Perfecting Your LinkedIn Profile

Perfecting Your LinkedIn Profile

By Eve Miller

Your LinkedIn profile will likely be the first place recruiters look when you apply for a job. They’ll be asking themselves things such as, “Is this person active on LinkedIn?” “Are they showing interest in news about their career and field?” Recruiters and hiring managers are trying to find things you normally wouldn’t learn with just a resume.

With this in mind, it’s essential to stay up to date with your LinkedIn and start one as soon as possible if you haven’t already. It can be daunting to figure out what to do with your profile as there are a variety of different features, and everyone’s page seems to look different. Instead of spending hours mindlessly searching for what you want, follow these five simple steps and get ahead on job searching.

  1. Have A Good Headshot

Learn how to take a good headshot. While it may not seem like a big thing, headshots can help you stand out among some of the competition. Looking professional gives you the upper hand and lets your future employer know you take yourself and your career seriously. 

It doesn’t have to be a big production with lights and a fancy camera.  Just putting on a nice shirt and having a friend help you take a photo in front of a neutral background can make the difference between the ominous blank gray circle and a nice friendly headshot.

  1. Look For Connections

Sync your contacts. Just do it. Even those people from high school that you never spoke a word to outside of a group presentation can get a connection request. Most people who at least know your name are willing to connect and as that number of connections goes up, so will your job search network.

LinkedIn’s goal is to show that you are always three people away from knowing everyone. Utilize your first connections to make more with second or third connections. This is a great way to network and is almost as effortless as scrolling through your phone on social media. You’ll be able to see how many alumni, friends and other connections you know that work at the companies where you want to apply. 

“You never know who may be the ‘in’ to getting you your future job.”

-Eve Miller

  1. Gain Badges And Skills

It’s time-consuming, it’s painful, but it’s useful. The skills tests LinkedIn offers are an amazing way to start building your LinkedIn profile and demonstrating you are kick starting your career. The quizzes take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes and even allow you to narrow down your job search because it gives you more accurate suggestions based on the skill tests you’ve taken.

  1. Engage With Others

Just like we tell our clients, you must be active on social media. Engaging with your following by liking, commenting and reposting shows that you aren’t on LinkedIn just to find jobs. Engaging is a great way to participate in your industry more generally. You want your future employer to know that you care about the people you connect with and follow. This shows that you’re invested in your career and aren’t just in it for the money, but that you genuinely enjoy what you do.

  1. Cold Messaging 

Cold messaging is tedious and something that is debated. The truth is, it works 50% of the time. Cold messaging job recruiters or even people within your field who have your dream job is not only a smart way to gain connections but also helps you find out more about your career.

Asking questions about how others landed their current job, or even asking why they got into the career, helps you better understand the field you’re entering. If you’re lucky, it can end in an interview for a job. It’s not guaranteed that a cold message  will lead to an interview, but it’s a step in the right direction as you connect with more people and apply for jobs.

LinkedIn doesn’t have to be as scary as logging into Facebook for the first time. It can be simple, easy and helpful for networking and learning more about your career. These five simple tips take no longer than twenty minutes a day and can make your profile look like you are already a professional.
Remember, connect with everyone you may come into contact with, it could create opportunities that didn’t exist before. That being said, connect with me on LinkedIn. 🙂

Let’s Talk Professional Communication!

Up Your Email Game Today!

By Skylar Trostinsky

If you’ve ever met me in person, you know I have quite the personality. It’s much easier for me (and many other professionals) to talk with someone face-to-face. This way we can effectively spread information, view body language, and make connections! Alas, this now virtual world has been inundated with digital communication and that means we must learn how to be professional in person and through text, too. 

Communicating with an agency, client or representative can be a daunting task. Do you keep it dim and straight to the point? Or do you add a bit of flare and personality? I mean, you want to express who you are, especially when you work in public relations, right? With a semester of email chains, project delegation and more under my belt, I have learned a few tips and tricks for communicating online. 

