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How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Ianni Le


As your student gets ready to dive into the post-grad job search, encourage them to pay a little extra attention to their LinkedIn profile!

LinkedIn is an excellent ways to build their network and keep themselves in the loop for the best career opportunities, but it can also be challenging.

Here are some of our favorite tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile to help you get your resume and profile in front of future employers.

Building Out Your LinkedIn Profile

Visual Appeals

Make sure you have a recent headshot of you wearing what you would ideally like to wear to work. Headshots that feature your face (a close up where your face takes center focus) will help your profile stand out, as full body shots make it more difficult for recruiters to see you (remember, the profile picture displays aren’t especially large on LinkedIn).

Next, upload a background image for your profile as well. This adds visual appeal to your profile, making it memorable to potential employers. It can also serve as another way for you to show what interests you.

Headlines and Summaries

These will serve as your first opportunities to introduce yourself and your professional interests, so make sure to spend some time thinking about what you’d like to say. Your headline can be much more than simply your job description — and it should be! Don’t just tell recruiters what you’re currently doing; add descriptive words to tell them more than just your job title (i.e. “Growth Minded Manager” or “User Experience Oriented Creative”). 

College students who aren’t currently employed can use this space to share their career aspirations or even what they’re currently studying or interested in (i.e. “studying marketing analytics at UCLA” or “Future Innovation Driven Entrepreneur”).

Use your summary to introduce yourself, your professional background and your personal interests in five or so sentences. If you’re not one for stringent academic writing, don’t write your summary that way! Take this opportunity to showcase your personality while telling your story. 

If you want to include your favorite joke or something about your pets or personal life, add it in at the end as something to help you stand out without stealing focus from your professional attributes.

Remember that the more time you spend building out your profile, the more information you'll provide to potential employers. LinkedIn is constantly coming out with new features for profiles, so checking in periodically to keep your profile up to date will help keep you visible!

Interacting with Your Network

LinkedIn, though used primarily in a professional capacity, is still a social networking site. You make yourself easier to find when you interact with other people’s posts and you can even create a few posts yourself.

Don’t shy away from commenting on posts from people you don’t know either! You may open the door to new connections or expose your profile to somebody else’s network. You can also spend some time following companies that you’re interested in to see what they’re sharing, in case you ever find yourself interviewing for a position there.

If you’re looking to create a few posts yourself, make sure you share things that are relevant to the industry that you’re trying to attract attention from — LinkedIn’s algorithm prioritizes relevancy.

That also means that LinkedIn tailors your feed for your professional interests, making it a great resource for you! If you’re looking for ways to grow within your industry and become a more competitive job candidate, make sure you spend some time browsing through your LinkedIn feed to see what other people in your industry are doing.

Keep in mind that, at the end of the day, LinkedIn is just one tool and it's not the end all be all platform for finding a job. While it is one of the primary things employers will look at in addition to resumes, make sure your student keeps their options open when starting the job search!

Trying to start your career fresh out of college during a pandemic is no easy task. If your student is (understandably) anxious about their prospects, remind them that, though the job search process may have changed due to the pandemic, they still have a good chance of finding a job they love given a little time and patience.

Preparing for the "freshman year of life" right now, or navigating it as a new graduate, is especially challenging, so make sure to check in with your student or grad often and offer your encouragement whenever you can!

Ianni Le is a writer and content creator for CollegiateParent. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, graduating with a degree in Media Design and English Literature. She grew up in Shanghai, China and enjoys her dogs, books and food equally.

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