Students, Take Your International Job Hunt to the Next Level

November 16, 2020

Show off your international experience and stand out to recruiters and graduate schools with these tips.

-By Amanda Solliday

It’s okay to be aspirational on LinkedIn, and there are ways to stand out from the thousands of students seeking international opportunities, said panel members during “Get Global! Makeover Your LinkedIn Profile Live,” hosted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the Office of Global Affairs and LinkedIn.

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The workshop was part of International Education Week 2020 at Duke University.

Don’t just put your resume on LinkedIn, said Rob Humphrey, key account executive at LinkedIn and an expert on the college to career transition.

“Recruiters are looking at many profiles, so find something that distinguishes you,” Humphrey said.

Your profile should reflect the job you want, Humphrey advised. For example, in your profile’s headline (the short statement under the profile image), instead of “student at Duke University,” mention that you are an “aspiring global leader in healthcare.”

LinkedIn’s algorithms show jobs you may be interested in, and you can tune the algorithm based on the content shared in your profile.

“You can make this algorithm work so that the right opportunities come your way,” Humphrey said.

If you include a description like “passionate traveler” in your headline, it’s also one of the first things that recruiters see and allows them to easily recognize your top priorities, said Laura Weinberg ’14, who is now a senior client solutions manager at LinkedIn.

Here are some additional recommendations offered during the session, moderated by Lizzie Pogoloff, senior regional director at the Fuqua School of Business.

SHOW (AND TELL)

The more complete your profile, the better the LinkedIn algorithms respond, Weinberg said.

Weinberg suggests filling out the education section with your major, societies and other activities. Show you’re engaged, and the more detail, the better.

And be visual, said the panel.

As part of the workshop, Duke undergraduate Benjamin Chipman ‘23 volunteered to have his profile critiqued by the panel members.

His profile image in front of the Duke Chapel received praise from the panel for its good lighting and professional composition.

“Don’t use a selfie, only professional-looking portraits that are high quality,” Humphrey said. “And nothing wacky! No pets.”

In addition to having a stellar profile image, Humphrey suggests making the background photo complement your professional goals. A background photo (located behind the profile image) can increase visibility.

In the featured section, you can also add images that help individuals viewing your profile understand who you are in a visual way. There’s space to include visual elements such as portfolios, photography, presentations and videos in the experience section, as well.

If you have an interest in a global perspective, highlight that through images and text. A visual description of past global experience can be particularly important for current international job seekers not able to travel the next few months or so, Pogoloff said.

WRITE LIKE A REAL PERSON

The summary is your chance to find your narrative and tell a story that’s both personal and professional, Weinberg said. Be conversational, and don’t use bullet points.

“Try to talk in first-person,” Weinberg said. “Don’t use buzzwords.”

Personal interests can also help form connections with potential hiring managers.

“If you play soccer at Duke (like Weinberg), maybe the hiring manager played soccer, too, and that could help you connect,” Humphrey said.

In the summary, weave in photography, public speaking or whatever conveys your aspirations and goals, said Humphrey. This is also a place where you can describe the right work culture for you and how you want to operate as a professional, added Humphrey. (He has “I dream big” in his personal profile, for example.)

If getting a globally focused job is your goal, you should portray yourself as someone who can handle or has done travel. And as for languages, “get those in there,” said Humphrey.

BE ACTIVE

It’s not that hard to be active on LinkedIn, Humphrey said. Here are three steps he recommends:

  1. Find 10 companies and schools that you’re interested in, such as the World Bank or other international organizations. Follow them.
  2. Follow people who work at companies you’re interested in, particularly if you have a connection with them, such as Duke alums. You can search for people on a company’s home page, and LinkedIn will let you filter by school or other criteria. Connecting with people at the company will help you stay informed about your dream organization and what’s important to them.
  3. You can also find groups to join in the search, such as the Duke Alumni Network.

The panel recommended engaging with other globally focused posts, too.

Another way to connect on the platform: ask someone to write you a LinkedIn recommendation, Weinberg said.

“Have a professor or mentor write you a recommendation or ask a manager during an internship,” Weinberg said. “It goes a long way.”

Post status updates every once and awhile. You can publish content, too – don’t be intimidated, Humphrey said.

“It doesn’t need to be a huge article,” Humphrey said. “It could be something as simple as ‘I’m giving a talk at Duke with my new friend Ben’ and include a short description of the discussion.”

Right now, higher education and online learning are really popular topics, according to the panel.

Humphrey recommended using the hashtag #studentvoices when posting and encouraged the audience to write about things that are happening right now (like International Education Week!).

“Job opportunities are dwarfed by the social aspect of the network,” Humphrey said.

Center 
International Education Week 2020