How to Beef up Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the name of the game when it comes to getting noticed and getting hired, and in this weeks Podcast episode, we tell you exactly how to get the most out of it. If you’re looking for your first job in tech, your profile and LinkedIn interactions are an effective tool at taking the steps into your next opportunity!


Transcript:

Networking is an important part of getting a job. Within that is the need to connect with potential future employers and future team members. LinkedIn is an incredible tool to do this.

Welcome to Effectively Human, where we discuss how to close a knowledge gap between technology and the people who use it. Each week your host, Morgan Lopes will share real life practical tools on how to bridge the gap. Let’s jump in

I [00:00:30] get it. LinkedIn isn’t cool. It’s not where all of the fun kids are hanging out. But in the business world today I found few things that compare with the value of LinkedIn to grow your network and get a job.

The first thing that we’re gonna talk about as it relates to LinkedIn: Building out your profile.

Your profile is [00:01:00] the number one way to represent yourself online. So we’re gonna talk about a couple of tips that can be really helpful to level up your profile and signal to potential employers or team members that you’re a pretty good bet.

The first thing is your profile picture. Many people choose to hide their profile picture in order to avoid bias or any form of discrimination. I’m not trying to convince you to change your opinion there but I will say if you are going to have a profile picture that is available to potential contacts [00:01:30] or contacts in your network, then that should be a good one. It should be a representative picture of you but quality profile pictures really stand out.

The next is what LinkedIn calls your headline.

This is one maybe two sentences that describe a little bit about you. This isn’t your description. This little blurb appears right beside your profile photo and your name and a contact request or when somebody looks you up on LinkedIn. As [00:02:00] you think through writing a good headline it’s important to be very clear and very concise. This isn’t the place where you want to get super clever and kind of obscure your desires your interests and what you want. If you are looking to get a job, a clear well-defined headline is a great place to start. Because when employers look you up or you reach out to them, this is one of the only opportunities you get to share with them a little bit about yourself. Let’s not waste it.

I’ll [00:02:30] give an example of a good headline here. Let’s say you’re a software engineer you recently graduated from code school and you really want a job in education technology. So maybe working for a school system or online content that’s something in the education space. There’s a lot of really clever ways to share that in a headline. What I would encourage you to do is write something to the effect of: software engineer pursuing ed tech opportunities. Write [00:03:00] software engineer pursuing education technology something that is very clear. What do you do and what kind of work do you want? Now you could also add an adjective or two within there. So, solution oriented software engineer something like that can be fine. But keep in mind the more words that you add don’t necessarily help employers understand more.We consume so much information online. Clarity is key.

All right now let’s talk about past employment [00:03:30] on your LinkedIn profile.

If you’re transitioning outside of technology you might be a little reluctant to build this part of your profile out because it seems like you don’t have any relevant experience. But a great way of solving this is actually using the description of each job or role that you’ve had and talk about what you accomplished in those areas. Early on, when I was in college I was actually working at Home Depot in the garden center. Very basic job not very complicated. The demands of the job weren’t too intense. [00:04:00] However a big thing about a role like that is customer service. And so in my description I could add a note about helping customers solve their problems when it came to home repairs and make it more about the value that I delivered, rather than just I restock shelves when the new truck came in.

It’s all about how you position your past experience to align with new opportunities. And so using the past employment section of your LinkedIn profile to [00:04:30] share takeaways and your contributions within each role and within each title can be a helpful thing for employers as they skim through your past experience.

Now the last thing that we’re going to touch on is about making new connections on LinkedIn.

There’s a lot of ways on LinkedIn to look up new people and get connected to extend your network. One of the first groups to connect with, especially if you’ve gone through code school is fellow code school students. Once you’ve [00:05:00] gone through and connected with all the students in your cohort I would go through and connect with the teachers. This could be direct teachers maybe who are focused on your cohort. It could be the owners of the code school. It could also be teachers from other cohorts or other parts of the code school that you’re a part of every one of those people is incentivized to connect with you and help further your reach because when people in their coach school thrive they thrive as well. And it makes their job a lot easier.

So don’t feel too reluctant [00:05:30] simply because, well they’re the head of this or the director of this or the manager of this and I don’t really know them yet. LinkedIn is a safe place to make those initial connections and especially when they see that you’re a part of the school that they represent more often than not they’re going to accept.

All right once you’ve connected with fellow people in your cohort and then you’ve connected with people kind of above you or ahead of you in school, I would encourage you to connect to the alumni of that code school. These are people months or [00:06:00] years earlier where exactly where you are today reaching out making those connections to the alumni is an easy way again to extend your network but then also you can see what kind of jobs did they get when they left school. It’s an easy way to build your network. And again they understand and they empathize with your current season of life. In most cases they’ll accept your connection.

All right. And the last group to be mindful of when it comes to LinkedIn connections building your network on LinkedIn is hiring managers [00:06:30].

Many codes school students and graduates will wait until hiring managers and recruiters reach out to them. But if you have a clean headshot or profile picture if you’ve really ironed out that headline about yourself and then begin reaching out to these hiring managers and recruiters it is a great way of getting connected to them and moving yourself higher and higher up their list. For each of these groups when you make a connection request leave them a note. It [00:07:00] doesn’t have to be long it doesn’t to be complicated but leaving a note not only pairs well with the connection request but then also is a great way of kicking off a conversation.

I get about 100 connection requests a month on LinkedIn and the ones that leave a note are more likely to get an actual connection and in most cases I’ll actually read it. If you’ve done the work of connecting to people in your cohort connecting to people within your school, connecting to the alumni of that school. Now [00:07:30] all of a sudden when you start reaching out to people outside of your network at other organizations the odds that you have shared connections also goes up. So when most people are looking through their LinkedIn connection requests if they have shared contacts and there is some context to their request the odds of getting an accepted connection continue to go up.

As you’re making these connections and growing your network I would encourage you to think about writing posts on LinkedIn.

This [00:08:00] could be takeaways and learning from code school. This could be maybe the step by step breakdown of you looking for a job but LinkedIn prioritizes recent connections in regards to who sees your content. And so as you’re making these new connections and decide to share stuff thoughts ideas inspiration takeaways on LinkedIn, more and more people will see that content and have exposure to you while you look for a job.

There you have it. LinkedIn is a powerful [00:08:30] tool when looking for a job and transitioning into tech especially leaving code school. I hope you can take a couple of these nuggets and implement them as you’re on the job hunt. This is not going to solve all of your problems but it is one or two steps in the right direction to make yourself more accessible and help others see you and understand where you fit in their journey.

Thanks [00:09:00] for listening to Effectively Human. Want to join in on the conversation? Submit your questions on effectivelyhuman.tech to hear them on the show and of course subscribe so you never miss a beat.

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