linked in foil wrapped chocolates

When I graduated from University all of my friends and I were overwhelmed with all of the job search and career advice. Everyone said that I have so many options with an English degree. When I asked for advice about resumes or interviews, every person seemed to have a different opinion. I didn’t know what advice to take. What’s inspired me is taking these seemingly complex topics and breaking them down into simple, attainable steps. Rather than focussing on all of the advice out there, I help students look at information that will be most valuable to them in their job search.

One of the places where I’ve seen lots of competing advice is LinkedIn. How many of you have been told “you must get a LinkedIn profile so employers can find you” or “the best way to network is with LinkedIn”? Rather than getting on LinkedIn because “someone said” it’s helpful to consider whether it is right for you.

According to the 2014 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey of 1855 recruiting and human resources professionals, 73% of employers use social media in their recruitment. Of these, 94% use LinkedIn and 73% of these organizations have hired candidates through LinkedIn. If employers are already looking for information about candidates online, LinkedIn can be a great way to have some control over what they see.

So what does this mean for you?

First and foremost, if you are on LinkedIn, make sure that your profile is worth seeing. Your profile needs to be consistent but not a repetition of your resume. Since, unlike tailored resumes, every potential contact sees the same profile, consider what skills and accomplishments will be most relevant to the types of employers to which you are applying.

Some of the key distinctions between a LinkedIn profile and a resume are the Headline and Summary sections. The Headline section allows you to write a very brief statement about your goals and skills. Rather than saying “Student at the University of Toronto Mississauga”, think about what you would say if someone asked you “what’s the most important thing that I need to know about you and your career or job search goals?”

The Summary section lets you explain, in some detail, what you’re interested in and relate some key accomplishments. Many people choose to right this section in paragraph form. One paragraph can talk about what career you’re interested in (and why), one or two paragraphs can discuss, in-detail, some of your key accomplishments/ experiences and you can use another paragraph to talk about something interesting or unique about you.

Another great feature on LinkedIn is the ability to add Projects and Organizations and link them to your education or jobs. This makes it easy for employers to see the value of the academic projects and your co-curricular involvement. You can also move sections around so that the most important and relevant information is at the top of your profile.

Check out the Career Centre LinkedIn tip sheet for more tips. You can have your LinkedIn profile critiqued at the Career Centre. Please drop by to set-up an appointment.

We’ll have some tips on networking on LinkedIn in an upcoming Blog.

Ron Wener, Employment Advisor