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Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a professional networking site that serves as a real estate for your professional brand. Unlike resumes, LinkedIn provides the opportunity to expand on your value proposition and reputation without the limitations of length.

“I really need to update my LinkedIn”

“I probably should log back into LinkedIn”

Sound familiar?

The number #1 mistake professionals make is failing to keep their LinkedIn updated.

Why update it?

LinkedIn reported that 95% of recruiters on LinkedIn are mainly there to look for candidates for jobs. Having a strong LinkedIn profile will not only set you apart from others but will help recruiters find you. Below our office has broken down each section.

Overall Tips for Your LinkedIn Profile

  • Start building your Connections now if you haven’t already.
    • Connect with previous faculty members, staff, and fellow students. This is the fastest way to build your connections from 0.
    • If you don’t personally know the connection, consider engaging with their content (if applicable) and/or send a personalized connection request.
  • Remember: LinkedIn is a professional social media platform, so be sure to be professional in all encounters with others on it.
  • As you work to build your account, be sure to consistently update your information as you do more things.
  • LinkedIn is NOT just a copy/paste of your resume, there are many aspects that differ that will be discussed.
  • Before you start job searching, it is important to ensure that your profile is completely filled out.

Profile Picture Your photo should be appropriate and on-brand with your desired industry. A student photo that is wishing to pursue a career in a corporate accounting firm may look different than a student targeting tech start-ups.

Common Etiquette

  • Make sure you are the only person in the photo – no group photos!
  • Remember to wear attire that is on brand with your target industry
  • Think of the picture like a yearbook photo: upper torso and above

Need a professional headshot made? Our office offers a FREE photo booth.

Banner (Cover Photo) Similar to a cover photo on Facebook, a banner is an image that nests behind your profile picture. There are two common photo types you can place behind it:

  1. A photo that aligns with your background, Ex: UT, Knoxville photo (Smokey has a picture from the CCDAE)
  2. Create a Custom Banner using a 3rd party software like (Canva – it’s FREE and has templates). Taking this approach allows you to determine what information is listed in the photo (list things like major, professional interests, etc.)
Profile URL LinkedIn affords you the opportunity to customize your profile URL. Having an easy and accessible Profile URL makes it easy to list on documents, your Resume. Doing this can also help others find your account easier.

Steps to Change it

  1. Go to your account
  2. Click “Edit public profile & URL”
  3. Under “Edit your custom URL” click the pencil and change
    1. Best Practice: FirstName-LastName
Headline Crafting a strong headline is a hidden feature many LinkedIn users do NOT take advantage of. The platform grants you the ability to use up 220 characters for desktop and 240 for mobile users. Here are some helpful examples that can help you get started:

  • Aspiring Digital Marketing Professional | Passionate about using analytics and data to improve organic reach \\ UT, Knoxville Marketing BBA Student
    • Aspiring [Your Field of Study] Professional | Passionate about [Your Area of Interest] \\ (school, major)
  • Emerging Software Developer | Skilled in using Java Apps and C++ Servers | Seeking Software Development 2023 Summer Internships to Strengthen Skillset \\ Current UT, Knoxville Computer Science Student

Which profile would you click on first:

“Computer Science Student at UTK” OR “Emerging Software Developer | Skilled in using Java Apps and C++ Servers | Seeking Software Development 2023 Summer Internships to Strengthen Skillset \\ Current UT, Knoxville Computer Science Student”

Having a strong headline makes it easier for recruiters to find. Think about it: Recruiters search through 100s of profiles while sourcing for candidates. They are more likely to click on a profile with a more detailed headline than one with the standard: Major, University of Tennessee Knoxville

Adding/Updating Location  Be sure that your location is set up in the region you are job searching for. Are you an out-of-state student looking for positions in your hometown of Lexington, Kentucky? Make sure to update your location, as having a location listed can increase your profile views up to 19x more.
Featured Section This section can be used for a multitude of different resources. You can highlight high-performing posts, website/virtual portfolios, news articles written about you, and so many more. Depending on how you are optimizing your profile, use this section as an opportunity to showcase your abilities.
About Section  Think of this section as a way to talk about your experience, skills, abilities, and your overview brand. Try using this section as a way to tell your professional story. Most recruiters and hiring managers agree they should be around 3 paragraphs.
Experience Section  Be sure to include up-to-date information in this section. Unlike resumes, it is okay to use personal pronouns like I in this section. Doing this can help make your experience seem more personal.

