With technology just getting better every single day and making it easier for people and companies to work and connect with one another, the old-fashioned way of emailing a resume, or even visiting each individual company with a printed version of it, has been replaced by professional networking platforms. The most famous one is, with no doubt, LinkedIn.
As the largest online professional networking platform in the world, with more than 600 million users and 30 million companies, most employers resort to it in order to pre-select candidates for their available positions. In addition to that, many other features allow LinkedIn to be a go-to resource for every professional in every field. In today’s episode, Isaac shares tips and tools to help you create an outstanding LinkedIn profile.
Diving deeper into the individual sections available, Isaac mentions the do's and don’ts of each one of them. He covers the strategies we should use to fill them in so that we can make them look professionally good and clearly explains who we are, what we do, our areas of expertise, as well as the hard and soft skills we have. Touching on tips that help both those people who already have experience in their respective fields and the ones who are just starting out, this is a great episode that will help anyone polish up or even kick start their online resumes on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com
Purple Mattress – civilengineeringacademy.com/purple
If you need exams, solved problems or courses, make sure to check out our home base – https://civilengineeringacademy.com
Haven’t joined up in our free community? What’s wrong with you? J/K. Ok, just go there and join a group of like-minded civil engineers! – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1682344491800869
Join over 4000 engineers like you and learn the tips and tricks to passing the FE and PE. We even have a free resource for you! – https://civilengineeringacademy.com/join-our-newsletter
Need a personal review of your LinkedIn profile, resume, or cover letter? Check out this deal we have for you here.
Reach out to Isaac – [email protected]
Transcript of Show
You can download our show notes summary here or get our transcript of the show below!
Isaac Oakeson: All right, let's get right into it. So today we're going to talk about how to crush it with your LinkedIn profile. These are tips and tools and resources I have personally used and also discovered in my own journey of, you know, my career and helping other people as well. So, these are fun tips to share with you. It might be a little hard to visualize this in audio format but you'll get the point. And you can always come back and re listen to things as you're going through your own LinkedIn profile. But, in any case it's going to be helpful to you. So, this is just going to be me as a little solo episode. Just me and you, and it'll still be good, still be fun.
Isaac Oakeson: So, the first thing that we need to do when we're looking at our LinkedIn profile is you really need to complete and write a compelling headline. So, it's really one of the most important things you can have on your LinkedIn profile. So headline is just right up there at the top. You also need a good image of yourself. I wouldn't do, you know, something too cheesy there. Try to make it professional, or at least in line with what you're doing. But a good headshot is what people want to see. And then you can have kind of a background photo up there for your headline and, you know, keep it simple, keep it related to the industry that you are personally involved in. And that's my advice there. It is nice to see those, just kind of completes your profile. But the headline is also very important. Like I said, it's one of the most important things. So, really, how do you do this? What should you do?
Isaac Oakeson: Well, as an engineer, you should be following a formula. You should be writing something to the effect that you help something. So, if you wrote a formula, it could be, "I help X with Y so that they can Z", right? Or you could say that "I am a structural engineer with (whatever company you're with, or you could leave the company out)". Or you could just say "A structural engineer specializing in (whatever)", okay? So you really need to simplify that, but something that is direct and to the point, and if you just follow the simple formula that you "help something with something, so they can something", right? Then, if you fill it in that way, that's really clear as to what you're doing. So, the first thing you have to do is write a compelling headline. If you're doing multiple things, that's okay to put that in there too. You can put little symbols in your headline to kind of separate those. Maybe you're a founder of a company or something like to that effect, but the point is is that you need to write a compelling headline. And if we can do that, thenyou're going to get some eyeballs on your profile, okay?
Isaac Oakeson: The second thing I want to talk about is an introduction. Not an introduction, the "About" section. So, the about section is really often overlooked, and a lot of people don't put a lot of time into that "About" section. And the reason why they don't is because it can be a little challenging to complete. But really, this is where we get to show a little bit more of our personality, right? Really lets others know what we're good at, what we're great at, what we care about. So we also want to highlight some of our greatest accomplishments. We can put those, what those are, and we want to use short, simple, easy-to-read and easy-to-explain paragraphs in your "About" section. And it's a section that you should not overlook, and it's a section that you should fill out and do your best at doing that. In that section, you can also use industry-specific keywords. So, you don't want to use a lot of jargon per say. But, if you're using industry-specific keywords, like for instance, I'm in the utility world and I'm a transmission engineer, you want to list "transmission engineering", "working in the utility industry", things of that nature. Those are keywords, right? Transmission engineer, structural engineer bridge engineer, transportation roadway design, hydraulics, whatever it is. We can get really specific there and use industry-specific keywords in that "About" section. So, make sure you're filling that out, using good phrases. Don't make it lengthy. Make it digestible that explains what your greatest accomplishments are and what you care about. And if you do that, you're going to be ahead of the game, okay?