  1. Set Goals for Emails 

Staying organized is key to receiving useful documents and information. Before typing emails to agencies, clients or coworkers it’s important to set goals within the communication chain. That person is just as busy as you, so do them and yourself a favor by creating an outline of who you are writing to, what you need from the recipient and what you want them to respond with.

  1. Use Your Subject Line!

When considering the workload your recipient may be dealing with, it’s imperative to use brief, catchy subjects that include keywords. With this, your reader will know exactly what to expect when clicking on your email or maybe even be tempted to respond. 

  1. Be Clear and Concise 

Avoid using an excessive amount of words in emails, especially when providing instructions. Separate thoughts, questions and suggestions with paragraph breaks, bullet points, etc. to highlight information. This also allows recipients to quickly skim through text and find their to-do’s! 

Utilize appropriate punctuation and refrain from using ALL CAPS. Although it’s OK to bold and capitalize some notes, you never want the addressee to feel like you are shouting at them. 

  1. Be Polite and Be Yourself 

Here comes the question of whether personality is necessary, or appropriate, in an email chain. Although clarity and conciseness are imperative aspects to communication, you should never hide your character from anyone! It’s just critical that you remain professional and consistent with a soft, inviting tone. Check out READCITY’s “5 Clever Ways To Give Your Business Emails Personality” for more tips.

  1. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

As a PR professional, one of the worst things you can do when communicating with other experts is to send emails without reading them over. Typos may send negative messages about you or your organization and generally come off as unprofessional. 

A way to make sure your emails are grammatically correct and have been spell checked is by writing them in a separate document first. Doing this has helped me draft numerous messages, with different formats to ultimately choose which version will best convey my points. 

“Although clarity and conciseness are imperative aspects to communication, you should never hide your character from anyone! It’s just critical that you remain professional and consistent with a soft, inviting tone.”

-Skylar Trostinsky

Professional communication doesn’t end in email chains! Further your credibility, express yourself and improve relationships by taking skills such as goal setting, clarity and politeness to group and one-on-one meetings. Email away!

Resources: 

Tips For Professional Emails

Effective Email Communication In The Workplace

How To Photograph For An Interview

By Thalia Avila

Great news! You just finished an interview, but now you need to add a photo to complete the story. Snapping a great photograph of a subject can seem intimidating at first, but fear no more. I hope that after reading this blog, your confidence will boost and intimidation will no longer be a factor.

Before you begin the photo session, start out with an email. Remember, email etiquette is important and needs to have a professional tone, clear wording with direct questions. The next step will be to set a date for the interview. After finishing up the interview, make sure to spend five minutes at the end to set a time and location for the photo session. 

If the subject is being photographed outside, the element of time is your best friend! Make sure to schedule the session in the early morning or evening to get the best lighting possible. As the subject is being photographed, make sure to keep the conversation comfortable and flowing. Ask your subject about their hobbies and interests. If their kids are brought up in the conversation and they smile, keep them talking! Observe how your subject reacts when asked how they feel about coming home to their dog or cat later. Always be mindful of the subject of the story. Integrate humor if it is appropriate, and always create a welcoming environment for your subject. 

Be mindful of your subject’s time and schedule. Photo sessions should only last about 30 minutes. Within the 30 minute window, you will want to capture as many different angles and positions possible. Do not hesitate to ask your subject to move to another bench or place in order to get the best landscape in the background or lighting. To wrap things up, make sure to thank them for their time.

Always follow up immediately after your session.  Start to sort through the photos right away to immediately eliminate the bad ones. Narrow it down to 10 photos and then five.  Once you have five great photos, make sure to send them to your subject. Sometimes the subject will pick two or three photos they are stuck with and will let you decide from those. Lightly edit the photo of their choosing if they have any concerns, and then share the final product to confirm.

Lastly, remember photographs are an important part of the story. Getting a great photo of the subject can help the story speak louder. What is an interview without a great photograph?

