By Chantal Canales

What are your plans for after graduation? Do you have a summer internship? What’s your dream career? If you’re anything like me, these questions haunt your mind constantly. Thinking about the future can be scary, especially without a sense of where to start. As college students, we are constantly worrying about our future, doing the absolute most to stand out in the job market. We apply to internships, work hard in our classes, and networked with professionals endlessly, all in the hopes of getting a job after graduation. LinkedIn is one of the most popular tools to create a snapshot of your talents and experiences to recruiters and companies today. You may have a LinkedIn profile with your name and a cute profile picture of yourself, but here are 8 ways to upgrade your profile for recruiters to notice you!

1. Update your Profile Picture

     Your LinkedIn profile picture shouldn’t be your normal Instagram or Snapchat selfie. The first picture people will see next to your name is the first impression people have, and you only have about five seconds to make that first great impression online. Make sure your picture is professional with a clean and plain background such as a blank wall. Wearing a professional top and blazer will make a great first impression.

2. Add a Background Photo

     One of the first things you will notice about a LinkedIn profile is the large banner on the top of the page. Instead of committing to the standard blue banner on your page, head over to Canva.com to design your own banner to reflect your personality and talents! This easy to use website is great for upgrading your profile with your aspirations with customizable banners. 

3. Draft your Headline

     Next to your name is your headline, a piece of text that can let new connections know who you are, what your aspirations are, and any roles you currently serve in. Let people know what your year and major is, what industries you are interested in pursuing, or write any positions you may have. For example, you can say “Junior journalism PR major at Baylor University seeking roles in fashion and beauty industries.”

4. Add Experiences to Your Profile

     Whether it be classes you’ve taken, internships, summer jobs, or leadership roles, add experiences to your profile! Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself and boast a little about your accomplishments via LinkedIn. Better yet, if you have a certain job or internship you are applying for, use keywords from the job description to show recruiters you are a great fit for the job!

     Another helpful way to show off your experiences is numbers. Instead of saying “improved social media engagement,” get specific and say “increased Instagram profile visits by 40 percent” or “gained 200 Facebook likes.” Using concrete numbers effectively shows how well you can work!

5. Include Skills, Languages, and Certifications

     Through all of the experiences in your life, you have gained more than just job titles. Skills such as WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite, Photography, Microsoft Office, and Writing are useful tools for aspiring professionals to feature on their profiles to set themselves apart from other job applicants. Adding these, along with any classes you’ve taken, languages you can speak, and certifications you’ve earned add strength to your LinkedIn profile game! 

6. Connections

     Much like followers on Instagram, your connections build your LinkedIn feed and allow you to build a network of people. To start, reach out and send connection requests to people in your classes, your professors, or people in your major. The more connections, the better, as your network can help you find roles and opportunities in the future.

     Don’t be afraid to connect with people you don’t know on a personal level, either! If you see if they are in a similar role as you, or if they work in a similar industry as you, don’t hesitate to send a message saying you would love to connect to learn more about their experiences in your field of interest. People are always looking for new connections to build their network, so don’t be afraid to try!

7. Add a Link to a Profile or Resume

     Adding any external links to your LinkedIn profile instantly adds another way for connections and recruiters to get to know you! If you have a resume, website, or portfolio of your work, feature it on your profile! It’s the perfect way to learn more about you beyond your social media.

8. Be Active on the Platform

     If you don’t post on LinkedIn or actively log in to check your activity, you can’t reap the benefits of LinkedIn. Regularly check-in to see what your connections are doing, comment on their posts, and share news about your professional life. It shows people you actively care about your future career and aspirations.

     LinkedIn is one of the best tools for college students to brand themselves to the professional world. Make the best of the platform and make it work for you, no matter what industry you are in!

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