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Friday, January 27, 2012

Complete Your LinkedIn Profile

For's Innovation Economy blog, Boston Globe Columnist Scott Kirsner recently asked area recruiters, CEOs, and human resources professionals what job seekers should do on social media to improve their chances of getting a job. A running theme in each of the responses was that all candidates should have an updated and complete LinkedIn profile. If you signed up for a LinkedIn account but got no further than filling out your name and where you went to school, you can follow these simple steps to complete your profile.

Step 1: Upload a Profile Picture
Use a recent picture of yourself from the shoulders up that clearly shows your face.  This picture will most likely be different than the one you use for Facebook and should convey a professional image. If you do not have a picture that fits that criteria, put on a suit and ask a friend to take a head shot of you standing in front of a blank wall.

Step 2: Create a Headline
Your headline will be the first thing LinkedIn users will read about you, so use this space to differentiate yourself from the crowd. If you are a current student you may want it to include your year in law school and a leadership or internship position you currently hold, for example: "Judicial Intern at MA Superior Court,  Second-Year Law Student at New England Law | Boston".  Practicing attorneys may want to include their areas of specialization followed by where they work or where they are seeking work. Also remember to update your headline as your experience changes. There are many recent law graduates on LinkedIn who still describe themselves as current law students.

Step 3: Write a Summary
Use this section to describe your experience and goals as well as anything that may not appear on your resume. Remember to also list your skills in the "Specialties" sub-section. You may be tempted to skip this section but completing it increases your chances of appearing in key word search results!

Step 4: Update your Education and Experience Sections
Since LinkedIn will suggest connections based on where you went to school and where you worked, the more information you provide in this section, the more opportunity you will have for building your network.  The experience section does not need to be as detailed as your resume but it should include the same basic information. If you choose to include everything on your resume, LinkedIn also has the option to import your complete resume onto your profile. As with everything else listed in your profile, remember to update this section as your job and education changes.

Step 5:
Connect with People

Begin by connecting with your friends, family members, former and current classmates, professors, and co-workers. You can connect LinkedIn to your email contacts to make it easier to find people you know.  LinkedIn will also suggest people you may know based on mutual connections. There is also more opportunity to extend your network by joining "Groups" such as those created by your undergraduate or law school. Note: Be sure to personalize the generic LinkedIn invitation to connect by saying hello to an old friend or reminding a business contact how you met. This is a piece of advice that is frequently given but rarely used! By taking the time to send a personal note, you are distinguishing yourself even more from the crowd.

Once your profile is complete you will be ready to actively use LinkedIn to network, promote your professional experience, and search for jobs.

Want to learn more?
Attend our upcoming CSO workshop:

LinkedIn 101
Wednesday, February 15th, 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Room 301
Open to all current NEL|B students.

For further reading: 

Social Media Advice for Job Seekers from
CEOs, HR Execs, & Recruiters
(Innovation Economy Blog)
LinkedIn: Facebook for Lawyers (NALP e-Guide)
10 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job (
Ellis, Amanda The 6Ps of the Big 3 for Job Seeking JDs:  60+ Ways to Get Hired Using Social Networking. Something Different Publishing, Inc. 2010 (Available in the CSO.)
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