Overview of key tactics:

  • Email etiquette with professional tone, clear wording, and direct questions
  • Set a date for the interview
  • Lighting is everything
  • Create a comfortable and fun environment
  • Be mindful of their time and schedule
  • Keep it to 30 minutes
  • Play around with different angles and positions
  • Pick 5-10 photos
  • Follow up after the session
  • Narrow it down to five photos
  • Share final product for confirmation

How to Utilize Your Campus Resources

4 tips on how taking advantage of campus resources can accelerate your education

By Hannah Sarwar

Many college students overlook the importance of campus resources while they are available to them. Hundreds of helping hands that are tailored to benefiting students are right at their fingertips. Resources are there to help, and are designed specifically to make their lives easier. This blog will dive into four tips on how utilizing campus resources can accelerate an educational career as a college student. 

1. Exploring Academic Resources 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the aid of academic resources on campus. From help ranging anywhere from skills workshops to writing centers, there is guaranteed to be a program that directly meets a student’s needs. More often than not, undergraduate school can feel overwhelming, especially with ongoing pressure of transitioning from online to in-person classes after the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking advantage of academic resources is something that can help ease the madness of getting a degree. For example, taking ten minutes out of your day to explore academic resources is a benefit that may surprise you in a good way! 

2. Take Advantage of Advising 

Many of us know the dreaded word “advising” from lugging our backpacks to our high school advisor while looking over future classes. Well guess what, college advising is not only different, but it is extremely helpful. Discussing future goals and pathways can be a large contributor to a student’s success. Whether it be academic, graduation, or even career advising, there is always someone on campus to help with personal needs. This can be extremely helpful for expected graduates to work on resumes and cover letters for future employers. Having a professional set of eyes on your resume is an advantage that will put a student ahead of their competition. 

3. Exploring Mental Health Services 

Self-care can often get overlooked by college students. Between the stress of passing classes, maintaining a social life, and allocating time for yourself, it can become intense. One way to combat this in order to find a balance between academics and personal life is to explore mental health resources that may be available on campus. Many schools acknowledge that students are stressed, and provide various resources that allow them to de-stress or even just talk about it. Some resources that are available on many campuses include free counseling, confidential support services, medical care services, de-stress centers and much more! With a tough transition back to campuses after the pandemic, many campuses are also offering virtual resources that students can access online. Self-care is an extremely important asset to take time for early on in life, especially when there are many resources that can help.

College can be overwhelming. Seeking help and taking advantage of the on campus resources that are available to students is a great way to combat stress and further prepare oneself for the real world.

– Hannah Sarwar

4. Attend Study Workshops

More often than not, various campuses will arrange study groups throughout the year for students in different majors to attend. This not only allows students to be exposed to various academic mindsets, but it allows them to connect with peers while getting adequate help in a subject they may be falling behind in. Study groups allow for student interaction while also helping improve academic performance. Looking into a calendar of upcoming study groups your school is hosting is a great way to kickstart a student’s performance in classes they may be feeling stressed in. 

College can be overwhelming. Seeking help and taking advantage of the on campus resources that are available to students is a great way to combat stress and further prepare oneself for the real world. For whatever reason, many students do not realize the impact that utilizing your resources can have on your academic career. By taking one step ahead and exploring what schools have to offer, one may be surprised with just how many resources they can find!

How to Tackle Unfamiliar Topics

By Victoria Hernández

In the world of Public Relations clients range from standard practices to niche fields such as government relations. Every business, organization, and public figure partake in PR one way or another. Take advantage of the flourishing field and find a career uniquely suited for your interests.

When working at an agency or job hunting, there may be clients in an uncommon industry. When you find yourself in a situation such as this, take a step back and assess the situation. The following features a guide of what to do when interacting with unfamiliar topics:

Gather what you know

Even if your prior knowledge is extremely limited, it is important to write down any and all information you do know about the topic. By doing this you’re able to get your brain thinking about the matter, while also creating basic points of reference for future information to latch onto.

Take advantage of Google

Although some resources may be unreliable, your primary search engine is a staple when attempting to acquire basic knowledge. Take a look at an online encyclopedia, articles, or industry news sites. By reading a bit about the topic, you are able to become familiar with industry terms and verbiage along with origin points. When obtaining base knowledge, Google can become your best friend.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

It is acceptable to admit that you don’t know something. Nobody knows everything about everything. It is important to put your ego aside and talk to someone knowledgeable about the topic. Asking an individual questions can create a better learning response for your brain. When actively engaging in a conversation with an individual you are more likely to absorb information and actually understand it. 

