• Social Media Training Guides: Helping Students Create a Strong LinkedIn Profile

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    July 24, 2013

    During the upcoming NACE Social Media Mashup, NACE will introduce a series of “train the trainer” guides for career services practitioners to use to help college students use different social media effectively in their job searches. Following is an excerpt of the “Career Counselor Guide to LinkedIn” by Kevin Grubb, an assistant director at the career center of Villanova University. 

    LinkedIn has often been referred to as “your resume online.” This assertion is not far off, as there are many similarities between a LinkedIn profile and a resume. As such, some of the points covered here may sound like your advice to students about resume writing. However, where there are differences in the two is where it is critical to pay attention.

    Kevin Grubb LinkedIn Profile 

    At the top of a LinkedIn profile is a small box containing some of what I’d call the “fast facts” about each user. Since this box is likely the first thing that another LinkedIn user would see when landing on a LinkedIn profile, this box is incredibly important real estate. Here are some tips for students to make the most of it:

    1. Profile Photo—The best photo for students to use is a professional-looking headshot of just the student alone. Many career centers have taken to offering a LinkedIn photo booth at career fairs or other events where they know students will be dressed professionally. This can certainly help students get up and moving on LinkedIn quickly. Unlike resumes, it is important to include a photo on LinkedIn, as this is a social network. Recruiters who use LinkedIn do have the option to block profile photos so that the issue of discrimination based on protected classes is accounted for.
    2. Name—First and last name. LinkedIn does give the option to provide a former or maiden name as well.
    3. Headline—This is each individual LinkedIn user’s tagline. LinkedIn will automatically populate the headline with the most recent position listed in the “Experience” section of a profile, but this is a customizable area. Encourage students to think of it as a personal slogan. It is also critical to include keywords and phrases in this section that are related to a student’s desired industry or profession. When other users of LinkedIn search by these words, the student will be more likely to appear in search results. Students can also consider putting in something like “XYZ College student with a passion for (major).”
    4. Location and Industry—LinkedIn users can select their location and industry in these fields. It is a good idea for students to choose the industry they intend to enter and, if seeking a specific location for work, to choose that location for their profile. This way, they will appear in searches for that area.
    5. Current and Previous Experience and Education—These fields are automatically populated based on what a LinkedIn user inputs into the “Experience” and “Education” sections of his or her profile.
    6. Public Profile URL—This URL is a link which users can send to others, whether on or off LinkedIn, to view what is called a “public profile”all of the information a user wishes to have publicly viewed when anyone online views the profile. LinkedIn will provide every user with a URL, though it will likely contain a string of random characters. Users can customize this URL to contain something easily recognizable, like a name or shortened version of a name. Encourage students to customize this link so they can easily include it in e-mail signatures or on resumes.
    7. Contact Info—In this section, users can input things like e-mail addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, Twitter accounts, and websites. If a student has a personal website or public Twitter account, it would be a great idea to provide links to those here.

     NACE’s Social Media Mashup will be held August 22 and 23 in San Jose, California. For more information, see www.naceweb.org/events/social-media-mashup.aspx