Like most industries, the fashion world is not easy to tap into. In an extremely competitive field, it’s important to market yourself anyway you can. LinkedIn is the perfect networking app for industry newbies or seasoned executives. It is a great way to showcase your talents and achievements and make you more marketable to industry professionals and to distinguish you from other applicants. College is the perfect time to start building your profile, but I know it can be a bit daunting. Here are some tips that will help make yourself more marketable in the industry.
1. Choose a Professional Profile Picture
A LinkedIn profile picture is not the same as a Facebook profile picture. This picture is essentially the first image that employers will see of you. You want to start them off with a good impression. Everyone doesn’t have access to professional head shots and that is okay. Just make sure that your outfit looks professional, your makeup is not to heavy, and your whole face is in the shot. Present yourself in the same way you would at an interview. Most importantly, make sure no one else is in the picture. You do not want an employer trying to decipher which one is you.
2. Give Yourself a Clear, Concise Title
Your title is not a list of everything you are involved in. If you are a student, you should list your major and/or that you are a student at your university. If you are not a student, then your title should be the current position you hold and the company it is with. Do not worry about jazzing your title up with any distinguishing roles you hold or honors you have received because there is a place for that in your summary.
3. A Well-written Summary
The summary is a spot where you can give a blurb about yourself with more detail. The content of your summary is up to you. I suggest listing your year and major if you did not make that part of your title, or highlight one or two of the most important roles you currently hold. If you chose to list your current roles then make sure they are pertinent to the type of job you are seeking or industry you want to get involved in. You can also write a little bit about your best qualities and future goals, so potential employers can have insight of your personality and ambition. Although this is a place to give more detail, still try to leave it to one to three sentences.
4. List College Activities
If you are a freshman then this one is a little bit harder because you haven’t had the chance to gain a lot of college experience. Sometimes it is necessary to list high school activities, however, keep the high school to a minimum and make sure it is absolutely pertinent to the industry. By second semester freshman year, you should be able to remove high school activities. A great way to transition is to turn your high school activities into applicable skills. If you were a contributor to the school news paper, then list communication as a skill of yours.
5. List Your Accomplishments
Yes, sometimes it is awkward to talk about everything you have won and accomplished, but it is important to list these accomplishments on your LinkedIn. It doesn’t make you an overachiever. Remember, LinkedIn is your electronic resume, so you are trying to market yourself to potential employers. But, you still want to be careful and only list what is relevant.
6. Build Your Network
When you meet people, even students, look them up on LinkedIn if you think they could be of assistance to you in the future or vice-versa. Think of building your network like homework. If the in-class portion is meeting these individuals and making connections in person, then the homework is to add them to your virtual network so they remember you. It is also important to look at other individuals networks and see who they know.
If you are heading towards a career in the fashion industry, you have probably heard the saying “it is all about who you know.” It is not about who you are connected to directly in the company, but it is about your mutual connections with the employer. If an employer thinks highly of an individual you are linked with then they may have the same impression with you because of your association. An important thing to remember when requesting to join a network is to send a personal message. Do not use the pre-made message that LinkedIn provides you. Remind them how you know each other and who you are.
7. Update Your Profile
As you receive new positions or take on new roles remember to continually update your profile. This will keep your page relevant, but it also notifies your network of new accomplishments. This will really help individuals remember you and keep up with the experiences you are gaining. Remember, this is your resume. You wouldn’t bring an old resume to an interview so why let your profile become stale and outdated.
LinkedIn is a great tool to use to connect with industry professionals and market yourself accordingly. It should be professional, but employers should also be able to get a sense of your personality through your profile. Don’t be afraid to use the post button to show off exciting events happening in your life. Just make sure they are related to the industry. Providing links to examples of your work is also another way to give a glimpse of your personality.
Remember that LinkedIn is not your Facebook profile for anything and everything. As long as you are keeping things industry specific and relevant to the work force, then you’re on the right path