What Employers Want to See on Your LinkedIn Profile

At this point, you’ve probably heard from friends, professors, and supervisors how important it is to have a presence on LinkedIn. Employers from all industries are now turning to LinkedIn to communicate their brand, post jobs, and, most importantly, find talent. Even if you’re not actively searching for a job or internship, having a LinkedIn profile gives you an advantage over people who don’t; employers will continue to connect with you to network, or share new opportunities you may not have been aware of, simply by being an active member of the LinkedIn community.

Understandably, creating a LinkedIn profile can be daunting if you’re just starting out. The good news is that LinkedIn makes it easy to create a profile from scratch, and their handy Profile Checklist is a solid starting point. Read below for additional tips that employers have shared with us in the Career Center on creating a strong profile.

Headline

One of the first things visitors to your profile will see is a headline, which is placed directly below your name. This headline is intended to be a few words that quickly establish your brand. If you’re a current student, it can highlight your academic status; e.g. “Accounting Major at DePaul University.” If you have a firm grasp on the type of job you want after graduation, feel free to lead with that; e.g. “Aspiring Public Relations Specialist.” For anyone currently employed in an internship or job, you can list your current position title; e.g. “Graphic Design Intern at [company name].” Regardless of your experience level, you can use the headline to quickly identify yourself to new professionals who visit your page.

Summary

The headline will only provide a quick snapshot of your professional identity, so it’s important that you take advantage of the Summary section to provide a lengthier introduction to your profile. One of the greatest benefits of a LinkedIn profile is that you can highlight as much information as you want; in other words, anything you can’t fit onto a one-page resume such as relevant courses, volunteer work, awards/recognition, etc. The summary, then, is a way for you to bring it all together.

Consider this: Introduce yourself first by talking about major/minor information, followed by some of your experiences, and concluding with the types of opportunities you’re seeking in the short-term, such as an internship or a full-time job. If you decide to pack a lot of information into your LinkedIn profile, employers will appreciate that you’ve created a summary that provides insight into the types of experiences they will find.

When browsing LinkedIn, you may notice that everyone’s summaries vary in length; some people may only use one sentence, others may have three paragraphs. A happy middle ground is ideal. The example summary included in the Profile Checklist is a good template to follow.

Skills & Expertise

This category allows you to list a variety of different keywords that describe your professional experiences and identity. LinkedIn has a pretty deep vocabulary to choose from, so if you were to type in “marketing,” you will also see more specific examples you can add to your profile such as “social media marketing,” “product marketing,” “marketing strategy,” etc. Identify keywords that are most relevant to your background and start building out this section of your profile.

The other benefit of building out this section is that anyone you’re connected with can endorse you for those skills. An endorsement from a contact is like a mini-reference; if you receive an endorsement for the skill “social media marketing,” for example, it means the contact is vouching for your expertise in that particular area. These endorsements can be a powerful way to visually represent your skills and expertise, as seen here, and to prove that not only are you saying you have these skills, but that your contacts can verify that they’ve witnessed these skills in action.

Professional Photo

Even if you are brand new to LinkedIn, it is important that you include a photo of yourself. Recent employer feedback suggests that people who don’t have a LinkedIn photo give the impression that they don’t know how to use LinkedIn. So, adding a picture right off the bat is recommended. While a professional headshot would be ideal, this isn’t always feasible to achieve quickly or cheaply. These 5 tips provide additional considerations for taking a profile picture that’s professional, whether you go the selfie route or ask a friend to snap one for you.

Next Steps

The Career Center offers two workshops dedicated to making the most of your LinkedIn presence: “LinkedIn Basics for Job Searching” and “Leveraging LinkedIn: Using Your Profile to Create Results.” You can search for workshops on DePaul Handshake through the “Events” tab.

Alternatively, you can meet with your career advisor to learn how to customize a profile for your industry of interest. With more and more employers turning to LinkedIn as a hiring tool, we can share tips to help you stand out from the crowd.

College Hiring For Class of 2016

By: Tara Golenberke, marketing professional in the education industry, and former digital media & marketing manager at the DePaul Career Center

Preparing for life after DePaul, can you imagine it? Let us paint you a picture.

You’re decked out in your new work gear, clutching a portfolio that houses years of experience – The daily grind, the kindled dreams, the future goals and the pool of new connections. You’re ready for the job interview, and you’re confident knowing that the college-hiring outlook is, well, killer.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2016 report, employers plan to hire 11 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2016 for their U.S. operations than they did from the Class of 2015.

Not only is U.S. hiring going to increase for 2016 graduates, but respondents recruiting for positions outside of the U.S. also expect to increase hiring, based on report findings.

The final quarter is in full swing, and the reality of preparing for life after college is sinking in for this year’s graduating seniors. Fortunately, graduates, the job market is looking bright.

Degrees in Demand

Regardless of degree level, graduates of the business, engineering, computer and information sciences categories are most in demand, based on the report. Top degrees in demand by broad category include business, engineering, computer and information sciences, math and sciences, communications, and social sciences.

“Within the humanities disciplines, liberal arts/general studies majors are most in demand, with 94 percent of respondents indicating they will hire these graduates,” noted the report.

If your degree category or major is not listed among the “in demand,” don’t fret, as recruiters do not evaluate candidates based on this criterion alone.

What Employers Are Looking For

Work Experience

There is no question that employers consider work experience when hiring college graduates. According to the report, a very small pool of respondents – only 6.3 percent to be exact – said that work experience does not factor into their hiring decisions. Rather, a whopping 91% of respondents preferred to hire candidates with some type of work experience under their belt.

GPA Screening

According to the report, 69.3 percent of recruiters will screen candidates from the 2016 class, and a little over 70 percent of employers who plan to screen candidates by GPA will use a cutoff of 3.0. Although GPA has a strong influence, so do other factors including leadership skills, participation in extracurricular activities and written and verbal communications skills.

Power of Social Media

The trend of utilizing technology in the recruiting process ceases to waver. The report stated, “more than half of the respondents to this year’s survey plan to use more social networks and/or more technology in general in their recruiting methods.” Maintaining a professional online presence is more important than ever.

Career Exploration at DePaul

No matter where you are in your career search, whether it’s finding the right career path, arranging a portfolio, landing an internship or preparing for your first job interview, the DePaul Career Center is here to support you. Allow our advisors and professionals to share their wealth of knowledge about today’s employers and the strategies and tools you need to impress and ultimately achieve your career goals. Learn more about the Career Center and start connecting with alumni and employers today.


UPDATE: NACE just released new projections based on the Job Outlook 2016 Spring Update survey, which was conducted from February 10 – March 22, 2016. Employers now expect to hire 5.2% more graduates this year compared to the 11% they projected earlier. They also found the average number of job postings for the 2015-16 recruiting year is down compared to the 2014-15 year. You can find more projections based on the spring survey, here.

So far, the DePaul University Career Center has seen a 22% increase in the number of job postings this recruiting year over last. Visit Handshake to apply for jobs posted. The Career Center plans to monitor these projections as well as employer activity to continue to best serve DePaul students and their career search.