By Stephanie Snowden, Student Recruitment Officer CPABC
It is never too early for university students to create a LinkedIn Profile. As an accounting student in particular, it is critical for you to have a polished online presence if you intend to do co-op terms or go through the public practice recruitment process. Below are some tips to help you maximize your employment potential:
1. Take a professional photo
The profile picture you have for other social media accounts should not be the same as your LinkedIn account. An appropriate photo should:
- Be taken at the waist or shoulders
- Feature only you (do not have other people in the picture)
- Be taken when you are dressed in business attire
- Be in focus
If you do not have a professional photo you can either take one with your iPhone or camera in front of a neutral background or you can have it taken by a photographer. Hint: Many CPABC events, such as the Employer Showcase and Speed Interview Nights, have LinkedIn photo booths (for free)!
2. Fill in as many sections as possible
While your resume should only be two pages maximum, your LinkedIn profile can contain as much information as you like. Make sure you fill in as many sections as possible and update it when you have new information to add.
3. Use keywords and phrases in your job descriptions
You can improve your search engine optimization by adding keywords and phrases to your own job and volunteer descriptions. To do this, look through job postings online and try to match your wording (if applicable to your own experience).
4. Follow the companies you are interested in
Many organizations use LinkedIn as a platform to post jobs and other opportunities on. Follow companies that you are interested in and these posts will show up on your feed. Hint: if you are going through spring or fall recruit, many public practice firms will post when their open houses are being held or key details about job application dates.
5. Share, post, and comment frequently
Being active in the LinkedIn community can increase your online presence and provide another way to engage with future employers. For example, if an employer you are interested in posts an article, you can use this as an opportunity to engage in online conversation.
6. Send personalized messages to people you connect with
After meeting someone at a networking event, make sure you ask for their business card and connect with them through LinkedIn within 24 hours. When you send your request to be added to their network, ensure that you include a personal message. This message should mention: where you met them and details from your conversation (if appropriate).
Tip: Do not send LinkedIn requests to people you have not spoken to. Many individuals will not add you back if they do not know who you are.
7. Request an endorsement
Just like Yelp reviews, employers like to know that other people recommend your work. Ask previous employers, colleagues from school, professors, or someone you volunteered with for their assistance.
Tip: One way to obtain endorsements is to give endorsements. If you notice a colleague does not have any endorsements, provide them with one; chances are they will feel compelled to return the favour.
8. Be truthful
It should go without saying that the information you present about yourself online should be accurate and truthful. Employers are changing the ways they interview by adding skill-testing elements to their process; as such, they will be able to tell early on whether or not you possess the abilities you say you have. Be truthful from the start to avoid embarrassment.