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When LinkedIn was founded in 2002, it was seen as a way of connecting the business world. The site primarily featured job listings and company subscriptions for about four years. Since then, it has gradually become a sort of Facebook for professionals. It’s the first medium that people look at when meeting a colleague, searching for a job, or even before an interview.
As noted by LinkedIn research, 94% of recruiters and hiring managers use applicants’ LinkedIn pages to vet them before interviews. With this tool becoming such an integral part of the job search process, it’s immensely important for young professionals to have a LinkedIn and know how to use it. Although initially daunting, a completed profile reaps enormous benefits. To ensure your page stands out from the rest, consider using these recommendations:
LinkedIn profiles should always be up-to-date in the event that a potential employer checks your profile before an interview or, in somes cases, searches your experience to offer you a job. LinkedIn’s “advanced search” feature allows recruiters to search candidates’ profiles based on location, industry, keywords, and more. This means that an employer can search candidates with skills like “excel proficiency” or “news writing” experience. Update your LinkedIn profile at least once every six months to ensure your skills and jobs current to show potential employers’ the most recent, relevant experience.
Show Your Personality
The “summary” is a great place to not only explain your accomplishments and current occupation, but it’s also an ideal platform to summarize who you are as a person. Within my summary, I initially explain that I’m a senior at Penn State who is interested in the digital marketing field. Then, I get more personal by revealing, “Positivity, optimism, and communication are my key strengths (…) and I also have passions for travel and volunteer work.” These details give recruiters a deeper look into who I am and what I value.
Write Thorough Descriptions
Within the “experience” section of LinkedIn, users are able to write brief job descriptions of their roles and the work they did. Usually kept to 4-6 sentences, these overviews should highlight how you added value to that employer and company. Writing a literal day-to-day list of tasks is mundane and uninteresting. For example, within my previous internship description I could have written, “Made training materials for sales associates.” Instead, I conveyed the value of my work by saying, “Each task I handle enables sales personnel to close deals more frequently and effectively, and even via social sites, such as, LinkedIn and Twitter.” By explaining that my work helped sales associates to close deals, I’m effectively explaining how I helped add monetary value to the company. Also, adding descriptive action verbs to job descriptions adds detail and sounds much more interesting than repeating the overused verbs: worked, did, planned, etc.)
Add Your Work
Whether it’s a blog post, case competition, or team project, adding these elements of dynamic media enhances your profile tremendously. This an easy, concise way of showing employers what you did without writing a long-winded description to explain it. Within “experience” hovering your mouse over the square with a plus sign allows users to add links, videos, and more to each job description. Within my HVC experience, I add my blog posts. To explain THON more concisely, I added videos from Penn State THON’s YouTube page. Additionally, users can add “projects” they worked on with brief descriptions, graphics, and names of team members.
More than ever employers are using social media to research potential employees. While Facebook and Twitter are ways for recruiters to ensure that candidates are wholesome and appropriate, LinkedIn is really the only professional media that conveys value. It’s an interactive version of your resume that also incorporates your work and personality. When utilized properly, LinkedIn demonstrates how you would be a vital asset to a company. With graduation rapidly approaching for some, it’s incredibly important that we demonstrate our professional value over other job candidates.