LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network with more than 225 million users. It is also a rich source of leads for networking, informational interviewing, and internship and job opportunities. Once you’ve opened an account, the next step is to create an eye-catching, informative profile to showcase your experience and interests
Your profile headline gives people a short, memorable way to understand who you are in a professional context. Think of the headline as the slogan for your professional brand, such as “Public health student at Boston University interested in maternal and child health” or “Recent honors graduate seeking marketing position.” Check out profiles of other students and recent BU alums for ideas and inspiration.
LinkedIn is not Facebook. We recommend that you select a professional, high-quality headshot of you alone. After networking face-to-face with others, you will want them to remember what you look like and ensure them that they are connecting with the right person. You don’t have to hire a professional photographer to get a good shot. A small digital camera or smart phone can do the trick. Ask a friend or your roommate for help capturing you at your best.
Your summary statement should resemble the first few paragraphs of your best-written cover letter — concise and confident about your goals and qualifications. Include relevant internships, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities. Present your summary statement in short blocks of text or bullet points for easy reading.
Include information about all institutions you’ve attended. Include your major and minor if you have one, as well as highlights of your activities. It’s also appropriate to include study abroad programs and summer institutes. Don’t be shy—your LinkedIn profile is an appropriate place to show off your strong GPA and any honors or awards you’ve won. You may also choose to add relevant or selected courses you’ve taken to this section.
The best place to find relevant keywords is in the job listings that appeal to you and the profiles of people who currently hold the kinds of positions you want. There is also a skills section on your profile which allows your connections to endorse you for specific skills and areas of expertise.
Include relevant experience, such as past internships, jobs, volunteer work, etc. Start with what is on your resume and then expand. Make sure to have your resume reviewed by a CCD staff member before doing so. See our review hours.
A great way to stay on other people’s radar screens and enhance your professional image is to update your status at least once a week. Tell people about events you’re attending, articles you’ve read and recommend, major projects you’ve completed, professional books you’re reading, or any other news that you would tell someone at a networking reception or on a quick catch-up phone call.
Joining groups and displaying the group badges on your profile are perfect ways to fill out the professionalism of your profile and show your desire to connect to people with whom you have something in common. Start by joining the official BU Alumni Association group. Engage with others in groups by posting relevant articles and links and participating in group discussions.
The most impressive LinkedIn profiles have at least one recommendation associated with each position a person has held. Think about asking for recommendations from professors, colleagues, employers, and professional mentors. In order to have a complete profile (by LinkedIn’s standards), consider including three references.
Under Settings, there is an option to change your “public profile URL.” To increase the professional results that appear when people type your name into a search engine, claim a unique URL for your profile. If possible, change this to your name. You can include this on your resume or business cards.
Add examples of your writing, design work, or other accomplishments. By including URLs, you can direct people to your website, blog, or Twitter feed. You may also choose to share a PowerPoint or store a downloadable version of your resume.