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Jul 10 / Carmen Gamlin

How to Construct a Great WSU Student/Recent Graduate LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is an excellent way to sculpt the first impressions of how employers will see you.
1. Choose a Headline that Demonstrates Your Status.
2. Choose Your Industry.
3. Choose a Photo.
4. Customize Your URL.
5. Create a Professional Summary.
6. Recognize Your Student Experience as Relevant Work Experience.
7. Fill in your Skills and Expertise with Key Words.
8. Show off that WSU Education!
9. Connect with Colleagues and Expand Your Network.

1. Choose a Headline that Demonstrates Your Status.
LinkedIn is professional networking; this is in contrast to Facebook and other social media websites. In essence, this is a URL of your resume online. Your “Headline” is what will give someone a short memorable phrase to know your professional identity. Consider, “BS Mechanical Engineering Grad Seeking Entry Level Position” or Computer Science Junior at Wayne State University”. This will change as your professional status changes.

2. Choose Your Industry.
If you are a student or recent grad, then your industry is higher education. Choosing an industry that may not be the same industry that a recruiter is in may affect your candidacy. Consider the energy industry recruiter who sees your profile that says automotive. Of course, if you desire to demonstrate your interest in a single industry then naming one will be great idea. You should know that you are searchable by the industry that you select from your profile and in this case, you can only select one.

3. Choose a Photo.
Most smart phones can take clear headshots to be used for LinkedIn. And since this is professional networking, a staged photo with a work shirt/blouse is much better than any vacation shot. The goal of this photo is highlight you and you alone as a rising professional. There should be no distracting backgrounds, clothing or other people in your photo. It is most ideal to have a photo than to leave this part of your profile blank. A complete profile with no photo leads to the obvious question about why you elected to avoid a photo. When your profile is converted to a PDF resume, the photo is not included.

4. Customize Your URL.
Just by starting your free LinkedIn profile, you already have a generic URL. You can customize it to highlight your name: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname. This should be part of your email signature, on your resume and other professional correspondence. It also increases the chance that when your name is put into a search engine that your LinkedIn profile comes up.

5. Create a Professional Summary.
At minimum, your summary should be an objective that you would put on your resume. Ideally, it should be the content with confidence that you would put in the first two paragraphs of a cover letter. This summary however maintains the writing style of resumes. There are no full sentences; there are only 3 – 6 phrases separated by bullet points for easy reading. Here is an example:
• Civil Engineer with E.I.T. seeking an opportunity to work in Construction Industry
• Experienced with leveling instruments, handheld GPS units, and uploading GPS readings using ArcGIS
• Demonstrated design skills in both 2D & 3D environments using AutoCAD & Catia

6. Recognize Your Student Experience as Relevant Work Experience.
In addition to the jobs that you have worked for pay, know that the academic projects that you have accumulated in your courses and labs are critical in demonstrating your skills to an engineering employer. This should be listed under the experience title of your degree: “Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering Student” with the employer (place where you acquired this experience) is Wayne State University. Each academic project needs to list either the title of the course/lab above the description of the skills obtained in the project. Here is an example:
Statistics Academic Project: WSU – Industrial Engineering Winter 2012
• Lead team of 3 students in the design of a medical data collection instrument in light of researching standards for JTILA documentation, site interviews and needs assessment of clinical researcher.
• Computed data using Bowles Law and Gamlin Principle
• Documented multi-media report in MS Excel, MS Word and presented findings using Prezi., http://prezi.com/nwkgp63wiw04/edit/.

7. Fill in your Skills and Expertise with Key Words.
Not only are these the skills that you would list on your resume, but they are the key words that could make you searchable by a recruiter. Understand that a recruiter may be looking for specifics such as Microsoft Excel or Catia. General listings of “Office” or Design Software may not always result with your profile being found. Relax… if you are a student/recent grad recruiters assumed that you have a student level of competency of this skill that you list.

8. Show off that WSU Education!
You should list the degree that you are working on or completed. This is a great place to share your accomplishments such as Dean’s Lists, strong GPAs, or any other academic awards that you have earned. In addition to WSU, you could indicate any previous institutions that you have attended. You can also indicate key courses that you have taken; this gives a list of the significant coursework that you have completed. You can add projects that you have worked on with your student organizations, languages other than English and even add documents to highlight any of the data on your profile.

9. Connect with Colleagues and Expand Your Network.
Of course you should connect with your classmates, supervisors and co-workers, but do not forget to connect with those professors with whom you have worked. If you are wise, you have joined an engineering student organization. Make sure that you also join the groups of the professional organizations in your engineering discipline. Each group will be like a badge on your profile indicating your interests. After joining a group on LinkedIn, be sure to adjust your settings in the green box that shows up. There you can choose the frequency of emails that you wish to receive from your expanding network.

After the completion of these steps, take a moment to review your LinkedIn resume by viewing it as a PDF. This is a document that your network could use to help you market yourself into the next stage of your career. Don’t forget to connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/carmengamlin. I look forward to seeing you online.

One Comment

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  1. Nicole Lex / Jul 11 2013

    Your guide is wonderful! I wish I have seen it when I was a graduate and didn’t know what to do with Linkedin. Justone add from my experience – ask people you’ve worked for or even professors you’ve made you projects with to give you a recomendation – till you have not much experience, every good recomendation will work for you

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