Today’s guest post is a Student Success Story from one of our undergraduate Peer Career Coaches, a student co-mentoring position we launched in spring 2016. Brian Farci (ARCH ’16) was recruited for a Design position with a major global retail brand, as if from “out of the blue,” when recruiters for one of his dream employers spotted his profile on LinkedIn. He’s generously shared some tips to help our readers effectively “bait the hook” for recruitment by showing the right stuff on LinkedIn.

(April 2016) I am graduating this May from Illinois Tech with a job offer from a Fortune 500 Company — and I never applied for a job. There was no need to write a cover letter, sort through job postings, or even submit a résumé!  What it came down to was my LinkedIn profile, and providing the right keywords at the top of my page. 

Your LinkedIn profile is your first impression to employers, and it doesn’t require them to meet you in person, or even know who you are at first. This is why it is a very powerful part in your arsenal of job search tools.  

Employers can easily determine whether or not you are a good fit for the company based on a few things:

  • Your Photo: Your profile photo should reflect the type of job you are applying for.  For example, if you are applying for a business-oriented position, then your photo should show your professionalism and how you would represent the company.  If you are applying for a client-relations position, your photo should express how friendly and approachable you are.  For a creatively-minded person — express yourself, show your future employers your aesthetic and style!  Employers can make quick assumptions about a person based on their photo, so make sure that you make a great first impression.
  • Your Current/Previous Work Experience: The next part that future employers read is your current and previous work experience, which is listed right beside your profile photo.  It is important that this information is not only accurate, but well curated.  Let’s say you are wanting to enter a field that is different from the one you’re currently studying; then make sure that you have the most relevant work experience show up first in order to grab the right attention.  If you do not have work experience in your preferred field of pursuit, then join clubs and organizations that dabble in the field, and simply list your role or position as work experience.  That way, future employers can see what you are interested in, and see that you have the drive and passion to succeed.
  • Location: Though I came to study in Chicago, I did not intend to work here after graduation.  Therefore, I listed the city where I wanted to work (this happened to be my hometown), which allowed me to be a part of that city’s market.  When I was contacted via LinkedIn, employers noted my choice of location as a key factor in considering me for recruitment.
  • Number of Connections: Once visitors are done viewing your profile and credentials, the next thing they will look at is your network.  Occasionally this might even be the first thing they check out!  LinkedIn doesn’t display your “Number of Connections” beyond 500 — therefore, even if you have 501 or more connections, to the public you still seem like a networking guru. In my case, I barely have half that many connections, but I always connect with former coworkers, as well as peers and mentors that I would be proud of having come up as a “connection in common”.

By following these recommendations, your presence within your field of focus — and your attractiveness to desired employers — will increase greatly.  If you are looking for more ways to boost your presence on LinkedIn, come visit Career Services or make an appointment with a career coach so they can further assist you! 

Brian Farci is an IIT Bachelor of Architecture who plays a strong hand in the personal branding game.

For more advice on getting positive notice from your dream employers, visit a Career Development Coach in Herman Hall, Suite 113, during office walk-in hours (Tuesday through Thursday, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.) or by booking an appointment on Jobs4Hawks.

It’s All About the Keywords: Courting Success on LinkedIn
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