It’s hard to deny that internships are important for succeeding after the bubble of “college life” pops and you need to find a job after graduation. Planning ahead and getting work experience is the best way to avoid the dreaded question, “So what do you want to do with your life?” One way to start the internship process is to create a flashy LinkedIn profile that makes your counselor experience look more professional than the reality of spending summers making friendship bracelets and hanging out with your friends. Here are a few tips that will make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the rest of the pack.
Be Sure to Include a Summary
You have the opportunity to add a summary of yourself, your skills, education and interests on the top of your profile. It will be the first thing those who look at your profile will see, so it is important that it is well-worded, succinct and adds to your professionalism. Providing a brief summary of your skills and how you established those skills through your work, life or academic experiences is helpful to employers if your work experience is on the lighter side. If you were an athlete in college or high school, this taught you how to work with others as well as providing you with leadership skills if you were a captain. If there is an achievement of yours you want to highlight, the summary is a great place to put it for those who will just skim your profile because it will be at the very top.
Publish Personal Posts
This is something my boss encouraged me to do in order to make my profile look more professional. Especially in the staffing industry, people are constantly looking at LinkedIn profiles and publishing your own personal posts will give those viewers a more personal experience on your page. You can write about whatever you want and your connections will all get a notification when it is published. This is a way to improve and even show off your writing skills for a larger audience than just professors, classmates or parents. The people who will be reading your posts are professionals who share the same interests that you are writing about, so have fun and write about something you’re passionate about!
If Your Internship is Paid, Avoid the Word “Intern” in Your Experience
If you receive an internship with a company that is paying you, you don’t have to include the word “Intern” in your title. They are paying you to come in and perform a service for them as a contract employee. You will no doubt learn a lot and gain that “work experience” every job seems to require. Work with your boss or supervisor on an appropriate title that encapsulate the duties you will perform
Being in a Club Can Count as Work Experience
Just because you put your name on the email lists of all the clubs at your school during the club fair because they were giving away candy does not make you a part of them. However, if you acted on the executive board of a club you can put that down as work experience. I was the Vice President of Public Relations for the Women in Business club at my school and made an effort to highlight that experience on my profile. It does not matter that I was volunteering my own time to be on the e-board, I was performing the duties of a PR professional and that counts! I also wrote for and managed the social media for the chapter of Her Campus at my school, again unpaid. Gaining experience in scheduling posts, editing articles and connecting with other chapters as well as the student body at my school IS work experience.
Here is a screenshot of my “work experience” on my profile. Only one of these positions is paid but the way that I described my experience in the clubs I joined for fun creates a more professional and legitimate looking LinkedIn.
Volunteer Work Should Be Noted
Volunteering shows that you are a well-rounded individual and can help you connect with potential employers by showing that you carry the same values as their company. My older sister wanted to get into event planning but had no paid work experience in the field. However, she had volunteered with an organization at her school and helped plan a charity event open to the school and to the public. The organization is a well-recognized non-profit, so adding that experience to her profile increased her credibility and added to her background.
Notice how instead of writing that she was a volunteer, she used the term “Contract” after the title of “Event Planner” for the organization. Adding the word contract means that she was not taken on full time in the company, she was working for them for an allotted period of time, and then stopped. You can use this term for volunteering experience as well as internships.
I hope these tips help improve your LinkedIn experience!