Looking for a summer project to kickstart your networking skills? Consider setting up a LinkedIn profile and arranging some career conversations with UW alumni. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Tip #1: You don’t need a fancy photo.
Profiles with a photo receive 21 times more profile views than those without. But you don’t need an expensive headshot. Just have a friend take a nice photo of you outside on their phone. Crop it so just your face and shoulders are visible and you are good to go!
Tip #2: Stand out with a compelling headline.
The default setting for your headline on LinkedIn is your current company and role. That means your headline probably says “Student at the University of Washington.” But that doesn’t tell a potential future employer or networking connection who you are or what you can do. Instead, show your value. Use keywords and core skills to show future connections your special talents and what sets you apart from everyone else.
Tip #3: Fill out your summary.
Your summary is the section just below your name and headline. This is your professional introduction. Who are you? What are your skills and strengths? What are some projects you are especially proud of? It is also a great place to show your personality and help a potential future employer see why you are someone they’d want to hire. The summary section is a great place to embed keywords from the kind of jobs you’d like to apply for in the future. If you are not sure what to write in this section, take a look at the profiles of professionals doing the kind of work you’d like to do. Use industry language to show employers why you would be a great fit for future openings.
Tip#4: Find UW alumni on LinkedIn and set up career conversations.
LinkedIn has a searchable database of UW alumni. To access this tool, search for the University of Washington and then click Alumni on the left side or visit www.linkedin.com/school/university-of-washington/people. You can filter by major, industry, or do a keyword search to find alumni doing the kind of work you are interested in.
If you find someone doing interesting work, consider sending them a message to set up a career conversation (also referred to as an informational interview). During this conversation, you’ll ask a working professional questions about how they transitioned from UW to their career, what they like or dislike about their job, and gain advice about how to get started. Often these conversations can help you figure out the right career path and may even lead to job opportunities that are not listed anywhere else.
If you’d like some feedback on your LinkedIn profile or want tips for setting up a career conversation, come meet with a career coach! You can set up a one-on-one appointment through Handshake to go over LinkedIn and networking strategies.