Having a LinkedIn account is almost becoming a necessity these days. Companies all over the US look up job candidates and/or post jobs on LinkedIn. It is a great social platform to network with other professionals, look for jobs and provide companies a little more insight into you that they may not see on a resume.
This can be particularly important for international students, since it is often difficult to find companies that hire international students and even fewer that are willing to sponsor H1B visas. That is why it is even more important for international students to stand out and present themselves thoroughly. So, here are some tips to help make your LinkedIn profile stand out.
Have a professional profile picture
Profiles with pictures are more likely to be seen and it is always nice to be able to put a face to a resume. The profile picture should look professional and only have you in the picture. It is also important that the picture be current, within the last few years unless you have changed a lot since then.
Ask for recommendations
Having recommendations looks great on a profile page and strengthens your overall content. Ask your co-workers, classmates, advisors, professors and/or bosses to write a positive recommendation on your LinkedIn page.
You don’t need to have many network connections to reach LinkedIn’s All-Star level profile, but they are important for a strong LinkedIn and to get the most out of this social platform. Start by networking with classmates and professors. When asking people to be your connection, write your own message and include how you met them or a personal message. Do not use the standard connection request.
Write a strong headline
Think carefully about what you write for your headline and summary. Your headline does not have to be your title and is not recommended to use a title if you are looking for a job or that you are currently a student. Instead try to write something that showcases your value, speciality or where you want to be.
Have a clear and concise summary
Your summary is a description of who you are and what you want to be. What makes you stand out? Highlight your passions, key skills and other unique experience or talents you have that will set you apart. Ideally your summary should be short, a few paragraphs. Using bullets when listing out skills or other lists makes your summary visually appealing and easier to read.
Showcase your talents
LinkedIn allows your to add portfolio/website links, and also allows you to showcase photos, videos, presentations, or links to files to your profile summary. This allows employers to see your skills and the different projects you have worked on. It is also a great way to show off your talents!
List your talents/skills and get endorsements
Another way to show off your talents/skills is to list them in the skills section on your LinkedIn profile. To strengthen this section get people you know and work with to endorse your skills. You can list a number of skills, but focus on your most relevant skills. You don’t want the people viewing your profile to only see your outdated skills first and potentially not even see your newest skills.
List all your degrees and job experience
For your education, you should write a brief summary for the university/degree listed. What did you study, did your minor, were your involved in any organizations or honor societies? For your job experience, write a brief description and include the various projects you worked on and what responsibilities you had.
Add a background image
LinkedIn profiles that include background images receive more views and get better response rates. It is not that had to add one and it can make a big impact.
Fill out as much information as possible
LinkedIn provides many other areas that you can fill out: volunteer work, interests, contact information, your Twitter handle, accomplishments and more. The more you can fill out the better. Just don’t go too far back when listing accomplishments or volunteer work. They don’t need to know what awards you received in middle school.
Another important thing about LinkedIn is to remember to update your profile page: change your profile picture, add new job experiences, etc. Don’t just fill it out and let it sit there. Update and revise it. It is a living profile, not like a hard-copy resume which only has to be updated when you are looking for a job. LinkedIn is a social media platform, so it is beneficial to go and be active on it. Happy job hunting!
Need to ship your OPT application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office? UEMS allows international students to quickly and securely send their important documents at discounted shipping rates. It’s completely free to sign-up if you do not already have an account!