Fact-check before publishing

If you are unsure about a fact, make sure to obtain various sources conveying the same information. At times it can be confusing to know whether something is accurate when you do not know much about the topic to begin with.

All in all, it is important to show interest and motivation to learn. Don’t stress yourself out too much in attempting to learn everything about a specific industry. As you grow within your field, you will gain new experiences and knowledge as time passes.

How to Get the Most Out of Professional Relationships

By Emma Mitchell

Throughout life, we experience different types of relationships. Beginning at birth, we foster connections with our parents, siblings, and elementary school friends. The journey starts with sleepovers and playdates. Slowly, these interactions transition to trips to the mall, movies, and high school prom. All in all, our interactions with those around us play a huge role in our lives.

When beginning a job in a professional setting, sparking these connections can seem daunting and new. In reality, this is something we have been doing our entire lives, but here it feels different – and rightfully so. There are new trials and tribulations we experience in an office that we do not see in other parts of our lives.

Begin on a Positive Note

Begin with your best foot forward! Make sure to acknowledge those around you and enter the workplace with an open attitude. A first impression is often very lasting, and while you may be nervous, try your best to give your new coworkers your best self.

Improve Communication Skills

By now, you are probably an expert at texting and using social media. We live in a digital age, thus a majority of us have our phones at our fingertips 24/7. Using this to your advantage can be a strong way to improve relationships with those around you. Responding quickly when contacted by your coworkers is a great way to get ahead and establish your reliability. While it is also expected and understandable to set boundaries between work and personal life, responding swiftly when you have the opportunity can be helpful to those around you.

Foster Relationships Outside the Workplace

While it might be daunting to some to mix work and personal relationships, there is nothing wrong with spending time with your coworkers outside of the office – with boundaries. Going on a hike, getting coffee, or hosting a small event at your home with those you work with can strengthen relationships and help create more chemistry when working. In big groups or one on one, organizing some get-togethers on the weekend may help foster friendships in the workplace that otherwise would never flourish.

React Positively to Constructive Criticism

There may be some situations or tasks you do not handle to the best of your ability, which your coworkers may acknowledge. This is completely normal and all a part of producing the best work you can as a team. If a coworker offers some helpful pointers, advice or calls out a flaw in one of your projects, it is best to accept it gracefully. Overall, they are simply trying to help. Be open to constructive criticism. Always remember that many of your supervisors and co-workers started right where you are, and their goal is to help you flourish and grow in the roles you take on!

Be Empathetic

With remote work, sometimes it is hard to see those around you as real people, with lives and situations outside of the office. Try to put yourself in their shoes. If a report or piece of work comes in late or not to the best of their ability, a coworker may be going through something behind the scenes that you don’t know about. Try to think of yourself and be empathetic, especially if someone in the office reaches out to you with a personal situation.

Creating a Well-Rounded Linkedin Profile

By Mattie Orloff

With only a few months left in my final semester of college, the job hunt is on. The employment service Linkedin is an important professional networking resource as an unemployed student. It can be difficult to build your profile in a way that sets you apart from your peers. Through searching countless job offers and business profiles, I have become well versed in Linkedin profiles and offer some tips for creating yours:

Profile Image

Your profile image on your Linkedin profile acts as your first impression. It is important to have a current headshot that represents your professional personality . When taking a headshot here are a few tips:

  • Look approachable and friendly.
  • Look directly at the camera.
  • No selfies. No filters.
  • Dress business professional or what you would normally wear to the office. 
  • File types: PNG, JPG and GIF.

Background Image

Photo by Marc Mueller

The background image on your profile should be used to elevate your profile. There are many options for what to use as your background image. If you are a student, take an image somewhere on campus. If you are a professional, use an image that represents your company or industry, for example, a picture of yourself and your coworkers or the tools of your trade. Another option is to use a picture of an award or accomplishment. Linkedin’s standard file size for background images is 1,584 x 396 pixels. 

