More Suggestions for Using LinkedIn

On 9/24, a professional recruiter visited my class to talk with students about a variety of topics relevant to the job search. She also provided them with some handouts, and I’m going to use those handouts as the basis for a few of my posts.

The first one I want to talk about is an article by Tracy Gold that was taken from Social Media Today. It provides suggestions for how new graduates can use LinkedIn effectively. In my book, Tip 24 and Appendix F are devoted to this topic, but Ms. Gold also gives some good advice. She provides 11 suggestions, and I’ll let you check most of them out yourself, but I do want to talk in more detail about a few of them.

When you create your LinkedIn profile, the field immediately below your name is your “professional headline.” For most people, that’s where they put their job title. The first suggestion from Gold helps you figure out what do put in your headline when you don’t have a job yet. She suggests that you “use an aspirational headline.” What that means is that you can use this field to tell people what you want to do, not to say that you’re still a student or a recent college graduate. (I’ve heard some conflicting advice on this one, with some career counselors suggesting that you use your field of study followed by “student,” such as, “Public Relations Student.”) Gold suggests adding the word “aspiring” to the job title you hope to have for your first job. If you’re in a professional program—such as accounting, teaching or engineering—which carries some type of job expectation or certification, it’s okay to put that profession (i.e., accountant, teacher, electrical engineer) in your headline, even if you don’t have that job yet.

Another piece of advice from Gold pertains to the photo you put on your profile.  As I suggest in Tip 35 (Clean up your act—your virtual act), you want to make sure that you use a picture that shows you as a professional. Typically, this will be a head & shoulders shot of you in business or business casual attire. And there won’t be anyone else in the picture. As much as you love your significant other or your dog or your child, their photos do not belong on your LinkedIn Profile.

The third suggestion I want to talk about is to ask someone to proofread your profile. It is very difficult to see your own mistakes, and anything that is going to be shared needs to be perfect, so ask a friend or relative to read over your profile. And in case you think this is just me telling you what to do, it’s also what I do. I have a trusted friend read everything I plan to post to this blog before you ever see it!