How To Build Your LinkedIn Profile [Video]
Last updated May 22, 2020
Where do recruiters look for potential employees? Where do job seekers build their networks to help them find great jobs? LinkedIn is the place. Think of LinkedIn as the social network for working professionals at all levels - even for you, early in your career! And like any good social network, it starts with having a great profile and connecting with people.
Get the basics right
- First, you need a valid and appropriate email (no slang or nicknames, ideally just your full name).
- And second, you need a professional photo. This should be a headshot (shoulders and head only), with a minimum pixel count of 200x200, and you should look professional (professional clothes, no props or unusual backdrops). Smile, too, it makes you look approachable.
Add in the details of your education
- Include the school you currently attend and past schools (only high schools, colleges, and trade schools - no middle schools).
- If you have a major or specific area of focus, include that. List out any classes that are relevant to jobs you are interested in. And if you have a strong GPA, include that.
- Finally, if you are a member of a sports team, a club, or any other extracurricular activities - especially if you have had a leadership role - include each of those as well. Showing employers that you are involved in a variety of activities demonstrates organizational skills, responsibility, and leadership.
Include all of your work experience, paid and volunteer
- This section should reflect any work experience that you have had. This can include formal jobs, internships, summer jobs, volunteer gigs, babysitting, or even helping out an elderly relative (if you do it regularly).
- For each experience that you list, include a description of what you did, what your responsibilities were, the time period you did/do it, and any specific skills it required of you.
Detail out your skills
- Many employers look for employee candidates with specific skills - say customer service, cashier, driving, MS Office Proficiency, etc. The Skills section of LinkedIn is your opportunity to include as many of the skills you have that are relevant to the jobs you want.
- Start by looking at three job descriptions for jobs you are interested in and look at the requirements for each job, writing down all of the skills that you have for each job.
- Add those skills to your LinkedIn profile - these become search keywords for employers and will help you stand out.
- Remember that your education and experience should also show where and how you acquired your skills.
Encapsulate your greatness with a headline and summary
- The final piece is to look at your whole story and summarize it. First with a headline - like “Early career, motivated learner looking for opportunities in retail” or “Customer-focused, early career young person looking to shine in a fast-paced environment.” You want to include the stage in your work trajectory, something about a key skill or attribute you bring, and hint at what you are looking for. All three things in a tight headline or phrase!
- And if you want to include a longer summary after that, you can - but that is not required. The longer summary would further explain your headline, focusing on the same three categories: where you are in your career, what makes you a compelling candidate, and what you are looking for.