How to Create an Effective LinkedIn Profile with CanGap Ambassador AJ


AJ - 00:00

Hello everyone, my name is AJ and I am a gap year ambassador at the Canadian Gap Year Association. Today I'm going to be talking about something that really helped shape my Gap Year and gave me so many opportunities and experiences that I never thought I would ever have nor ever get. And that is establishing a LinkedIn profile and putting yourself out there!


I knew right off the bat that I wanted my Gap Year to help shape my career goals and to help me understand what I wanted to do in the future and what I wanted to spend such a significant portion of my life, and the trajectory that I wanted to go towards and I was confused.


I didn't know where to start. I didn't know where to look. I didn't know how to even figure out what I wanted to do, and then I came across LinkedIn.


AJ - 00:40

So in case you don't know what it is, LinkedIn is pretty much the Facebook for professional networking.


It's a social media site where you can do your usual stuff, post things, and create your profile.

But this time you're highlighting your experiences, your knowledge, the different academic related or extracurricular involvements that you've had, the language you can speak, all of the courses you've done, and it really lays the foundation or you to be able to find jobs for employers to be able to find you, and to really put yourself in a network where everyone's just sharing industry knowledge and helping each other grow.


So on a personal level, when I created my LinkedIn account, I really did not know what I was doing, but I just ended up following a bunch of people who were in the digital marketing and finance related fields and followed a bunch of pages that I was familiar with.


AJ - 01:19

And then I looked at different posts and every day I would see different news, events and articles and job postings that would really emphasize the sheer variety of opportunities and potential jobs or career paths that you can take.


Just being on the site alone inspired me. I saw different online courses. People were doing different programs and different initiatives that everyone was taking part of and that motivated me to one, take inspiration and join the same program as they did and two find new programs for myself.


I was able to do all of this by initially establishing my profile and then networking and connecting with a variety of people from different fields that I was genuinely interested in.


And frankly, it wasn't for LinkedIn. I wouldn't be here today making these videos.


AJ - 01:55

I wouldn't have also had my internships that I got and I wouldn't have so many opportunities and inspirational moments that pushed me to grow and pushed me to meet new people who guided me along the way so it was truly transformative and there were so many opportunities that I genuinely didn't think even existed until I put myself out there.


Now enough of me talking about myself. Hopefully I've convinced you that LinkedIn is important and so now I want to tell you how to get started. First things first, go to linkedin.com and create an account.


AJ - 02:20

Do it! Actually, please do it. Come on, it's worth it.


The first thing you want to do once you've set that all up is establish your profile. And this comprises a professional looking profile photo, a nice headline to summarize what you do and who you are.


A summary to explain the specific things that you've accomplished. Some feature articles, if applicable. Experience section which highlights all of your pertinent experience, whether that be professional or within school.


And education section which specifies all of the things that you've accomplished within school, such as the activities you've been involved in, as well as any particular grades that you would like to mention, as well as other licenses and certifications, if applicable.


AJ - 02:56

Including any of these online courses that you've done. And finally, any volunteer experience that you've had thus far.


You can also include skills and endorsements where your peers or your colleagues can actually endorse you for particular skills that they think you have proficiency in.


You can also gain recommendations which you could ask for your colleagues or managers.

And there's finally a section on accomplishments where you're able to highlight any honors and awards you received, or highlight any languages you speak, any publications you may have, test scores, and so much more.


Now I know exactly what you're thinking. I just graduated high school.


AJ - 03:27

All I did was a few clubs. How do you expect me to fill all of this out?


Your LinkedIn profile is a work in progress. It's something you're constantly revising from week to week or month to month.


And it's a place where you always go back once you've acquired and you experience a new language or something that you really want to share. It's a dynamic place for you to show off your strengths and who you are. And your career goals and something that I'd really encourage you to do that I learned from one of my friends, is to constantly post, put your name out there, because if people don't see your post then they would never even check your profile.


AJ - 03:57

So every time you complete a new course, attend a new event or learn something really interesting, share it with your network.


Let them know about all the cool things that you're up to, and perhaps an employer might even see that. Or it might spark a really interesting conversation between someone else that will help you discover new passions down the line.


The possibilities are endless, you just need to put yourself out there. And I know it seems weird at first and you don't really want to do it, but this is something really important.


Here are some examples of some of my posts that I have done in the past to give you a brief idea of some of the things that you can be putting out there.


Now that you got everything ready to go and set up, I want you to take this opportunity to connect with people.


AJ - 04:43

After all, that's what LinkedIn is for. Constantly grow your network. Reach out to people you know or those who you don't know. Send them a message, send them a connection request.

Don't be shy. Ask them to hop on a zoom chat if you're comfortable to learn more about them.


AJ - 04:57

Be genuine. Be willing to help where you can and show your interest in learning about other people and being inspired by them. Trust me, you'll be surprised by the extent and the amount that people are willing to help just to give you advice.


Before I end off this video I want to leave you with some tips that you can really use and share to go and make the most out of this incredible platform.


Firstly, include an excellent summary and heading that encapsulates who you are and make sure to include important keywords based off of careers or opportunities you're looking out for. For example, If you're super interested in finance, then make sure you include financial keywords throughout your profile because employees are able to search for particular skills and interests based off of the keywords that you incorporate in your profile. So that will really help you show up and be more visible.


AJ - 05:39

Moreover, you have this entire year for yourself and to me that is one of the best opportunities to grow your page. Constantly expand your skills and experiences and education so that you can really fill it up like I did at the end of my year. For example, there are so many online courses from Coursera, Udemy.


There's virtual internship programs on Forage that are completely free. There's a variety of different programs offered by individual companies or universities. There's even LinkedIn programs and skill assessments that you can do.


AJ - 06:08

Also, if you ever do have an experience, make sure to ask your employers to give you recommendations to really add credibility to your profile and show off the incredible people you really are.


Finally, make sure you're always checking LinkedIn here and there. Follow pages and people who inspire you and constantly check to see what people are up to and how you can learn from them. Comment on other people's posts. Engage with them and be inspired by them so that it can push you to the next level to really be the best you can be and get that dream job that will keep you happy and well.


And yeah, so that sums up my video on LinkedIn. It genuinely is a great platform and the earlier you can start the better and it will help set you up for so many more successes and opportunities to come.


AJ - 06:48

If you enjoy this video or learn something new, I would really appreciate it if you could give it a like comment, subscribe, turn on the notifications and do all that good stuff and I'll see you very soon.


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