By Marcie Waters
If you’re unfamiliar with LinkedIn, an easy way to think of it is as an online resume. However, it is much more than just a resume, as LinkedIn allows you to link to webpages and upload files to be displayed on your profile. This is an often underutilized but very advantageous tool that allows you to upgrade your LinkedIn profile from a simple resume to a comprehensive portfolio. Here are a few examples of how you can enhance your profile with visuals:
- Link to a portfolio. – If you have a lot of work to showcase, it could be easiest to link to a previously existing portfolio website. A great way to do this is to feature your portfolio site in your profile summary. Go to the edit profile option on LinkedIn. When you hover your mouse over the “Summary” section, two small boxes will appear in the top right hand corner. Click on the one that shows a square with a plus. Copy and paste the link to your site here and click continue. An option to add a title and description will appear. Fill these out so viewers of your profile understand what the link is.
- Feature a piece of writing. – If you do a lot of writing or are particularly knowledgeable on a subject, one way to highlight this is by creating a post about it. On the LinkedIn home page, you will see an option on the top right of the center column to publish a post. By clicking on that, you will be brought to a post editor. Here you can upload an image to go along with your post, add a title, write or paste in content, and add tags to make your post easier to find. Once it has been published on LinkedIn, the post will also show up on your profile under the “Posts” section. Here you can also view stats to see how many people have viewed or interacted with your post.
- Upload a document or design. – If you have a completed project that you want to highlight as part of a particular job that you held, you could add an image or .pdf file of it to your “Experience” section. This could be an image of an ad or logo you designed, a .pdf of a project proposal you wrote, or a data report that you compiled. Adding these files is similar to adding a link to your profile. After clicking on the box icon, instead of pasting in a link, click upload a file, and select the file from your computer. You can then add the file to a particular position by selecting that position from the drop down menu. Click continue to edit the title and description. Make sure to add a specific title, so that someone viewing your profile will be able to easily understand what they’re clicking on and why it is relevant to the position you’re listing it under.
- Get creative with what you upload. – The examples above are just a few easy things you can do to showcase your skills in a visual way. LinkedIn allows a variety of different file types to be uploaded and linked to on your profile. Have you created an instructional video or given a speech? Upload a video of it. Have you put together an important presentation? Include a SlideShare of it on your profile. Adding visuals to your LinkedIn profile helps you to stand out. Just make sure that anything you are including is of high quality and will add to your value as a potential employee. Now, get to updating your LinkedIn profile and impressing employers!
By Marcie Waters
More and more students are taking advantage of opportunities to study, intern, and volunteer abroad. These are often impactful and meaningful experiences that stay in their minds for a long time afterwards (over a year later, I’m still driving people crazy by telling them how great Seville is). What not every student realizes, however, is that a study abroad experience is a great asset to the job hunt. In an increasingly global business world, cultural competency is a necessary skill, and an experience like studying abroad provides many talking points to show off that skill and more. If you’re unsure whether you’ve gained cultural competency from your time abroad, consider that a person who has cultural competency values differences, is responsive to diversity, understands the importance of culture in interpersonal interactions, and promotes quality cross-cultural interactions.
If you’re not sure what other skills you many have gained from studying abroad, think about these:
- Communication Skills: Did you learn/improve foreign language skills? Did you participate in group discussions with people from diverse backgrounds? Did you communicate with others in stressful or challenging situations?
- Organizational Skills: Did you successfully juggle multiple demands? Did you have to prioritize? Did you better your time management skills?
- Interpersonal Skills: Did your appreciation of diversity or cultural awareness increase? Are you now more open to differences, new ideas, and other perspectives? Did you learn to be sensitive to cultural customs and norms?
- Intrapersonal Skills: Did you take initiative and risks? Did you have to learn to adapt quickly? Did you handle stressful situations? Did you gain self-confidence or independence?
Now that you know what skills you have gained from studying abroad, you may be wondering how you can utilize these during the job search. One way is to effectively include your experience on your resume. For this, you have three options. Pick which ones make the most sense for you.
- Include in the education section. You can note a specific skill or skills that you learned through the program, such as language acquisition.
- Include in the experience section. This works especially well if you completed an internship or relevant volunteer experience.
- Include in activities section. Note any volunteer experience or special activities you participated in while abroad.
Of course, you can also discuss your experience in an interview. Nearly every employer asks a behavior-based question during an interview, like “Tell me about a time you had to solve a problem on your own” or “When was the last time you took a significant risk and what were the results?”. Chances are you’ve got a study abroad scenario that would be a great example of solving a problem, taking a risk, or making a difficult decision. Just remember to focus on how the skills you gained from the situation are directly applicable to the particular job for which you are interviewing. Depending on the geographic reach of the company and position you’re applying for, mentioning your cultural competency will also be beneficial.
At the very least, a study abroad experience gives you an interesting topic to bring up in an interview if you can’t think of anything else to talk about, and you probably should talk about it!
By Marcie Waters
At Letters & Science Career Services (LSCS), drop-ins are short, 15-20 minute sessions that are perfect for quick questions and simple resume or cover letter review. No appointment necessary!
They take place Monday through Friday, from 1-3pm in the Middleton Building. LSCS also offers extended drop-in hours on Tuesdays from 4-5:30 for students who can’t make the regular drop-in hours. (No extended hours during spring break). With so many time slots available, there is really no excuse for not utilizing this service!
If you have never been to a drop-in before, you may not know what to expect. I stopped by for a drop-in to get my resume reviewed before the career fair. I first checked in at the office on the first floor, where I filled out an iPad form. This alerts the advisors upstairs that a drop-in has arrived. I went upstairs to the LSCS office, where I awaited my turn. I was able to meet with Shaylea, a career advisor who specializes in the humanities. She looked over my resume, commenting on the good parts, pointing out which parts could be improved, and explaining how I might improve them. We talked about strategies for bettering my section headings and layout. Shaylea also provided me with some helpful handouts to aid me in revising my resume. Recently, I had to bring in my resume for a class assignment and was complimented on how successful it was. I know that without Shaylea’s revisions, my resume would not have received such compliments. My drop-in appointment had paid off.
Of course, resume review is not the only service that LSCS offers during their drop-ins. They will also review cover letters or answer simple career and internship-related questions. I recommend giving drop-ins a try if you have any doubts about your resume or cover letter.