Headline

A headline is one of the first things someone will read when they view your profile. Don’t just use keywords, but add your own personal spin to set you apart from other profiles. Here are some tips for your headline:

  • Keep it under 115 characters.
  • If you are a student, include your major or graduation year.
  • Include the most recent and relevant position you’ve held. 
  • Rather than stating you’re unemployed, try expressing what you are looking for. 
    • Ex: Public Relations Student | Account Executive at Tehama Group Communications | Seeking paid internship opportunities

Summary

When crafting your summary, remember this is an overview of both your professional and personal life. Linkedin limits summaries to 2,000 characters. Here are some of the main components to include in your summary:

  • An eye-catching introduction
  • What drives you
  • Something personal that humanizes you
  • Give context to your career
  • Keywords
  • Lessons you’ve learned
  • Your accomplishments

Network

Networking is one of your most important assets while using Linkedin. 

  • Start by connecting with your peers and include a personalized note. You can find more connections in the “People you may know” section. Connect with people from your university, similar job positions, and friends of friends.
  • Filter your searches with your specific city and industry. 
  • Engage with your connections. Reconnect with people by linking your contacts with your Linkedin account. Build relationships by asking for help from your network and joining linkedin groups.

Skills

This section is a place for you to feature your strengths. It is important to post the more in-demand skills for your industry. If you have at least five skills listed on your LinkedIn profile you will may receive up to 17x more profile views!

How To Use Social Media Networks For Personal Branding

By Mia Taxin

The pandemic has forever changed the way we view business, entrepreneurship, and the media. In a world that was virtual for so long, online communication was the only way to form an identity for many. Thousands of creators grew during the pandemic, sharing their workdays, life advice, business experience, and niche of expertise in their field. Now more than ever is the importance of being educated on social media, and how you can use these tools to push your business or personal brand to new heights. Knowing where to begin can be difficult. Learn how to get started by reading the following.

1.  Establishing your Brand

If you are passionate about growing your brand or creating a lasting identity for yourself through social media, finding your niche is key. Establishing your brand as an individual or company allows you to have a stronger social presence. Forbes explains this concept by saying, “Creating branded content helps connect your customers or future customers to your company’s message and the value of services or products offered.” Not only does it ground your social precedence, but also allows your online community to easily recognize you through what you share.

2. Networking

Networking is a key way of gathering a following for your social platforms. It can also be a new way to gain attention from different communities. The New York Times writes, “Smart, relevant, timely posts can help you raise your company’s profile, especially when you use hashtags in a professional manner,” it’s not only hashtags that can grow your individual or company’s platform. The article also advises the importance of, “Building lists of influencers by industry and topic (these lists can be public or private)… get ideas on how to reach out and connect to them.” 

3. Knowing Which Platforms to Use

With over two billion users and 65 million active businesses, it’s no surprise that Facebook takes the lead on popular social media platforms. However, in the year 2021, TikTok surpassed what many thought of as growth, “Going from 55 million global users in January 2018 to 689 million by July 2020, according to Reuters.” While these two apps are heavy in video and text, if you aim to grow your business or personal brand on the visual side, head to the app store to download Instagram. With far-reaching hashtags, blank canvases, and millions of online communities, there are endless possibilities of how to represent yourself on the app.

Preparing For Your Job Interview: Tips And Tricks

By Trenton Taylor

It’s about that time. The school year is wrapping up and college seniors are receiving their tickets to go find real-world jobs. Those tickets are also known as their college diplomas. As we begin to see the slow decline in COVID-19 cases and the increased distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is becoming time to bring employees back to the office or to their field, and get things back to normal again. Below I have listed some tips and tricks that will help you ace those intense job interviews, and give you the competitive edge to get that job you have always dreamed of.

Do Your Homework

While finding the right job title is important, finding the right company to have that title under is even more important. Researching the company that you are interviewing will not only get you to understand what you are walking into, but it will also set you apart from anyone else who might be wanting that job. Taking the time to gather information and figure out what ways specifically you can help them sets a wonderful impression on employers or hiring managers.

