Having a professional LinkedIn profile stressed during Career Fair

Posted October 21, 2015

Career Services at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls held its annual Career Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 14, and offered free LinkedIn photo headshots for students who attended the event.

LinkedIn is a social medium that is mainly used for professional networking between businesses and persons who are looking for a job. LinkedIn can help students establish themselves in the professional world in ways that other social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook cannot.

For instance, if a student is inquiring about a business, he or she can search for it on LinkedIn and find out what that business is all about. LinkedIn also has a feature where users can enter information about themselves such as education and skills, which directs the user to job openings in their specific field.

Most of the 92 businesses that attended the Career Fair and the recruiters who represented the businesses have a LinkedIn profile, so having a professional profile picture that is taken specifically for LinkedIn profile is beneficial for the user.

Michael Kline, a senior majoring in agricultural business with an emphasis in marketing communications, has gone to the Career Fair every year that he has attended UWRF due to the clubs of which he is a member. Kline said he has worked hard to get internships with Tractor Central, a northwest Wisconsin farm implement dealer, and with AgStar Financial Services.

Kline also advocates the LinkedIn photo headshots because they were a big reason why he got his internships.

“Getting that headshot done really does help and, through LinkedIn, I have met five employers that are interested in me,” he said.

Along with being a student at the Career Fair, Kline also represented AgStar, so he was able to share his experiences and secrets with students who stopped by his table. He made sure to tell students that LinkedIn has led to a lot of his success in finding internships outside of the UWRF campus and that it is important to use LinkedIn professionally.

Melissa Wilson, director of Career Services, said she does not know how many students use LinkedIn, but that most would be wise to have a profile picture that makes the user professional.

“One of the greatest mistakes that students make when using LinkedIn is that they do not put a professional picture attached to their profile,” Wilson said. “If students don’t have a picture attached to their profile they are considered a ‘ghost’ and a lot of people will not take them seriously on LinkedIn.”

Another common mistake that Wilson sees on LinkedIn is that students use profile pictures that are geared more for Facebook or Twitter. It is imperative to students to have a professional profile picture because that is one of the first aspects that a profile viewer sees.

Career Services partners with the Student Affairs Marketing and Graphics team to take the pictures and then email the pictures to the students or alumni. The photo is a benefit that can make or break a LinkedIn profile.

If students or alumni could not attend the Career Fair, they still can get a professional headshot photo taken. Kathy Helgeson, media specialist for the University Communications and Marketing Department, takes professional headshot photos for students or alumni. They are required to set up a time to take the photo with Helgeson via email, or they could call Career Services to find out more information about the time slots with Helgeson.