In our newly-virtual world, a good online presence could be the key to landing a job after graduation. LinkedIn has become the staple of online resumes and connections, but many students make mistakes that can cause hiring managers to pass them by.
Palmer Group Account Executive Amanda Mulcahy shared her LinkedIn expertise with Drake University students on Oct. 12 as part of the journalism school’s pre-professional workshop to help them land a job straight out of college.
“This is your professional face to the world, your professional online presence,” Mulcahy said to more than 40 students attending the Zoom presentation.
Mulcahy specializes in hiring for companies and is used to assessing LinkedIn accounts from just a picture and a headline.
“The people that have those great headlines, or something that catches my eye, I’m far more likely to take that next step,” Mulcahy said. “When people like myself do their searches, that headline is a searchable item, so you want it to pull for the types of positions that you are interested in.”
Once she’s pulled in by a solid headline, the About section is her next stop.
“One of the biggest things I see is people that make it too long,” Mulcahy said. “I’m not going to read that, and a lot of my partners at Palmer Group won’t either. When I am out searching for candidates, it’s usually because we’re trying to fill a job right now, so I’m looking for people with a great headline and an About section that’s clear and to the point.”
One of the key parts of the About section is the call to action, but many students have trouble getting it right.
“One thing I noticed in some of the profiles that I looked at was they said ‘reach out to me, here’s my email,’ but reach out to me for what?” Mulcahy said. “If you’re going to use a call to action, or give your contact information whether it’s an email or a phone number, which I think is fantastic, you should say ‘reach out to me for [blank].’”
Directness is a common theme in Mulcahy’s recommended approach to LinkedIn.
“The more that you can reach out to people directly, to individuals, that’s going to be hugely important and very helpful in getting you that foot in the door,” Mulcahy said. “And always add a note. It can be as simple as ‘I’m a student at Drake, I’m very interested in your company, can you help me find information on how I can become a part of it?’”
Liz Hatch, sophomore digital media production and news major at Drake, found the talk especially helpful for her About section.
“I wanted to say so much, because I didn’t want to not say something, but she said it needs to be short, simple sentences, because if it’s long people won’t read it,” Hatch said. “Now it’s two sentences, but it’s two good ones.”
Hatch plans on designing her own banner to help her stand out.
“I’m eager to make the little banner and use my graphic design skills so it shows them things I can do before they even reach out to me,” Hatch said.
Lizzie Deal, sophomore journalism and writing major at Drake, has a plan of action for revitalizing her LinkedIn after the talk.
“I plan to go through and make sure I have the right information in my About section, update my headline and go through my skills and endorsements and make sure it’s all up to date and current and reflecting myself and my personality more than just ‘here are facts about me,’” Deal said.
Mulcahy believes now more than ever, students should reach out.
“It’s weird this year,” Mulcahy said. “We don’t see people at actual career fairs, so I’m way more likely to connect with a student because I want to help. Connect now—now is the best time to do it.”
Students interested in improving their online presence can connect with Mulcahy on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-mulcahy/.