How to Create a Killer Online Professional Profile

Nathan Parcells
How to Create a Killer Online Professional Profile

The resume isn’t dead but it needs help. In today’s online world, submitting a text document is no longer enough to stand out, especially as internships and new grad roles become increasingly competitive.

A professional profile is the perfect way to share more about your interests, skills, and what makes you a unique candidate.

Profiles have a number of benefits for student job seekers. They show up higher and more frequently in Google search results when employers search for your name (which nearly 80% do!).  They are dynamic allowing you to easily link to projects, online writing samples and more. All of this will give employers a better picture of you. They also allow you to show off your personality. Traditional resumes are dry, which is a big problem when employers receive thousands of applications and your job is to stand out.
Below are 8 tips guaranteed to get your profile read by more employers and to increase your odds of landing interviews and jobs.

1. Use an elevator pitch in your “About Me” section of your profile.

What’s an elevator pitch? Imagine you are in the elevator on the top floor of a large building and the CEO of your dream company walks in. How would you introduce yourself to her on the 30 second ride from the top of the building to the bottom? Start high level clearly stating who you are and what drives you. Then drill into some of your experiences and skills that make you unique.

Here’s an example:

 “Hi, my name is John Doe and I am a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. I have a passion for online marketing and copy writing, which I honed through a number of creative writing courses I took here at Penn. I learned a lot more about  online marketing while marketing an eco-friendly water cooler I built for an entrepreneurship class my freshman year. I fell in love with the process of using Adwords to drive traffic to my product and then use data to tweak  copy and improve results. I’d want to learn more about other online marketing channels, like Facebook ads, ad networks, and doing re-targeting. Outside of classes I love rock climbing, exploring the food in Philadelphia and spending time with friends.”

2. Link to other sites, projects, and organizations you are involved in.

 Your online profile should take employers on an adventure. While your  “Work Experience” section needs to be concise and professional (like a resume), on a professional profile you can link to any number of additional sites under the “About Me” section of your profile. This allows employers to read as much or as little about you as they want. One link might go to a personal website you coded and designed. Another could link to an Op-Ed article you wrote for your school paper. Everything you link to should be work you are proud of and reinforce your strength as a candidate.

3. Link back to your profile so it shows up higher in Google.

One of the top reasons to create an online profile is so that when employers Google (or Bing or Yahoo) search your name they find something professional and compelling (not pictures of you dominating in flip cup). Simply making a profile will put you in a strong position to rank highly on Google for your own name. If you follow these next steps you’re just about guaranteed to have your Professional Profile show up first for your name in Google.

  • Link to your profile in your Twitter, Google+, Youtube and other social media accounts. This helps you show up higher in sear
  • Link to your profile from your blog, personal website, or online portfolio.
  • Most schools offer students a free url for a website or blog. Use your school webspace to write briefly about yourself and then ink back to your Professional Profile from it.
  • Get your Professional Profile listed on any club, fraternity, or department website directories.

4. Add some flair.

 A lot of companies use something called the “airport test” to evaluate candidates. The way it works is they will ask themselves if the person they just interviewed is  someone that they imagine themselves hanging out with at the airport during a long layover? Your personality should mesh well with the company you are applying for. Remember, every company is different!

While resumes don’t leave much room for personalization, online profiles are a great place to let your true colors fly (within reason). Feel free to include something a bit more casual in the “About Me” section of your Professional Profile. For example you might say, “Unable to work for Duke grads—I bleed Tarheel blue!” This is harmless, fun and shows school pride, all of which makes you relatable and more interesting.

5. In the work experience section, be quantitative and direct.

The work experience section of your online profile should closely resemble how you list internships and jobs on your resume. You want to cut out unnecessary fluff and use numbers to show employers the impact of the work you have down.

Example: “Developed and executed a social media strategy for X, growing Twitter followers by 500% (over 3,000 followers) in 4 months.”

6. Make course descriptions short, descriptive, and fun.

On your Professional Profile you are able to list courses you took (or are taking) and include a short course description. We recommend you only highly 2-4 courses, with a goal of displaying both your depth of study in a particular subject but also how you used your college to develop a well-rounded skill-set. For example if you are applying for business development roles you might want to highlight both a negotiations course (to show your focus/interest) as well as a computer science 101 course (to show you can think differently and can even setup your own landing pages to make more advanced business development campaigns work).

Example: Econometrics “One of my favorite classes to date. Linear regression models were challenging, but practical for analyzing markets. Learned to use Matlab!”

7. Let employers know when and what kind of internships you are looking for—they will find you. 

A Professional Profile lets you indicate whether or not you are currently looking for an internship and what fields you are looking to dive into. This is important because once your profile goes live the job search process will get flipped on its head and employers will be able to search for you by criteria including major, location, course work and more. Keep your profile up to date so when employers land on your profile they will know whether or not you are available and can reach out accordingly.

8. Share your profile widely.

Your Professional Profile is perfect for sharing with friends, family and colleagues and to help you network. Once you build a public profile, and share the link, anyone you give it to can check-in to see what information you’ve added and how you are growing. Gone are the days where you need to continuously send out an updated .pdf to all your contact every time you change your resume.

Networking remains one of the most powerful and common ways that students find internships and new grad positions. For all of these reasons we recommend you share your profile as widely as possible with anyone who you think can help you land a job–you’ll be surprised at just how connected your network really is.

9. Choose a picture that reflects your personal brand.

Easily add a photo to your Professional Profile. You can grab photos from Instagram, Facebook, or snap one on the fly. We recommend you choose a photo that reflects your personal brand. If this is you in a suit looking ready for business – great! If it is you on top of a mountain smiling – that is great as well. Try to use the same photo on your profile as on your Twitter account, personal website, and business cards to maintain a consistent brand across channels that employers will begin to recognize and embrace.

10. Have fun!

Building your brand online takes time. That said, the process of looking for a job and building a fantastic profile is often a reward itself. As you think of new ways to build a strong and differentiated online profile, you will develop a greater awareness for your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll also learn how to market yourself and what kind of work environment gets you excited. As you share your profile around and submit it with applications you’ll begin to get feedback on which parts resonate with employers and which don’t. In this way you will grow a tremendous amount simply by building and improving your profile, which is kind of the whole point of internships to begin with. So remember, take your time, appreciate feedback, and have fun while building your Professional Profile.