On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, MBS students had the opportunity to hear MBS assistant director and executive coach Abbe Rosenthal, MA, PCC, share some incredibly valuable tips for how students can structure their LinkedIn profiles to increase their visibility and marketability. During the session, students were able to explore each element of their existing LinkedIn profiles to see which areas needed improvement.
Showcase Your Best Self: Leveraging Your LinkedIn Profile
A solid LinkedIn profile should include a professional-looking photo, a headline, and a concise summary of your relevant skills and experience(s). The summary, especially, helps recruiters and hiring managers quickly find and scan your profile to determine whether or not you would be a good fit for their companies. Rosenthal shared the following tips for how to build a solid, attractive profile; she also offered suggestions for how to successfully network, engage with your current connections, and expand your professional network.
Step 1: Put Your Best Face Forward! Include a Profile Picture
Did you know that LinkedIn members with profile photos receive 21 times more views than profiles that do not feature photos? Here’s how to select the perfect image:
- DO: Select a professional-looking photo. If you have a professional headshot, use it. Further, the picture should feature one person, only: you.
- DON’T forget your audience—hiring managers. Remember that awesome pic of you playing volleyball on a beach? Save it for Facebook or Instagram.
Step 2: Create a Vivid, Compelling Headline
The key to a killer headline? Diction (word choice). A headline serves as the introduction to your profile. Especially when you are applying for jobs, you need a solid headline that employs applicable, descriptive, well-strategized keywords. (More on keywords below.) Further, a descriptive headline will allow LinkedIn’s AI-driven applicant tracker and networking software to list your profile in the “People You May Know” section and increase the likelihood that your profile gets right in front of headhunters, recruiters, or any sort of hiring manager—all of which further increases your visibility to other LinkedIn users.
Back to keywords: they are essential. It is critical to select words that are likely to turn up in searches. See below:
Step 3: Create a Comprehensive, Concise, and Applicable Summary
Along with a strong headline, recruiters look at your summary to determine if you’re a fit for their company. Summaries need to be info-dense yet concise (about 40 to 100 words, maximum), and should capture your applicable, relevant experiences. Think of your summary as your elevator pitch. It needs to be targeted, captivating, and to-the-point.
Plainly speaking, your summary should reflect:
- WHERE YOU CAME FROM: (i.e.) Your background, relevant experience(s), and applicable skills
- WHERE YOU ARE NOW: (i.e.) Your current job or job situation, and /or your current responsibilities. And, finally,
- WHERE YOU WANT TO GO: (i.e.) Your career goals and aspirations
Step 4: Showcase Your Experience
Are you experienced? SHOW IT! Did you know that listing your experiences can greatly increase your profile views and overall visibility? Experiences to showcase can include:
- Work Experiences & Experiential Learning: Externships, co-ops, internships, and full-time or part-time positions
- Academic Projects: Research projects or practicums
- Volunteerism: Clubs, professional associations, and groups with which you are (or were) associated and involved--student groups, community groups, etc.
- Technical Skills: Your proficiency using certain tools, models, software, and techniques
- Soft Skills: NOTE: Communication remains the number one requested skill among all employers in every industry. Other key skills include leadership, project management, problem-solving, cross-functional teamwork, and interdisciplinary collaboration
In addition, by listing your skills and experiences as mentioned above, you are giving potential employers and current connections insight into your personal values and the transferable skills you possess—such as communication, leadership, teamwork, problem- solving—which is valuable.
*IMPORTANT REMINDER*: You should update your skills each semester after completing your coursework.
Step 5: Build Your Network by Finding Connections
Expand your horizons! Building connections expands your overall network, which, in turn (and predictably), can expand your number of profile views and, accordingly, expand the number of potential job opportunities. LinkedIn is a fantastic networking platform to connect with MBS alumni who may already be working in your current or desired industry.
What are the three levels of connections on LinkedIn?
- 1st degree: People to whom you’re directly connected because you have accepted their invitation to connect, or they have accepted your invitation.
- 2nd degree: People who are connected to your 1st-degree connections. You’ll see a “2nd degree” icon next to their names.
- 3rd degree: People who are connected to your 2nd-degree connections. You’ll see a “3rd degree” icon next to their names.
Other venues to connect:
LinkedIn groups / LinkedIn associations have some great platforms to connect with industry professionals and alumni. Rosenthal suggested using the “Rutgers MBS Alumni” LinkedIn page and the “Rutgers MBS Students” LinkedIn page—both are helpful in building relationships and networking with other students, industry mentors, and alumni who were once in your shoes.
See below for additional ways to find connections:
Abbe Rosenthal discusses how to find LinkedIn connections.
Following Influencers is also helpful to make connections, says Rosenthal. So what are “influencers?”
By definition, “LinkedIn Influencers are selected by invitation only and comprise a global collective of 500+ of the world's foremost thinkers, leaders, and innovators [who] discuss newsy and trending topics such as the future of higher education, the workplace culture at Amazon, the plunge in oil prices, and the missteps of policymakers.”
By interacting and following various influencers, it can help increase your profile visibility and personal brand. Some strategies for how to follow influencers include: Searching Companies →Searching People in those Companies → Connecting with the followers of those company contacts
Step 6: Add Value and Engage
Once you have your profile nicely set up, it is important to use it!!!! Be active and engage with others on the platform. Tips To engage and gain profile visibility::
- Join LinkedIn groups
- Like and share posts and updates. Sharing other people’s posts is important because it not only indicates that their information or messages resonate with you, but you are also spreading the author’s message for others.
- The key to adding value on LinkedIn is to “Do For Others.” For example: this could mean writing testimonials for a fellow classmate or coworker with whom you worked on a group project--you can detail and explain how you feel that individual exemplified leadership and/or exhibited leadership qualities.
As a student in the field of user experience design (UXD) who is currently applying for internships, it was incredibly helpful to hear Abbe’s specific, step-by-step advice regarding how students can improve their LinkedIn presence and improve their profiles. In summary, I learned that LinkedIn is a very versatile platform with many opportunities to connect with current students, alumni, coworkers, friends, and individuals who work in your current or desired industry.