LinkedIn 101: Preparing a Powerful Profile

Whether you’re revamping your job search or conducting a job search for the first time, you can’t ignore LinkedIn. Regardless of the profession you’re pursuing LinkedIn is a valuable tool for finding job leads and connecting to others working in your industry.

Why is LinkedIn so important? Consider the facts:

93 percent of recruiters surveyed in 2012 tapped into LinkedIn to find qualified candidates;

89 percent of recruiters surveyed hired someone they found or were introduced to through LinkedIn.

Additionally, when you have an interview scheduled, if you don’t think recruiters are checking you out on social media beforehand, think again.

Just like other job search tools – resumes, cover letters and interviews – make sure your LinkedIn account stands out. Here at the CPCC Career Services blog we’ll be spending the next few weeks discussing LinkedIn to help you get started.

The first step in using LinkedIn is completing your profile. Like a resume, your profile summarizes your professional and education background. An effective profile contains the following items:

Professional photo. People look favorably at a profile containing a headshot of the person dressed professionally and wearing a smile on their face. Make sure it doesn’t contain another individual. Have a friend or family member snap your picture that can be uploaded into LinkedIn in a matter of minutes.

Catchy headline. Like a newspaper headline, your profile headline should capture what you’re all about. Examples might include “Dental Hygiene Student,” “CPCC Dental Hygiene Graduate,” or “CPCC Dental Hygiene student seeking job in Charlotte, NC region.”

Summary stacked with keywords. Similar to a Summary of Skills section on a resume, your profile’s summary is a concise snapshot of your overall qualifications. Be sure to include keywords from your field of interest. Mention relevant years of experience, accomplishments and other relevant details.

Well-written Experience section. List items in this segment in reverse chronological order. Like the resume, use keywords and action verbs when describing your duties and responsibilities. Don’t forget relevant internships and volunteer experience.

As your profile begins taking shape, LinkedIn will start suggesting people you should connect with. These suggestions are based on all of the information you add to your profile. When it comes to connections, quality is just as important as quantity. We’ll talk about connecting to others next week, including joining relevant LinkedIn groups.

In the meantime, the first group you should join is the CPCC Career Services group. Group members include the Career Services staff, employers, as well as CPCC students and faculty. Lots of great career-related discussion. Be sure to check it out!