Isaac Oakeson: The next section in your LinkedIn profile is your "Experience" section. And in here, we also don't want to use too much jargon, and this should align with your resume, but it should not be something that you simply copy and paste over. We want to write this section in the first person, and we don't want to use too much jargon, like I said. And then in your own experience, you should make sure that you're quantifying your experience. People love to see numbers, whether that's a percentage, or a dollar figure, the size of the budget how many things you worked on or fixed, or the volume, you know? Anything you can put numbers to. Amount of people, quantities. You want to put those. Quantify your experience, because that tells us really what kind of experience that you've had, right?If you've been working on $5 million projects, or $50 million projects, or $500,000 projects, at least it gives us a gauge of the size of the projects you've been working on. So, any of those things are really, really good and really helpful. So yeah. That's your experience.
Isaac Oakeson: The next section in your profile is your education and training. So, in your education and training, you're going to list your schools, your activities that you participate in, societies that you're a part of, if it's ASCE or whatever it isawards that you've received, anything that deals with that. There's kind of a rule of thumb here, though. If you got your bachelor's degree or master's degree, you really don't need to list your high schooleducation there, okay? We got it. We understand that you've got that. So, you know, things drop off over time. And that goes along with experience. If you've got experience that's pretty old, let's say 10 years, it's probably okay to not include those things. And same thing goes with your education. If we know you got your bachelor's and a master's, you don't need to list your high school education there anymore, okay? But all those things, including the training, if you can add any of that stuff, that stuff kind of goes a long way in letting anybody know what you're a part of, the societies that you're a part of, and things that you enjoy. But, definitely, the educationis a plus that you need to list on there.
Isaac Oakeson: Next section that they've got on LinkedIn that would be really helpful is filling out your skills and endorsements. So in this section, you're listing a lot of your hard and soft skills, and you can adjust this at any time, you can add to it. But there's just a plethora of hard and soft skills that you can select from. And you want to be honest with what these are. You're not just going to make up stuff, but if you're good at certain things, you can go in there and start selecting what soft skills you're good at. Maybe you're good at public speaking, maybe you're good at organizing a team, any of those thingsHard skills, these are actual things that apply totools that you use and things of that nature. So, if you go through the skills and endorsements section, select the things that you're good at or that you've got skills at, and be honest with what you've got there, and that will go a long way.
Isaac Oakeson: You know, as we continue this, I do want to explain why we want to use LinkedIn, and I probably should have started the show with this. But the reason why we want to use LinkedIn, and maybe it goes without even explaining, but LinkedIn is the world's largest online professional network. So you've got 600 million+ users on here. And a lot of times big companies or companies in general use an applicant system, a tracking system, to filter resumes and such, and nowadays more and more HR people are just going right to LinkedIn and finding the key words to find people. So this is why it's so important when I'm talking about adding industry-specific keywords to your "About" section, doing the same thing in your "Experience" section. Tailor your resume and your LinkedIn profile for each job that you're applying for, and make sure that it matches the description and the qualities that they're looking for on the job description, okay? So, yeah. Linkedin is huge and it's simply built for professional networking, and HR people are going right there to find their employees. So that's a big reason why we want to use LinkedIn.
Isaac Oakeson: Another big reason we want to use LinkedIn is because our connections, right? We have improved connections using LinkedIn. This includes things they've dumped onto LinkedIn that have been helpful, like groups, communities, connecting with people. Many guests I've even have on this very show have come right through LinkedIn because there's a lot of civil engineers there. And if you want to be a guest, you shoot me an email and we'll talk about it: [email protected] I want to hear your journey. So that's a good reason.
Isaac Oakeson: Another good reason to use LinkedIn is that it's simply easy to find jobs. There's a little button at the top. You click it and you can -- Or you use the search bar and you just type in a job, "project manager", and it'll bring up a list of jobs. There's so many jobs. There's 30 million companies on there, okay? 30 million. That's a lotThere's tons of civil engineering jobs on there. There's tons of manager jobs on there. I mean, the list is probably endless. So, that's a big reason why you want to use LinkedIn.
