LinkedIn – a virtual resume

Unlike a paper resume, your LinkedIn profile provides a greater opportunity to tell your story and who you are.

LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest professional networks on the Internet. As of August 2013, LinkedIn has more than 238 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Students and recent college graduates make up LinkedIn’s fasting growing demographic, with a total of 30 million.  Have you LinkedIn to this tool to make connections, expand your network, learn about careers, uncover the hidden job market, search for work and accomplish your professional goals?  

A LinkedIn account begins with developing a profile. Michigan State University Extension says to think of your profile as a virtual resume. It contains the following traditional resume sections: experience, education, skills and expertise, volunteer experience, interests, and honors and awards. The same rules in developing a paper resume apply in completing these sections.

  • Watch your grammar and spelling
  • Always list your greatest strengths first
  • Make sure to show your accomplishments, awards and honors
  • Use relevant key words

Every word in your profile is keyword searchable. The search function allows employers and others to find people with certain types of experience, classifications, education and vice versa. Your profile is where you market yourself and share your successes so people will want to connect with you professionally.

The first item that appears in your profile is your headline. It is also the only item people see unless they choose to click on your details. A typical headline includes your name, your current employer and the position you hold. Consider enticing people to want to find out more information about you by including how you can help them.  If you are a job seeker or student, your headline should include a concise well-crafted objective where you state the position you are seeking. You only have approximately 100 characters to include in your headline, so the words you choose can make a lasting impression.

Unlike a paper resume, your LinkedIn profile provides a greater opportunity to tell your story and who you are.  When your profile is completed entirely, it should be more than just dates and facts. The profile allows you to share your interests, what organizations you support and what projects you are involved in.

Also in contrast to a traditional resume, there is space for your photograph.  Most experts are in agreement that a professional headshot is recommended. Make sure to wear business attire and smile for the camera.

You can learn more about looking for work and expanding your network through Michigan 4-H Youth Development. For workshops across the state, articles and additional career preparation resources, visit MSU Extension.

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