By Camile Castilho Fontelles, PhD Post-Doctoral Fellow
LinkedIn is one of the most popular professional networking tools of the present time. Even though the platform was launched in 2003, more than a few people are still unsure of its efficacy or are uncomfortable using it. Like it or not, the future is here and if you are looking for a new job within your current field or new career opportunities, you will need to a good LinkedIn profile.
To help students create stronger profiles, Melissa Reitkopp, a career strategist from Reitkopp Recruiting/Career Compass came to Georgetown University to enlighten us. Reitkopp has a deep understanding of what companies are looking for in a candidate and although resumes are still used when applying for a position, employers are always looking for candidates with strong LinkedIn profiles. Additionally, LinkedIn can be an essential tool to get informational interviews and broad your ideas on distinct job areas.
LinkedIn Page Recommendations
Banner: Yes, the most ignored portion of LinkedIn will be our first topic. Why? Because adding a good banner shows that you care about your page. The banner could be an image related to your field of expertise or to a project that you are currently working in. Adding a nice banner will get the message that you are attentive to details, which is always a good quality to have.
Profile picture: Having a professional headshot is very important. Do not cut your face from a larger picture or use bad quality images. Try to use a high-quality portrait focused on your face, in a neutral background. It is advised to use a suit and have a smile on your face.
Headline: When thinking about your headline try to include words that really sum up your experience and responsibilities. These key words could be used by companies to find new candidates.
Summary: Writing a good summary is very important. It should not be too succinct, since you will need to properly explain who you are, your education, professional background and interests. However, it should not be too extensive, since people will have access to your entire professional history down the road. It is always helpful to divide it into paragraphs and add key-words that best fit your experience and abilities. You may add relevant links to your summary, such as interviews or lectures that you gave and that really adds up to your description. If you are also active on your twitter profile you may also add you twitter address to your summary. Overall it is important to avoid grammatical errors and to use buzzwords so that companies can find your profile.
Articles and Activities: Recruiters are interested in seeing how active you are on LinkedIn. If you like to write, you could write an article about an interesting topic within your area of expertise. However, you could also comment, like or share articles or overall publications that may be of interest to people within your field. Thus, you can keep your name active on peoples’ minds, as well as expand your network.
Experience: In this section you should give as many details as you can. First, when adding to your profile which companies you worked for, make sure that the companies’ logos are showing. Again, this small gesture shows recruiters that you are attentive to details and that you care about your profile. Besides adding your job titles, be sure to include accurate about dates and a brief explanation of what were your main responsibilities and achievements within that position. If you had several positions inside the same company, break them down, describe each position, showing your growth inside that company. Let the reader know which positions you had, the period in which you worked there and the overall job description. If any activity performed by you was translated into publications, interviews or any kind of media, be sure to add that to the description as well.
Education: Pictures matter! Again, be sure that the universities or educational institutions’ logos are showing in your profile. Sometime a recruiter may have the same alma mater as you, and that can create an instant bond between the two of you. Be accurate when writing about your degree and time spent within the institution, as well as any major achievement.
Recommendations: When a recruiter is looking at your profile they are going to look at the recommendations and endorsements’ section. Therefore, it is advised that you request co-workers to provide them. Nothing says that you are a team player and committed to your job more than those few words from people that actually worked with you.
Achievements: If you published any papers, won any awards, or have any relevant certificate, this is the place to include them. Similar to what you should do in the other sections, try to be accurate and brief, as well as to add any visual aid.
Interests: Many people disregard the importance of this section. However, here you may show a little bit more about yourself and also connect to other people.
Overall, it is worth spending some time writing your profile and adding as much detail to it as you can. Don’t forget the importance of visual aid, like university logos and high quality photos. Try to avoid any grammatical errors and keep the information up to date. And finally, make use of this tool! It is a remarkable way of connecting with people and finding more about job postings and new career paths.
By Camile Castilho Fontelles, PhD Dr. Camile Castilho Fontelles is a post-doctoral fellow at Georgetown University. She has a bachelor degree in Biological Sciences and a PhD in Sciences. Born in Brazil, she is a bookworm. Additionally she is passionate about science communication and loves to share her knowledge.
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