Isaac Oakeson: Another big reason why you want to use LinkedIn is because you can reallyHow do I explain this? You can build your own personal brand and become a leader, kind of a thought leader in the industry that you are in. So, if you get on LinkedIn, you can write posts and you can also write articlesthat really explain -- And you know, if you can explain something, like how to pass the civil PE exam and you put it on there, you write enough articles on these things and you can end up becoming a thought leader in your industry. So, maybe you specialize on foundation work, and maybe you detail some of the things you've been learning as you've been working in the labs or things of that nature. You can really become a really good thought leader, and it really builds your own personal brand of you, because, you know, you are your own company, right? And that's what this whole thing is about. So, you can become a thought leader there, you can build your own personal brand, and it's good, good stuff.
Isaac Oakeson: So guys, those are my tips on how to crush it with your LinkedIn profile. If you would like me to review your own LinkedIn profile, you can feel free to shoot me an email, [email protected] I actually do have -- You know, we have a little package of doing some career work for you. So, if you're interested in having me review either a resume or LinkedIn profile, or even a cover letter, shoot me an email, [email protected] I'd be happy to do that for you because we want you to succeed.
Isaac Oakeson: So, having said all that with LinkedIn, there's some things I also want to detail. Maybe some special cases for people that are going through this. And one of those special cases that -- At least some questions that I get sometimes is "What if you have some gaps in your employment?", and there's a whole host of reasons why you might have gaps in your employment. It could be family-oriented. Maybe you were staying home raising the kids and you weren't as engaged. Maybe you resigned from a position and you just didn't find another job that you wanted for a while. Maybe you had an injury, okay? Or maybeyou were just a contractor doing some contract work and they didn't need you anymore, right? There's a lot of reasons why you have gaps in your employment. And so a lot of people are wondering, "Well, how can I explain that better?", "How can I display that in a way that it doesn't shine the spotlight on that?". And that's a good question. So, obviously the first thing you need to do with an employer though, is be truthful, right? You don't need to totallyexplain every detail as to why there was a gap, but you do need to be honest with what is happening there. But what you can do is you can really focus on the skills that you have and you can also focus on what has kept you relevant. What have you been interested in? Have you been keeping up on the industry? I mean, there's a lot of places you could still become a contractor or list yourself as a contractor, or tools that you could be learning, new software that you could be studying. There's just a lot of ways to show on your resume that you are still engaged in this world of civil engineering or engineering in general. And you can tailor your resume to that, right? So, you can do what's called a hybrid resume or a combo resume, which focuses on skills versus your timeline of employment. In other words, you're putting front and center, you know, near the top of your resume, what your skills are. And you're really focusing on what your skills are instead ofthis timeline of employment that people automatically look at and show this big gap in employment or longer. But there's ways to do this the right way. Soif you make a resume, you want to make sure you're doing a professional summary as the highlight of your resume. And, you know, there's probably not a great -- I guess in LinkedIn, you'd probably do this in your "About" section. You could do a brief, little explainer about why there is a little gap, but also what you want to do is really flip that on its head and really explain what's kept you engaged in the industry that you're in, and that's going to be the highlight, right? So that's just a pro tip, a bonus tip if you have some employment gaps.
Isaac Oakeson: What about if you have little to no work experience? Again, if you have that going on in your life, you're going to also focus on a very well-written summary at the top, and you're going to lead with your education. So this is a lot of people that come out of school maybe, and maybe they don't have a lot of experience in the civil engineering world, if that's where you're headed. So, if you lead with education, we want to make sure we're including all the otherfringe benefits and fringe things you did while you were in school. That includes volunteer work, highlight achievements that you had, or any competitions you were part of. So again, focus on your specialized skills. You learned a lot of software, you learned a lot of tools that you learned while you were in school, and if you focus on those, those are the things that are going to stand out when you have little or no work experience. And you can still tailor your resume. Even those jobs that you did have while maybe you were in school, to tailor thosekey words and whatnot to things applicable to the world of engineering, right? Everyone needs leadership, everyone needs public speaking maybe you're a good writer. All of those things you could focus on as part of your work experience if you work somewhere else, okay?
Isaac Oakeson: So guys, those are my tips for you. I would love to know from you if this has been helpful or if you have any additional tips that would help stand out for your online resume of LinkedIn. And that's really kind of what it is. So guys, go take this information, go polish up your own LinkedIn profile, go polish up your resume. If you need additional help, feel free to email me, [email protected] That's [email protected], and I am more than happy to help. Thanks, guys. That's going to wrap us up. Thanks for joining me today and go crush it out there. See ya!
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.