Secrets to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile – for College Students

Posted by on April 16, 2013

With more than 200 million members and 86 percent of Fortune 100 companies utilizing the corporate talent solutions function, LinkedIn is a powerful networking and job hunting tool—no one can deny that. 

However, like many things in life, you only get out of your LinkedIn profile what you put into it.  This is a concept that I preach to Career Development students at Minnesota School of Business each quarter.

secrets to optimizing your LinkedIn profile

Elk River Community Manager Kayla Stai

With only 10 percent of LinkedIn users being students or recent graduates, LinkedIn is a great platform for students to get discovered by hiring managers or utilize to navigate their professional networks.

Like most social networking platforms, there is a science behind how to optimize your profile for the best results or experience.

Here are 5 secrets that I share with Minnesota School of Business students on how to optimize their LinkedIn profile:

  • Have a complete profile—many sources report that only 100 percent complete, or now known as “All-Star” profiles, will show up in an organic search. Click on “Improve your profile” in LinkedIn to see what items you still need to complete.
  • Customize your headline—the headline is the line of text just below your name and it automatically defaults to your last job title. This is arguably the most important part of your profile, so put some thought into it. Get creative with this – include keywords related to the career you want.  So if your latest gig was a restaurant server, but you are getting a degree in accounting, customize your headline to something like “Reliable Numbers-Driven Accountant.”
  • Pack keywords in your summary—the summary is the main profile piece that is searchable by Google (did I mention your headline is as well?). So if someone is searching for a reliable, experienced, numbers-driven accountant and you have those keywords in your summary, chances are your profile will appear in the search results.  This is also an area to show your personality—so sound like a human while throwing in a keyword here and there.
  • Always include descriptions for past jobs—many LinkedIn users just put their job title and nothing more—well, that doesn’t tell me much.  For the best results, make sure to include job duties and successes—bullet points work well here.  And remember, you didn’t “answer the phone” as a job duty–you “operated a multi-line phone system.”
  • Ask for recommendations—in my opinion, the recommendation feature is the most powerful LinkedIn feature.  Why?  It’s someone else telling the world how great you are.  You can tell a hiring manager all day long that you have a great work ethic and will be an outstanding employee, but they know you could likely be lying—you just need a job, right?  However, if someone else puts their credibility on the line for you by providing a recommendation, it’s much more credible.

The post is over—what are you waiting for?  Get optimizing!

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Thank you for your Interest in Minnesota School of Business.