Upon first joining LinkedIn, it’s difficult to know the best approach to navigating and taking advantage of all that the employment-oriented social and business network has to offer. At the OPCD’S latest Lunch and Learn, Todd Strosnider provided guidance on LinkedIn profile presentation and networking methods. An MBA graduate of the University of Dallas, Strosnider has accumulated extensive experience in HR management training and business consultation. He is also an active member of the Alumni Advisory Panel for the OPCD.
First and foremost, Strosnider encouraged undergraduates to take LinkedIn seriously: “As an employer, I go to search for someone on LinkedIn, because resumes are losing impact in my mind. LinkedIn has a lot of momentum right now, and it is definitely worthwhile investing time and energy into your presence there.” He commented that the network is growing, as 95% of job recruiters are focused on LinkedIn.
Strosnider offered a number of recommendations for creating a strong LinkedIn profile. There are many factors in cultivating a positive online image, and a profile picture is the first impression. “What do you want your presence to be online? Think about what your online reputation says about you. Be professional, but not stiff,” he recommended. In regard to the summary section on a LinkedIn profile, Strosnider suggested keeping it fairly short. If it is too long, viewers are less likely to read completely through. The headline of a LinkedIn profile should be concise and descriptive, or “what you want to be seen as.” As a student, highlight projects, volunteerism, leadership, and relevant coursework; try to make past experiences, even if it is not an extensive list, connect to future career aspirations.
Regarding networking opportunities on LinkedIn, Strosnider said that it is important to remember that the more active you are, the higher you’ll appear in searches, which increases the number of potential employers and contacts finding and seeing your profile. Reposting or sharing others’ content and adding tags to your profile picture, such as “sports marketing,” are examples of remaining searchable. Strosnider also recommended making a regular practice of updating your LinkedIn profile, even by tweaking just one or two words; this activity will set you higher in searches. Unless you turn the setting off, notifications will be sent out to your entire network whenever you make an edit, so make sure you are confident in your profile. Another method of becoming searchable is joining virtual groups on LinkedIn and even creating a group for colleagues or classmates. When sending out an invitation to connect with another LinkedIn member, “be thoughtful about how you want to reach out. A quick little blurb could make the difference when reaching out to prospective employers. Be very intentional when networking.”
Strosnider provided further suggestions for using LinkedIn in the best way. The URL of every LinkedIn profile is editable, and appears most professional when it reads your name. LinkedIn is also a great avenue to search for jobs, and offers job notifications based on personal searches. When searching for jobs, use filters; for example, searching “University of Dallas” and the company with whom you are seeking employment reveals any UD alumni working at that company and provides an immediate contact to connect with.
Strosnider encouraged undergraduates to shop around for ideas when creating a profile, ask others for honest feedback, and search other great profiles. “Having no LinkedIn profile is worse than having a bad one,” Strosnider shared, and encouraged the investment of time and energy into LinkedIn in order to advance professional opportunities and goals.
UD students are welcome to stop by the OPCD to have a formal headshot for a LinkedIn profile picture taken. To schedule an appointment with a career advisor, click here.