You’re a savvy, well connected student, but are you connecting with professionals who will enhance the job you’re studying so hard for?
You’ve undoubtedly heard of the online professional networking site called LinkedIn. It’s different than other social media sites, as its sole focus is on your career and professional development. That’s why building a LinkedIn profile now can make all the difference as you enter the job market and grow your career.
Start building your professional network on LinkedIn with these seven tips:
1. Start with the basics: photo, headline, and professional summary.
Think of these three elements as your profile’s first impression. You want your profile to communicate professionalism right away.
- Did you know that profiles with photos get 14x more views than those without one, according to LinkedIn? Display a high-quality photo of yourself in professional attire.
- Your headline will appear right under your name, so it is important it’s brief and memorable. For example, your headline might read: “Honors student seeking business administration position” or “Dental Assisting student at Ohio Business College.”
- What makes you unique? What experiences, goals, and qualifications do you possess? Similar to a cover letter, the summary statement is your chance to tell your professional story.
2. Highlight your education.
Where you went to school matters, and potential employers and professional connections want to know this information. Be sure to list where you went to school, what degrees or diplomas you achieved, and the years you attended.
3. Expand on your experience and skills.
List the jobs you’ve held in the experience section, and include a brief description of your responsibilities for each position. Even if your job experience doesn’t relate to the job you’re in school for, experience shows you’re a reliable hard worker. Don’t forget to note promotions and internships.
Your hands-on experience at OBC and growing list of essential job-specific skills will make your profile stand out. Utilize the skills section to list keywords and phrases that recruiters search for, according to linkedin.com. For example, Medical Assisting students may list skills such as:
- Customer service
- Data entry
- First Aid/CPR
- Billing and coding insurance
- Taking vital signs
4. Display your work.
Do you have a project, portfolio, photo, link, video, or presentation that shows off your skills and expertise? You can add examples of your work to make your “profile more visual and interesting, while demonstrating your value as an up-and-coming professional,” according to LinkedIn.com.
5. Engage in professional online communities.
LinkedIn hosts an array of professional groups and organizations that allow you to interact with other like-minded professionals and stay current with industry news. Start by connecting with us at Ohio Business College.
6. Develop your professional network.
Begin building your network by connecting with classmates, professors, past employers, and current colleagues. As you grow in your field, continue to put yourself out there by first connecting with professionals in person, and then connecting through LinkedIn. Remember, the strongest networks are built on quality over quantity.
7. Update your profile regularly.
Update your photo, headline, summary, and job experiences as your career advances. It’s also beneficial to your online professional image to post updates and to share industry relevant articles.
Creating a strong LinkedIn profile now will help your professional future down the road – whether you’re looking for a job, connecting with experts and influencers in your field, or focusing on your professional development.