You may have heard your teacher warn “these days, companies know whether or not you’ll get hired before you even interview because they see your social media accounts!” Well…guess what? They’re absolutely right. Before you start deleting all of your tweets, take a second to get acquainted with…on second thought, delete your tweets first.
Now that you’ve exonerated your social media, it’s time to turn it into a career asset with LinkedIn: a social network site for employers and job applicants. It’s not uncommon for companies to look for their applicants on LinkedIn before interviews. You can even apply for positions directly from the site!
It’s important to effectively build a LinkedIn earlier to build your virtual network. If you have a bigger LinkedIn network, you will become more relevant in employer searches, and your LinkedIn will be a more potent tool in the job market later on.
How do you build a viable LinkedIn profile? Here are some tips.
1. Everything should be professional. If it’s questionable, it’s unquestionably a terrible thing to put on your profile!
LinkedIn is technically social media, but it’s strictly business. This means your profile picture should be a professional photo (just you looking sharp with nothing else going on). It also means you shouldn’t post anything that isn’t academically or professionally relevant. Seriously, who on LinkedIn wants to see your Fortnite W? Unforgivable.
2. Keep everything up to date.
Your LinkedIn profile should basically be a reiteration of your resume-only with a personable twist of sorts. Once you’ve created your profile, it’s important to update your accomplishments regularly especially if you are a younger student. In other words, if an employer is looking at two teenagers on LinkedIn, they’re probably going to prefer the one who simply has a more up to date resume because the two profiles would be almost indistinguishable otherwise (sorry, you probably have very little serious work experience at this point.)
3. The devil’s in the details.
Aside from having recent, relevant information, the most important LinkedIn gamechanger is to have the best detailed information possible. I use the term best because there’s a difference between having a lot of personal details and having the right kind of details on your page. Here’s a list of “sprinkles” that you can add to your profile to make employers happy:
-Genuine interests (they should be specific)
-Student organizations/Honors societies (for this one, go with quantity over quality because you may have been in the same organization as your recruiter)
-As many applicable “special skills” as possible (that you actually possess)
-Endorsements for those “special skills”
-“Industry words”should be in your job descriptions. For instance, if you are a marketing intern, you aren’t “going on social media” or “writing blog posts,” you are “performing social listening to analyze sentiment toward the firm as well as creating content for an ambitious inbound marketing campaign” or something along those lines.
It’s okay if you feel you might not have enough experience under your belt to fill out an entire profile, the important thing is that you’ll have a LinkedIn and other people won’t, which could put you ahead in a job search. It’s also worth noting that LinkedIn is not an end-all-be all for employers. While there are exceptional profiles out there, a LinkedIn is more of something you don’t want to mess up as opposed to some golden ticket for recruitment. But details matter, and social media should be a lot easier for you than most people in the job market right now-they were all born ten years too early!