Interviews are a two-way street

During a job interview, you are trying to learn about the company just as much as they are trying to learn about you. Employers want to see that you are taking the interview seriously and that you are thinking about what the aspects of working there look like. This article on The Balance Careers offers some thoughtful questions that one might ask during an interview:

  • What are some of the challenges facing the company?
  • Where do you see the company in 5 to 10 years?
  • What does success mean to you and this company?
  • What have previous employees in this position gone on to do?
  • I believe I’m a great fit for this company. Is there anything else I can do to dispel any doubts?

These are just a few of the questions that can set you apart from other candidates.

Practice for the cliche questions

At almost any interview that you go to, employers will ask you some of the basic interview questions that help just about anybody get a basic understanding of yourself. These questions include (but are not limited to) asking about your strengths/weaknesses, describing your work style or work ethic, if you work well with others, what sets you apart from the competition, or even the famous “tell me a little about yourself.” Preparing yourself to respond to these questions with talking points that you might have is a good way to boost your confidence before and even during the interview. The key is to not sound rehearsed but to sound confident.

The end of an interview is just as important as during the interview

Following up after the interview is very important to leave things on a good note. When the interview is over, asking your interviewer or hiring manager about the next steps or what to expect will allow you to be prepared for anything you might have to do on your end, such as setting up for a future interview. Another good thing to do is to send follow-up emails to those who interviewed you thanking them for their time while reviewing specific points from the interview. This sets a good work ethic example and shows that you were taking it seriously. Asking for business cards at the end is a good way to get that contact information.

Four Ways To Improve Your Resume

By: Lexi Lynn

With employers receiving dozens of applications, the smallest grammatical error can mean the difference between getting an interview or getting the rejection letter.

Quantify your achievements

Keywords such as initiated, increased, and coordinated are all great descriptive words to highlight achievements rather than focusing on responsibilities. Instead of using your bullet points to list your job duties, use the space to show the employer how you contributed and what you accomplished. Be sure to include any instance in which you helped reduce costs or boosted revenue as a result of your work. A helpful way to do this is to insert specific numbers to show for example how many people you managed, or perhaps the percentage of increased social media followers you helped earn. Including any metrics, rankings or ratings putting you in a positive light is a big way to catch your employer’s interest. Check out this article How to Quantify Your Resume Bullets, by The Muse, highlighting more tips on this subject. 

Proofread

Although this goes without saying, the importance of proofreading your resume is so critical it deserves to be mentioned. With employers receiving dozens of applications, the smallest grammatical error can mean the difference between getting an interview or getting the rejection letter. Some ways to avoid this are reading it out loud. This tried-and-true method of reading it out loud line by line, word by word can help you catch any mistakes you might not have seen by just skimming for errors. Also, having someone else proofread it provides a second set of eyes to see anything that you may have missed. Another helpful tip to avoid any errors is just by simply printing it out. We often read things differently in print than on screen, and this extra step can help you avoid making the mistakes that could potentially cost you a job. 

School projects count

Creating a resume when you have no prior work experience can be a daunting task. It’s important to remember that class projects provide valuable experiences and can be used to show the skills you have learned. Don’t count class projects out when you are listing experience. Employers are looking to see what abilities you can bring to their company, and you may already have these skills you learn from the work that you’ve done in school. For example, describing your achievements from a specific class, student organization, campus internship, or volunteer experience is a great way to show off your experience to the employer. You can add to this by adding the course name, the title of the project, and then putting bullet points listing accomplishments and major details. Check out this guide by LiveCareer on How to Turn Classroom Experience Into Work Experience In a Resume.

Things to Leave Out

While you may think adding the contact details of your references is a good idea, it is now a common practice to leave those out. Employers will ask you for references if they need, and you don’t want to waste any precious space on your resume filling it with this miscellaneous or unnecessary content. Your personal information is another thing that you want to leave off your resume. Including your address on your resume is not needed, because recruiters are not going to mail you anything.  Keep your resume professional, and only give out your number, email, and any additional accounts you think the employer should see, such as a LinkedIn page. For more tips, check out this video: 5 Resume Mistakes You Need to Avoid