Are You Making a Good First Digital Impression?

Do you dress appropriately when you go for a job interview? Do you want to leave an excellent first impression? Well, I would. Now, consider that recruiters have already checked your social media profiles before they invite you. So, how did your first (digital) impression go?  

Perception is everything. The truth is: you research prospective employers and they research you…and it’s important to leave a good impression. According to a recent study, 65 percent of employers sourced their new hires through social media in the past year. Social recruiting happens all the time! Dell recently drew attention for turning our employees into an army of recruiters on social media.

As a marketing graduate, I wanted to pursue a career in digital marketing and used social platforms, both professionally and personally. I was about to accept a job offer with Facebook when LinkedIn contacted me with an opportunity based on my profile details and the job offerings I had previously searched on LinkedIn. “Social Media and Online Marketing Manager” near my home town – that sounded promising. I applied via LinkedIn and soon received an invitation for an initial interview. The position was for Dell, and that’s how I started my journey at this company. Four years later, I’m in a global talent program teaching executives how to develop their social persona.

So, you need to invest time in your social presences and, as graduates, you should get yourself a professional, polished LinkedIn profile.

Here’s how:

Define a social persona & highlight your best skills

When starting your professional career, think about how you’d like to be perceived by others. Who are you and what do you stand for? What are your interests and hobbies? How can you apply take advantage of your knowledge to build your reputation? What makes you “you”?

Here is a video from LinkedIn with 5 tips for your profile:

  • Informative and punchy headline

    • Avoid clichés or overused, and meaningless, buzzwords on LinkedIn profiles

      • How do you want to add value and to whom? “Job-seeking graduate” doesn’t say much.

Tip: Try checking out Alumni of your university via LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool, and take a look what they use.

  • Narrative summary

    • What are your experience, qualifications and goals? What motivates you and makes you unique? Be clear and confident. This is the place on your profile to rise and shine. Make it count.

Tip: Always write in 1st person!

  • Highlight your experiences and skills

    • Experiences: What were you responsible for, what did you achieve? List all (relevant) part-time or unpaid work, including contracting or internships. Add work projects, photos, or videos. Show off your good work.                    
  • Skills & expertise:  Add at least 5 key skills that others can second at and you want to be known for.
  • Recommendations: Gain extra credibility for your strengths and skills by asking managers, professors, or classmates who’ve worked with you closely to write a recommendation.
  • Complete your profile by adding volunteer experiences & causes, honors & awards as well as list certifications or team projects that demonstrate the skills you’ve worked hard to acquire.

A picture says more than thousand words

Selfie-lover? Bad news! Your profile picture should not be an angled-to-get-the-best-lighting-mirror-selfie. Invest in a great headshot and consider the following:

  • Is your picture consistent with the person you describe in your profile? Does it fit with the job category you are applying for? For instance, if you want to get into a creative job, a picture of you looking like a serious banker probably won’t do. Remember it is about perception – and a picture can help you getting the right impression across.
  • Are you getting across as approachable? Relax, smile, have a good posture, be confident. Tip: Photo Feeler is a website where your picture is rated on being competent, likable and influential by a community. I had my current LinkedIn profile picture selected by the tool.

Network & Engage

Eighty percent of jobs are not advertised – so how do you score the job of your dreams? The key to success (also for later in life) is networking. Use your connections you made in university, connect with your tutors, university career advisors and don’t to forget your coaches and mentors. Once you’re connected, you can browse through your networks and explore if there are potential recruiters and interesting companies to get in touch with. Always remember to research before reaching out. Once you’ve found an interesting contact, customize the contact requests. Why are you reaching out? What value do you offer? What do you need from them?

Increase your network by sharing your knowledge and engaging in conversations. Comment on your connections posts, engage in groups or publish articles on LinkedIn Pulse.

Don’t forget the small details:

  • Get yourself a professional email address and ditch the comedy or university address. You invested all that effort in a great profile – don’t ruin it with “”.
  • Claim your unique URL which you can use on business cards, email address and written applications.

Now you are powered with many tips on how to crafting a high-quality profile on LinkedIn.

Good luck and go get them!

About the Author: Janine Wegner

Janine Wegner leads the strategy and partnerships across Dell’s entrepreneurship programs as well as acts as Chief of Staff for the Entrepreneur-in-Residence Office. She joined Dell in 2011 leading multiple digital and brand roles in country, region and corporate. Previous to Dell, she held multiple marketing roles at eBay, Philips International and start-ups. Since 2015, she is part of the award-winning talent program “Dell Marketing Rotation Program” whose members are hand-picked by Dell executives to develop leadership skills while completing multiple job rotations in global marketing functions. Janine holds two Bachelor and three Master degrees from universities across 4 countries. She recently moved to Austin, Texas, from Germany.