As the newest University of Redlands graduates go out into the workforce, they enter a world where a strong social media presence—especially on professional networking platform LinkedIn—is a valuable asset.
“In the Office of Career & Professional Development, we work with students to create a personal brand that captures each individual’s unique career and personal interests,” says Lauren Wooster, U of R assistant director of professional development. “Typically, recruiters recommend focusing on creating a catchy headline and detailed summary. It is helpful to think of the summary as a written ‘elevator pitch.’ It can answer the questions: Who are you? What are you doing (or wanting to do) and, why?”
“We also encourage students to reach out to alumni in their field of interest to research industry expectations about LinkedIn and social media accounts, application processes, and day-to-day job functions,” Wooster adds.
For students and alumni just getting started with LinkedIn, here are some tips:
1. Upload a professional-looking head shot
- Not a selfie; your photo should be flattering, in focus, well lit, and proportional (not stretched or distorted)
- Crop your photo so that your face fills at least 60 percent of the frame
- In your photo, wear clothing you would wear to a job interview
- Avoid wearing sunglasses; It’s too casual for a social networking site where as many as 95 percent of recruiters are in search for talent
2. Write a descriptive and concise headline
While less than a tweet, you have 120 characters to describe yourself. Consider maximizing the space to include your top skills, specializations, and goals, for example:
- Math Major, Aspiring Actuary, Data Mining Enthusiast
- English Major with a focus in Creative Writing, Graphic Design, and Music Industry
- Educator | Author | Storyteller | Educational Justice EdD Student
PRO TIP: Go to https://unicode-table.com/en/ to access symbols to help break-up your text, and work around LinkedIn’s inability to bold, italicize, or underline.
3. Your summary should reflect your experience and personality, with concrete examples
- Share your successes, such as how you solved a problem, saved your employer money, created an efficient process, helped launch a new product or service, etc.
- Describe any relevant degrees, awards, or honors you have received
- List the presentations you have given and where you presented them
4. Create a vanity URL
- A customized URL with your name can help increase your visibility. For example, www.linkedin.com/in/moniquestennis
PRO TIP: Be sure to include your custom URL as a part of your contact information on your resume and email footer.
For more information on career development resources at the University of Redlands, see the Professional Development webpages.