Six LinkedIn Profile Must-Haves

Are you new to LinkedIn or don’t know what to include in your profile? If you answered yes to either of these questions, don’t worry, we’re here to help.

At the Career Connections Center, we want to help you succeed during your job search. And because LinkedIn has turned into a tool for job seekers and recruiters, we’re here to make sure that you, as a job seeker, are ready to stand out among the competition.

Matthew Cowley, one of our assistant directors for career and professional development, recommends the following LinkedIn profile must-haves so you can stand out to employers.

1) Make Your Profile Picture Industry-Appropriate


People often assume that LinkedIn profile pictures need to be serious and professional but that’s not always the case. For example, someone who works in an university student affairs department needs to have a professional picture, but it should also convey that they are friendly and welcoming. A polished, yet more relaxed photo would be appropriate for this individual. A lawyer, however, may consider having a crisp and serious professional photo to represent them.

To know what kind of photo is appropriate for your industry, do some research. Search for people in your industry and examine their profile pictures. Once you determine a pattern, take a picture that matches what is industry appropriate.

2) Write a Solid Headline

Unless you write your own headline, LinkedIn will automatically populate it from the most recent job position you have listed. This isn’t ideal because your latest position isn’t reflective of all your experience, interests, and goals.

Your headline should be strategic. It’s the first thing that people will see and it’s necessary to have a hook to draw them in. For current students, we recommend making it as specific as possible. A weak headline would be: “I am a UF student in the College of Journalism.” A solid headline would be “I am a junior at UF majoring in advertising. My interests include graphic design, photography, and video editing.”  Also, note that the headline is keyword searchable, so incorporate keywords that you’d like to be found by here.

3) Write a Summary

This is a LinkedIn profile must-have that a lot of people skip. The summary is your opportunity to give potential employers a snapshot of who you are. Let’s put it this way. If the headline is “the hook,” the summary is what will convince people to continue reading about you so they can put together all the information you’ve provided. This section is especially important for students who are pursing a career that is not directly linked to their major.

4) Show that You Have Been Involved


Under the Volunteer Experience section, make sure to list all the extracurricular activities that you have been involved with that are relevant to your career goals. This is your chance to show things that go beyond your resume. Use this space to tell about the things you’ve learned and to tell a story about yourself. Remember that your LinkedIn profile should not be an exact replica of your resume. This section gives you the chance to be more personable and tell things that recruiters wouldn’t ordinarily see in a resume or cover letter, so take advantage of it.

5) Include Your Skills


The skills section of your LinkedIn profile is keyword searchable so filling out this section comprehensively could not be more crucial. By listing all your skills, you are helping LinkedIn rank your profile to potential employers. Try to find inspiration in the job descriptions of companies that you’d like to work in, and if you have that skill, include it in your profile.

One misconception students have is that the skills section only applies to “technical” skills. But these skills include anything that will be essential to your job. Examples of non-technical skills to include in your profile are leadership, team building, or public speaking.

6) Make Relevant Connections

Inviting your friends to connect on LinkedIn is great, but it will not help you grow your professional network. If you are majoring in linguistics but all your friends are engineers, that will not help you meet people who can potentially help you get a job in your field.

If you don’t have many friends in your field, invite classmates that you’ve worked with on school projects or professors from previous classes. You can also go to UF’s alumni page and request people who you know that graduated, but you didn’t make a connection earlier. Our recommendation is to start out by making at least 50 to 70 connections.

If you’re ready to have a top notch LinkedIn profile, follow these tips, or make a career planning appointment to get an in-depth look at how you can spruce up your LinkedIn profile. You can also stop by the Career Connections Center, Level 2 in the Reitz Union, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. during our Express Drop-In hours.

Sharing is caring…do you have a solid LinkedIn profile headline that you want to share below in the comments?

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