Communications grads, here’s how to build up your online résumé

Knowing how to interact with prospective employers, executives and industry leaders online can be tricky. Try these tactics to get them to come to you, using a familiar networking site.

For emerging PR pros, a strong social media profile can be the key to nabbing that first big job.

Although you might already be established online, data from LinkedIn say continuing to perfect your professional profile should be a priority.

Here’s insight for current marketing, communications and PR students on how to use social media to get noticed online.

LinkedIn’s Catherine Fisher says nine out of 10 recruiters use the professional networking site to look for potential candidates. Concerned that your student status and limited experience make you an automatic out for winning over online recruiters? Think again. Here’s how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out:

Get crafty with visuals.

Have a friend who has majored in photography or graphic design? Enlist their services to make your profile shine. Offer them some PR insight or to proofread their portfolio in exchange for a new headshot.

From Fisher, via LinkedIn’s blog:

Members who include a photo receive up to 21 times more profile views and up to 36 times more messages. Your future employer will see that photo, so make sure you put your best foot forward by dressing appropriately and not having your pet or friends in the image. Save those photos for your other profiles.

Highlight the experience and accolades you ­do have.

Curious whether you should include that so-so summer internship from 2014 or that part-time job working at your university’s alumni center?

LinkedIn data say it’s helpful to include all your experience, even if it seems unrelated to the communications jobs for which you’re applying.

WHITE PAPER: How to communicate with a millennial workforce.

From Fisher:

No need to be intimidated if you haven’t had a bunch of professional experience. Your [profile’s] experience section can include part-time positions, summer jobs, internships and volunteer work — all of which go a long way in showing your skills and getting you in front of potential employers.

Be sure to list a variety of skills, too.

She adds:

Don’t fret if you’re not an expert coder or marketing whiz. Soft skills like communication, critical thinking and teamwork are just as important as hard skills—if not more.

Get to know prospective employers.

Just as agency headhunters will browse your online profile, it’s important for you to peruse their social media sites.

From Young PR Pros podcasters Kristine D’Arbelles and Ross Simmond:

Get to know corporate culture. You will spend more hours at work than hours with your family. So make sure the company you choose to work for shares similar values. Don’t be afraid to [reach out to] employees, or even ex-employees to find out why they left.

Engaging with industry leaders, potential employers and colleagues online is becoming increasingly important for emerging PR pros.

Fisher weighs in on the importance of active social media engagement:

Keep your profile[s] fresh and discoverable by regularly posting updates, sharing articles and writing content on topics you know about. This can get you in front of the people who matter to your career path and start conversations.

Seasoned PR pros, what tips might you share with newbie communicators hoping to launch their careers?

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