your connections. Networking is crucial to your success. If no one knows you’re out there and ready for your next challenge how can you expect to be found?
I found a few great profile examples on LinkedIn. Take a look at these good examples:
Don’t worry if no one has endorsed you for skills or expertise. What’s important is having a clear message of what you can do for a company, and how you can bring continued success to an organization.