Use LinkedIn to Enhance Your Professional Standing

Even as early as your first undergrad semester, you should be thinking about how to get professionals to pay attention to you and your hard work.  A well-crafted LinkedIn profile rife with statements about abilities and examples of your work will go a long way towards earning you notice.  And it’s also a great way to find and establish a ‘link’ with others in your (desired) field.  As a student, it’s your skills that companies are looking at, not your experience, so use all those skills as much, and as creatively as you can.

Skip the buzzwords.  Translation:  If you think it sounds lame, it does.  Don’t write that you’re a “multi-tasker.”  Instead, provide examples of what you can balance, combine, maintain, and work on simultaneously.  Don’t tell us you’re ‘analytical.’  Instead, tell us what you’ve analyzed/what you have experience analyzing.

Use simple first-person statements.  Be specific.  You may use any skill, even if you’ve only implemented that skill once and have only basic knowledge/exposure to it.  What will make you valuable as a new hire for any company is your combination/pairing of skills, usually a technical skill with an essential.  Like this:

“I am good with ___, plus___, which means a company can use me for/to/as ___.”

“I can put ___ with ___, (and ___,) which an employer will find valuable for ___.”

“The best thing about me is I can put ___ with ___, so I will make a fine ___.”

“I want to use two primary skills I have acquired in my degree, which are ___ and ___, to work in the field of ___.”

Create your own bulleted list of ‘Core Competencies,’ even though LinkedIn has some you can chose from.  Make them as technical and as detailed as you are.  And you can include your categories from Strength Finders, if you have taken this test.  The best way to incorporate your Strengths is by using an example with each.  As in, “I’m a Maximizer, as illustrated by my ability to ______.”

Now that you’ve paid attention to the words on your profile, go back in and provide media examples of assignments, projects, or activities.  Any project, any presentation, your personal website or portfolio, a quick recording/video of a meeting or experiment, an example of your work.  All these are perfect to upload on LinkedIn.  Written a well-regarded abstract, report for a conference, or applied for a patent?  Use it.  While your profile should state your skills, strengths, abilities, and exposure, it should always contain examples as well.  Show us you at work.

Once you’ve created a dynamic profile and used a bit of media to back up your assertions, personalize the url, and include your link in your resume.  Now, systematically reach out and connect with others.

Do your research.  Find the companies that lead in your field and connect with them.  Reach out to student professional groups, and alumni associations.  All majors have them.  Find professionals in your field, and like-minded students.  Connect with everyone you can.  Make your work work.