Also, LinkedIn allows users to put quickly access skills for each experience. Be sure to include these as they help recruiters quickly identify what skill set they bring for the role.

Education Section  Be sure to include the University of Tennessee, Knoxville here. When listing your degree program, be sure to include the official name. Ex: Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing

You can also include your high school if desired, but it is not a requirement to include it.

Activities and societies: add clubs, organizations, or any campus involvement you had.

Description: Add GPA (if above 3.0), minors, and/or relevant awards/accomplishments.

Licenses & Certifications Earning a certification in one of your courses? Add it to this section. You can also add any relevant licenses/certifications you have earned in this section.

If you complete any LinkedIn Learning Courses they can also be added to this section. As a UT, Knoxville, you receive a free membership to access these courses. Link to learn more about the pairing/accessing process.

Recommendations  This section offers an opportunity to have others vouch for your workability. Consider having previous professors, supervisors, or relevant staff members at the university. Doing this can help strengthen your credibility, thus aiding you to stand out.
Other Sections  LinkedIn offers many different sections like Volunteering, Projects, and many more! Continue to build your account as you gather more experience.

Need Inspiration? Follow Smokey on LinkedIn

Networking Tips

Before you network, here are some common terms:

  • Connect: means to essentially friend a person
  • Follow: allows you to see a person’s posts/articles without connecting with them

Networking Etiquette

Networking IS….. 

  • Learning about a person’s professional experience
  • Respecting someone’s time
  • Building a professional relationship
  • A opportunity to seek professional advice
  • Potentially a way to find a mentor

Networking is NOT…….

  • Asking for job
  • Being too pushy with requests
  • A interaction where you aimless send resumes off
  • A place to be unprofessional/too personal
  • Only done when looking for jobs

When networking always remember this: Give before you ask.

General Tips

  • Show a genuine interest in their career or work
    • Doing this helps communicate you are talking with them
  • Target: find professionals within the field, typically a few years ahead of you in the workforce
    • While aiming for aspirational connections like C-Suite Executives can work, it takes a lot of dedication/consistently and oftentimes ends with no response
  • Find something on their profile that interests you. Thinks to look for:
    • Check to see if they are alumni of UT, Knoxville
    • Work at the same company at one point?
    • Studied the same major in college?
      • Doing this pre-research helps you break the ice upon contact

Networking Strategy #1

  • Follow-up with those you meet at professional events by connecting with a personalized message on LinkedIn within 24-48 hours after the event
    • Job fairs, networking socials, meet & greets, career panels are all examples of great events to do this with
    • Not only does grow your network fast, it also helps build an encounter into a professional relationship

Networking Strategy #2

  • Identify aspirational professionals (those who hold your desire career) and/or work at desired companies and give them a follow to engage with future content
    • Start liking and commenting on posts, and after a week or so send a personalized connection request
    • Pro Tip: if you are aiming to work at a certain company and department, follow/connect with the recruiters who serve those roles and those who work in the department

Networking Strategy #3

  • Join LinkedIn groups
    • LinkedIn offers a wide slate of different groups of varying industries. This can be a great way to meet and greet other professionals

Networking Strategy #4

  • Actively engage in comment sections
    • Joining conversations happening in comment sections

Networking Strategy #5

  • Make posts to build your presence on the platform. Simple post ideas:
    • End of semester reflections
    • Attending job fairs, conferences, etc.
    • Class presentations
  • Consistently posting helps show recruiters, hiring managers, and other professionals learn what you do

If you need any help with creating your LinkedIn profile or going over how to effectively network on there, feel free to schedule an appointment with your career coach on Handshake.