Tailoring Your LinkedIn Profile to Your Goals

Tailoring Your LinkedIn Profile to Your Goals

A perfect LinkedIn profile? No such thing. What you need is a profile that's perfectly you.

Want to create a custom LinkedIn profile that speaks to your strengths as well as your goals – and attracts attention from potential employers? We share our 10 best tips for setting up a profile that relays your professionalism and passion.

1. Get Clear on Your Audience
Think about who you’re trying to impress. Going after a high-tech start-up job? Write for entrepreneurial techie types. Unsure? Create a strong general profile that shows you’re a professionally minded student who’s eager to learn.

2. Use the Headline to Broadcast Your Ideal Job
Your Summary headline doesn’t have to be a job title. The best student headlines promote who you are and what you want to do after graduation. Include stuff like “XYZ University honors student & aspiring public relations associate.”

3. Post a Photo
Profiles with photos get viewed much more often than those without. Pick a professionally appropriate headshot of you alone. No baseball caps, puppies or prom photos! (Bonus points for a smile.)

4. Show Some Passion
A LinkedIn profile is more than a resume. Don’t be afraid to tell a story and be bold – you’ll win points with employers for your enthusiasm about the job you want. For example, you might begin your Summary with “I’m a budding journalist who can hit the ground running in a newsroom.”

5. Include Keywords
Use keywords and phrases recruiters search for. Find examples from job descriptions you’re pursuing, or profiles of people who have the jobs you want, and pepper those words and phrases throughout the Summary and Skills & Expertise sections.

6. Be Smart About Adding Sections
Complete the profile sections designed just for students, such as Courses (for anything related to your desired industry), Volunteer Experience & Causes (to help round you out), Projects, Languages, Certifications, Organizations and more.

7. Mention the Most Relevant Experience
The Experience section can and should include internships, extracurriculars, part-time positions and volunteer work. But it’s okay to leave off experiences you’re no longer interested in or that don’t fit with your current goals.

8. Ask for Recommendations and Endorsements
Request recommendations from bosses or teachers. Ask them to mention specific qualities and skills that align to your career goals. Even a short recommendation is better than nothing! Any of your connections can now also endorse skills for jobs you want.

9. Join LinkedIn Groups That Line up with Your Goals
Group memberships appear on your profile, so even if you don’t have experience, they show that you’re credible and are actively building a network in your desired field. Start by searching the groups directory.

10. Check Your Work
As a final step, ask a career counselor, friend or family member to review your profile. Ask if your reviewer can describe your goals just by looking at your profile. If the answer is no, then go back to the top of this list and start making some revisions!

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