Is Your LinkedIn Profile Ready for Networking?

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Katie Smith, Assistant Director, Duke University Career Center

Thumbnail You made a LinkedIn profile, but now what? Are you ready for networking?

Take these steps to be sure that your profile is strong, professional, and represents you well to prospective employers, network connections, and others in your field!

1. Do you have a professional photo?
LinkedIn is not a place for selfies and party pictures with your friend cropped out. Make sure your LinkedIn picture is a picture of just you and is appropriate for a professional setting. It’s a good idea to ask a staff member, a faculty member, or an honest friend whether your picture is a suitable professional representation of you!

2. Do you have a strong heading?
When you appear in search results, your heading is the first thing that appears under your name. “Student at Duke University” might be seem like the easy way out, but it doesn’t set you apart from thousands of others who fit that same descriptor. Instead, consider listing a leadership position, or an internship position title for your heading. Better yet, create a 6-word professional story to use as a creative and personalize descriptor.

3. Have you customized your URL?
If you have a strong LinkedIn profile, you can share the URL on social media, in your email signature, and even on your resume. You can edit your URL by pushing the profile “edit” button, and then editing the URL link found right under your picture.

4. What’s your summary?
Students often overlook the summary text box, but this is the opportunity to tell your unique story in a way that highlights what’s important to you. Telling a story that sets you apart, articulating your strengths or skills, and communicating your goals are all appropriate ways to use this section effectively. Still not sure what to write? Check out others’ profiles for ideas!

5. Are you sharing media?
Do you have a picture of your engineering project or a PowerPoint of a great presentation that you gave? The LinkedIn platform allows you to share multimedia that documents your work and your skills, making your profile more visually appealing and interactive than a printed resume could ever be.

6. Who’s in your network?
LinkedIn is most effective if you are using it for its powerful networking capability! Connect with people you’ve worked with in the past, your friends, family members, classmates, professors, staff, people you meet at conferences, etc. etc. Joining groups is a great way to quickly build your network as well. Be sure to check out the Duke University Alumni Network group, other Duke-affiliated groups, as well as those relevant to your professional interests to start!

7. Post relevant content!
To increase your level of activity and interaction with connections, post articles, blog entries, and other resources relevant to your fields and interests. Sharing information and content will inspire discussion and will help you to remain well connected and visible to your network.

Be sure to check out LinkedIn’s page for students to learn more about using maximizing the site’s student-oriented features and entry-level job boards.

For questions about how to make your LinkedIn profile stronger or learning how to use it as an effective networking tool, be sure to visit the Career Center during drop-in advising or by setting up an appointment by calling our office at 919-660.1050.