I’m personally an advocate for LinkedIn and it’s not just because I work at the Office of Career and Professional Development. For me, LinkedIn has not only been a platform to like and share posts, but it has also been a useful tool. It’s kind of like your professional Facebook, where it isn’t too weird to add acquaintances and still a place to flex on what you’ve been up to. Instead of posting pictures of your vacation or newest beau, you’re sharing your new internship/job or how you’ve gotten one (academic) degree hotter.
Here are some reasons to have a LinkedIn account:
Fast Fact! LinkedIn lets you network with alumni, current students, and other industry professionals
- It is an extension of your resume (and an online portfolio!)
- You have the opportunity to learn new skills with LinkedIn Learning (and add to your profile)
- You can receive the latest updates on industries you are interested in
- Get noticed by recruiters for jobs/internships
- You will have access to job and internship opportunities
- Reconnect with individuals
- Engage in discussions within groups
Reminder: It is important to approach LinkedIn similarly to how you approach the rest of your social media: think about the purpose, fill in the steps to complete your profile, and then engage.
These are just some of the many reasons to create one, and it is easier than you may think. From a generation that has grown up with technology, it surprises me to see many peers get flustered when creating a LinkedIn profile. I have seen such beautiful, aesthetic, creative Instagrams and think the same efforts can be put into working on a professional LinkedIn!
When making and updating your LinkedIn, keep in mind:
- How you want to be perceived
- What message/theme you want to portray
- The content you intend to share
- How you will interact with others on the platform
- Industry standards and expectations
To break down completing your LinkedIn profile, here are some steps to follow:
1. Create an account using your Chapman or personal (professional) email
2. Upload a professional headshot (we will offer professional headshots when we’re back on campus!)
3. Customize the URL for your profile
Create a cleaner URL without all the fussy numbers and letters so that people can easily find you!
4. Create a headline unique to you
Tip: Edit on your phone to use more characters!
Make sure to create one that sets you apart from other Chapman students. There are thousands of “Student at Chapman University,” so use your headline to capture people’s attention. Having keywords in your headline will help the LinkedIn algorithm show your profile to recruiters who are looking for specific words as well!
5. Write your ‘About’ section
The ‘about’ section is the place to communicate who you are, so think about how your ‘personal brand’ will come through as you’re crafting this part. This section should be no more than 1-2 paragraphs. Feel free to write in the first or third person, and even let your personality shine through it. Just make sure that you’re keeping it professional! In terms of content, some information you may want to include are: who you are, your academic background, the relevant experience you have to the industry you’re interested in, any short or long-term goals, your purpose or passion, and what path you’re looking to pursue.
6. Fill out the ‘experience’ section with everything that is on your resume
Feel free to add some other details and experiences that may not have fit on your resume. Your LinkedIn is an extension of your resume, so take advantage of it! You can also upload examples of your work like projects, articles, art/design work, short films, etc., but make sure that you are giving credit where due and add your own watermark/other elements to prevent others from using it as their own.
7. Complete the education section
LinkedIn will place your education section after your experience section (unlike your resume if you are a current undergraduate). In this section, you can add any research, relevant coursework, projects, thesis, etc. you have done.
8. Add your skills
List skills that are relevant to the industry you want to be in. Unlike your resume, which only has technical skills, your LinkedIn can list both technical and interpersonal skills! You can rearrange them in a way that your LinkedIn will highlight the ones you prefer to show up first. You may notice that the skills section also says ‘endorsements.’ Endorsements are how your connections can vouch for your skills. The proper etiquette is to endorse someone back if they endorse you.
9. Fill in your accomplishments
List courses, organizations, honors and awards, languages, and projects in this section.
10. Connect with people, expand your network!
So who should you be connecting with? You should connect with people you know, people you have a mutual connection with, or people who work in the industry you’re (interested) in. You can send a quick message when making new connections to introduce (or re-introduce) yourself. The more people you connect with, the more access you have to other people. Next to names, you may see “1st Degree, 2nd Degree, or 3rd Degree.” Check out the diagram above to understand what they mean!
11. Post, share and engage on LinkedIn
12. Explore other parts of the platform like joining groups, finding jobs, learning new skills via LinkedIn learning, etc.
You can join groups relevant to the industry you’re (interested) in, search for opportunities using the job function, and build on your skills using LinkedIn Learning! LinkedIn Learning has many skills in various industries for you to get certified in.
13. Get feedback from a Career Educator, Career Advisor, or Peer Advisor by making an appointment on Handshake!
Other tips to keep in mind:
Quick Tip! Use the alumni tool on Chapman’s page to network with others. You can get job/career ideas, conduct informational interviews, and connect with them on the platform!
- Like when endorsing skills, it is also correct etiquette to give back a recommendation when receiving one
- Include relevant hashtags and mention organizations/people accordingly to increase views on your posts
- Add a picture or video to your post to increase interest
- Follow companies you’re applying to (some recruiters check to see if you are!)
- Include your LinkedIn URL on your resume once it is completed
- Update your profile regularly, make sure everything stays current
All this, and more, are covered in the LinkedIn workshops and appointments the Office of Career and Professional Development offers! With so many aspects to the platform, I found it helpful to have someone guide me on filling out all the details. It has been worth it creating a LinkedIn profile because of the networking opportunities I have. LinkedIn has helped me reconnect with individuals and even get an internship offer!