Welcome back! After a holiday season full of fun with friends and family, it’s time to get back to business – your career business. The mark you’re about to make, either as an intern, a first-time employee, or in your next career step, will be helped – or hurt – by that first impression to make in your LinkedIn profile. So, take a few minutes to think about updating yourself via your profile as soon as you can. When those career opportunities come, recruiters will know you’re the one to call from that very first time they click on your name.
Where to start? Try this:
- Update your photo: Do you have a photo that is a professional one, or is it one of those “cut & paste” jobs that you did on the fly? You need that professional photo. The best way to get a professional photo is to attend one of CMS’ LinkedIn Photo Shoots. The shoots are usually done the day of the university career fair. Until you have that professional shot, use one where you are professionally attired, not the Instagram snap just before your night on the town.
- Review your summary: A boring summary is boring. Are you boring? I didn’t think so. So why is your summary putting me to sleep? Your summary is the first chance to show me why you’re awesome. What did you learn last year? Did you accomplish something that let you grow professionally? Then tell me, make it interesting, not just a keyword dump. Use the keywords to tell a great story. You know who has a great story? You do! You know why? Because you’re not boring!
- Review/add skills: LinkedIn allows you to add up to 50 skills. Here’s where you get to also share some of the new things you’ve learned over the year. Do you know about Arbitrage? Then don’t be shy, add it. Really got the hang of AP/AR and Financial Accounting? Add it. Also, if there are other skills in your summary that you don’t want, then delete them. You can also reorder the skills so there are new ones at the top of the list on your profile. Don’t skip out on this, recruiters look at this section.
- Clean out the groups/check the group settings: Do you belong to groups that aren’t active? Then it’s time to leave the group. Members of the group posting “spammy” articles that are starting to clog your inbox? Leave the group. You should also check the settings for the group. Want to still stay involved but don’t want to receive a new email every time someone posts “You won’t believe what happened next!” then change your settings to digest email.
- Follow some new companies: Do you have an interest in something obscure like Cat Herding? There are at least 3 firms on LinkedIn that list cat herding and you should follow them. Maybe you’ve got an interest in arbitrage (remember you just added it as a new skill)? There are over 700 companies that list arbitrage in their profile. Follow them, check them out.
Remember – the first step to an awesome LinkedIn profile is first knowing that you’re awesome and then adding it to your profile. Then recruiters will also know you’re awesome and a possible candidate.
In future articles, I’ll talk candidly about the world of collegiate recruiting, corporate recruiting, and other career related issues. I’ll share the best way to face all those scary challenges and chart the best possible way to success.
John Nykolaiszyn is Associate Director of FIU College of Business’ Career Management Services. As a former corporate recruiter and HR generalist for some Fortune 500 companies, he’s well versed in the world of corporate recruiting and talent acquisition. He currently recruits the companies to come recruit our talented FIU Business students and in his spare time, tries to herd cats.