Many college students search for ways to set themselves apart from their classmates. With limited and seemingly unrelated experiences as an undergraduate, it can be difficult to find common themes and threads to convey to an employer. Defining your personal brand, and creating a platform that confidently articulates that brand, is a great start to succinctly portraying your skills and abilities during a job search. One key resource for promoting and maintaining your brand, is something you might already use, but may not be maximizing its full potential: LinkedIn. Below are three easy ways to define and promote your personal brand using LinkedIn.
Personalize your Headline & Summary
If your headline currently reads, “sophomore at X University” you need to be more unique. Having a bland headline tells a potential employer nothing about your skills, experience, and unique abilities. Try using some other unique qualifiers, such as your specific major, or research you are focused on. If you have a clear idea of where you want to apply, state what types of opportunities you’re seeking:
- Journalist and Blogger seeking opportunities in news media
- Studio Art major, focusing on ceramics & digital photography
- Environmental Studies Major and GIS Researcher
- Market Research Student by day; Fashion Blogger by night
View this Muse article for more ideas!
Similarly, the summary needs to pack the same unique punch. Try using first person and talking about your skills and strengths by telling a story. See some great examples from The Muse. Your summary should show you are a unique human being, highlight your interests and strengths, and serve as an “elevator pitch” of sorts where you can briefly articulate how all of your seemingly unrelated activities, internships, and classroom experiences combine to make you a great candidate for your industry of interest!
Don’t limit yourself to the bounds of your resume and just copy and paste. LinkedIn allows you to add content such as newspaper articles you’ve written or articles that describe events you helped organize, you can add photography, examples of advertisements, writing samples, and more! Think of your LinkedIn as your own personal website and add as much content as you can. Of course, keep in mind, this content should be relevant to the experience they are attached to, as well as relevant to the opportunities you’re searching for.
Join the conversation
Don’t stop at perfecting your individual page – join the LinkedIn community! Students should join their institution’s alumni network, various professional organizations of interest, national collegiate organizations such as sororities, and follow companies of interest. In addition to following the news, contribute your point of view! Creating blogs on LinkedIn is one way to share your point of view, but also commenting on other posts or sharing content can be a great way to show your network you are keeping up with the industry and have a unique perspective to share.