The following article is contributed by Abraham John, CSE, Class of '15, College of Engineering, Guindy.
As many of you are closing in on placements, there will be many tips that you get from peers, teachers, well-wishers and so on. There is one point they usually miss out on and that is the importance of creating a good LinkedIn profile. For those of you who do not know, LinkedIn is like Facebook, the only difference being it is a professional network, rather than a social one. This is an avenue to connect with multiple professionals in various sectors and also learn a lot, before entering into a professional life. Many might argue that there is no point in creating one before you actually get into work but I beg to differ. Unlike Facebook, where people might actually judge you for posting your achievements and what not, LinkedIn is completely different. This is the place for you to show off your achievements and skills to the world and feel proud about it. The reason I would advise students to create a LinkedIn profile during their third year is because, every achievement can be noted down on LinkedIn. Every major activity in your club can be added to your profile. Now what this does is, it keeps you engaged. Let us take Instagram for example, you take your first photo and post it. You start getting followers, likes and this pushes you to take more photos and post it. Similarly, once you add an achievement to your profile and start building your network, you will feel like achieving more and this will push you to engage in activities that makes you grow as a professional.
Also, your LinkedIn profile is like your online resume. As the placement approaches and you are wondering what to add to your resume, you can always look up your LinkedIn profile. As you approach your final year, you can also add you final year project research paper and various other mini projects to your profile. Also, LinkedIn is a repository for a lot of professional knowledge and you can find a wide variety of articles which can help you during your interviews and how to go about an internship. Like every avenue, LinkedIn is also only as good as how you project yourself out there.
So here are a few beginner tips to a good LinkedIn profile:
1. ’’First impression is the best impression” and that holds true here as well. Your display picture makes a huge difference. Remember this a professional network not a social network like Facebook, so make sure the picture is professional, classy and not in mixed colors if you know what I mean.
2. The headline right under your name is as important as your picture and it doesn’t necessarily have to be your job or company/club. It can be something you are passionate about but make sure you can put it across in a good manner. Eg: Food Blogger, Film enthusiast
3. The summary is a space for you to write a lot but nobody wants to know your history and your daily routine. Make it brief, bulleted and impactful. This can make a huge difference during your placements.
4. If you have written articles or blogs, make it a point to insert links to the same with an image. It can be anything you have written in any language but make sure that it is mentioned in your profile.
5. List down your skills and if you think they are completely genuine your contacts will endorse you for those skills. So be honest about your skill-set and if you want to add more, this can be an opportunity learn a new skill.
6. Add the list of languages you know and the proficiency level of that language as well. This can be an opportunity for you to learn a new language and add that to your profile.
7. Do multiple internships even if it is for a week or a month and add all of them to your profile. Nothing can enhance your profile more than work or internship experience.
8. If you are part of an NGO or have done some volunteering you are in luck. This is an added value to your profile and don’t worry people won’t think you are being too outright about it.
9. Follow some great influencers like Bill Gates, Jack Welch, etc. They will post some amazing articles about life and work which is definitely something to go by.
Last but not the least, put time and effort into creating your profile. Once you start meeting new people and building your network, there is no stopping you. So stop wasting your time on Facebook and get LinkedIn.