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Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

First step - create a profile that highlights your strengths

As a starting point, the first things you want to tend to are: name, photo, headline, summary, education, experience, and contact info. LinkedIn makes it simple for you by providing a resource (help.linkedin.com) for what each section of the profile should contain. You can add, change, or remove information on your profile. Here is a great article with more information too.

Before you edit, click the toggle button so you do not inform your network about all your minor changes.

For most items:
  • Move your cursor over Me at the top of your homepage and select the pencil icon to edit each section.
  • Hover your cursor over any section you’d like to edit and it will become editable.
  • Move your cursor to Edit, make your changes, and save.

Profile Sections

Name

First, last, and former (maiden) names.

Photo

Add a professional-looking headshot, but make sure you look friendly and approachable too.

Headline

This information will default to your current job title. Change it to reflect how you want to communicate your professional identity, or opportunities you seek. Your job may be in customer service at Target, but if you are a Management student, “IT Internship Candidate” is a better choice.

Location

Include the location where you will be seeking opportunities or where you live.

Industry

What is your target industry? Pick the one that is the closest to your current goals.

Contact Info

Add your preferred contact information, which can include your email and phone (only visible to connections), as well as your Twitter handle and websites.

URL

Click Me, then View Profile, then look on the right for Edit Your Public Profile. On the next page, also on the right, click the pencil icon next to your URL. Customize it to www.linkedin.com/in/first-last. Add your new URL to your resume contact information if you want employers to easily find your LinkedIn information.

Summary

Information about your accomplishments and goals. If you are just beginning your career journey, this may be tough to summarize. As you acquire more experience and self-knowledge, this is a valuable section to communicate your professional identity.

Samples of your work

You may add samples to your Summary that showcase your skills, making your LinkedIn profile much like a professional portfolio. You can add a link or upload a file (as long as it’s not proprietary to your employer). Include writing samples, coding samples, presentations, spreadsheets, etc.

Education

Schools attended, majors and degrees, and other educational information. As in your resume, include information that highlights your strengths. Include study abroad, high GPA, Dean’s list awards, etc. High school is typically not appropriate unless you are a freshman or perhaps a sophomore.

Courses

Adding related coursework can help you support the importance of your education.

Projects

Showcase the projects you've worked on, particularly capstone or thesis projects, and especially if they are evidence of skills you have listed in your Skills section.

Experience

Positions and experiences, including jobs, volunteering, military, and student activities or clubs. The information here will be similar to your resume, and you can cut and paste from it.

Skills & Expertise

A list of relevant skills will help others to understand your strengths and improve your chances of being found when employers search for those skills. You can add up to 50 skills – look at other student and young professional Profiles in your field to get ideas of skills to add.

Recommendations

You can request recommendations from contacts and display them on your profile.

Certifications

Certifications, licensures, or clearances you've attained.

Honors & Awards

Show off your hard-earned awards.

Languages

Languages you understand or speak.

Organizations

List the organizations or associations you belong to. Purchasing student memberships to professional organizations is a great idea, and can be inexpensive.

Patents

Any patents you've applied for or received.

Publications

Publications that have featured your work.

Test Scores

List your scores on tests to highlight high achievement.

Volunteering & Causes

Organizations you support, and causes you care about.

Additional Information

There is space for interests, personal details like your birthday or marital status (not recommended), and advice for people who want to contact you.

Next, join groups

You can search for groups using the search bar, and also look at others’ profiles to see what groups they are in. Look for groups related to Oregon Tech, to your major or profession, and for professionals based in your target location. Groups are a wonderful resource for learning about your field – check out the discussions that happen, and participate too.

Then, begin to create a network

Once you’ve created a strong profile, you can begin to invite people to connect. Don’t worry about getting your Profile perfected before you connect, as you’ll be editing it frequently. Your network can include fellow students, friends, family, friends of family, relatives of friends, professors, co-workers, and others. A professional network does not mean only people who are in your major or field. You never know who people are connected to now, or who they might be connected to in the future. 

When reaching out to connect with others, it is ESSENTIAL that you are polite, professional, and create a customized invitation rather than use the default generic invite. Here is an example:

Hello Jim,
It was a pleasure meeting you at the party on Saturday. I enjoyed hearing about your experiences at XYZ company, and I hope you will consider joining my professional network.
Sincerely,
Michael Rosas

Potential connections may not be interested in joining your network, but there is no harm in asking as long as you are professional.

Ask for recommendations, and write them for others if you are able

To support your communication of yourself as an educated, accomplished, and well-rounded emerging professional, it helps to have reputable people verify in a detailed way that you actually can do what you say you can do. Therefore, it’s helpful to get recommendations from people within your LinkedIn network so that employers can use them as a first-round reference check when skimming through your profile. Get your former employers, colleagues, professors, and/or clients to put in a good word in for you. When you ask them, you can remind them of your accomplishments in class or on the job, which may make their job easier.

Endorse others for skills (but only if you know they have them)

Is your classmate great at PowerPoint? Endorse her. Is your supervisor at your job excellent at training? Endorse him. You get the idea. Others will do the same for you. Skill endorsements do not carry the same importance as recommendations, but they help, especially when you are just getting started.

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