LinkedIn Professional: Profile Development Tips

by Tiffany Waddell Tate

LinkedIn is a tool for students and alumni to build connections, but frequently, many don’t quite know how to maximize their digital presence online. LinkedIn is one of many tools you can use to create a digital stamp that embodies your personal and professional brand.

If you are curious about how to create or update your profile to make your brand statement clear and noticeable, check out these five tips to make your profile pop today!

Profile Photo

Make sure your photo is a professional headshot. No need to pay for a full photoshoot, but I highly recommend having a friend or colleague snap a photo of you with a solid light-colored or natural background behind you. Once you have a few that you like, crop one to include no more than your mid torso and above. If you are in education or recruiting, you can likely have a bit more fun with your choice of dress in the photo, so let your personality shine through! Profiles with fresh headshots definitely get more traffic than those without.


Instead of writing a boring snippet that just includes your job title (that’s in your experience section anyway!) try thinking of a brief, but creative description of what you do or what you’re particularly adept in. Who are you, independent of your professional title? For example, if you started own your company, instead of saying “CEO of Fran’s Cupcake Company” try “Dessert aficionado with a passion for sprinkles” which will make your profile stand out. If you work in a more traditional or conservative space, however, it is also a good idea to highlight the core skill set or motivation that drives your work. For example, if you work for a creative marketing agency, you might try something like “marketing manager with a keen eye for design.”


While many people think of LinkedIn as an online resume, it’s more than that. The summary section allows you to craft a (brief) statement that tells your story. What are you passionate about? What drives you? Specifically, what are you good at and how does it assist you in making things happen? Are there topics or experiences that you have that contribute to your overall value that may or may not be tied to your current position? Write about it here. LinkedIn tends to come up in the top five results when someone Googles your name, so make every word count!

Vanity URL

Like most social networks and blogs, you have the option within your profile to create a “Vanity URL” which is a shortened web address for your page that fits nicely onto a business card or e-mail signature. Vanity URLs also make your profile easier to find in online search engine results.


I like to think of recommendations as “living references,” because your personal brand is not just what you say about yourself—it includes what others have to say about you, too! Asking colleagues, clients, or former supervisors for LinkedIn recommendations can only strengthen your professional digital presence.

Bonus pro tip: it is better to give than receive! If you ask someone to write a recommendation for you, offer a recommendation in return—or at least send them a thank you note. It’s only proper!

What tips do you leverage to make your profile pop?

Tiffany Waddell Tate, former associate director of career development at Davidson College, is now the associate director of national engagement in the Office of Alumni Engagement at Wake Forest University.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers

Next Week is Government Week at GMU

Are you part of NOVA’s Advance Program? If so, George Mason Career Services is hosting Government Week next week. Learn more by visiting:

Want to know more about the NOVA/Mason Advance Program? Check out:

Social Media In Your Job Search

Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and relatives, but it also can be a useful tool in your job search. Employers are using social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to both promote their organizations and connect with potential job candidates.

While social media can help you research employers (critical to your job-search success), be sure to use it more actively—as a way to connect with potential employers. By following a few basic tips, you can use social media to get in front of hiring managers.

Get Noticed

There are a few key points to keep in mind when using social media as a job-search tool.

Create a Profile That Gives a Positive Impression of You Think of it as your online resume: What do you want it to say about you? Hiring managers can get a stronger sense of who you are, and if you’re a potentially good fit for their company, through your profile.

Be Aware of the Keywords You Include in Your Profile This is particularly true for sites focused on professional networking, such as LinkedIn. Many employers do keyword searches to find profiles that contain the skill sets they’re seeking in potential hires.

Don’t Include Photos, Comments, or Information You Wouldn’t Want a Potential Employer to See

Don’t Mix Personal With Professional The social media you use in your job search has to present you as a potential employee—not as a friend. Follow the rules for writing a resume.

Make Sure Your Profile Is Error-Free You wouldn’t offer up a resume rife with misspellings, would you?

Choose Appropriate Contact Information Your e-mail address or Twitter handle should be professional—a simple variation on your name, perhaps—rather than suggestive or offensive.

Connect Many organizations have embraced social media as an extension of their hiring practices, and provide information that you can use to research the organization and connect with hiring managers and recruiters.

    • Check your college/university’s social media groups: Many times, employers join such groups.
    • Check social media groups that are focused around your field of interest or career.
    • Search for the social media pages, profiles, and videos of organizations that interest you. Many organizations post job descriptions, information about salaries, and more.
    • Ask questions. Even something as broad as “Is anyone hiring in [industry]?” may bring responses, and asking questions about a specific organization—“What’s it like to work at Company X?” can give you insight into the organization and its culture.

Stay Connected Keep in touch with recruiters or other decision makers you may interact with in cyberspace.

There may not be an available opportunity at their organization right now, but that could change, and you want to be considered when it does.

Finally, in addition to maintaining your network, use social media tobuild your network. Don’t just establish a social media presence—work it. Reach out. Interact. You will get out of social media what you put into it.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers

Job and Internship Database for NOVA Students and Alumni

Trying to find an internship?  Looking for a job?  Whether you are near a computer or on the go, a great place to begin your search is by accessing the Jobs and Internships Database for NOVA students and alumni.

The following are some benefits of using the system.

  • Search for jobs and internships.  Take a look at many local positions available now.
  • Build a new resume with the Resume Builder feature.
  • Upload your resume and make it searchable to employers.
  • Check out over 1,000 career articles written by industry professionals.
  • View career videos and listen to podcasts on topics including resume basics,  interviewing, and personal branding.
  • Browse and sign-up for upcoming workshops, programs, and events at NOVA and in the surrounding area.

Don’t delay – follow the steps below to begin using the system.

  1. Access the Jobs and Internships Database
  2. Select Students or Alumni
  3. Follow on screen instructions


Student Workers Needed & Job Hunting Help

Have you been awarded Federal Work Study Aid? If you are using Financial Aid to pay for your courses and are interested in being a student worker this semester, NOVA Online’s Student Services Department is hiring!

More information can be found at: and


Are you looking for a job or wanting to upgrade to a better job? Have you applied for jobs without success? Is your resume failing to open doors for you?

Unlock the mysteries of the job search with Job Prep Express, Saturday, September 8 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at NOVA’s Loudoun Campus in the Higher Education Center. Experts from healthcare, education, IT, service industries and more will be giving their best job seeker tips.

Learn how to properly format your resume, search for a job online, and prepare to ace an interview. Mock interview practice is available for a limited number of participants. The event is FREE, open to all and co-sponsored by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, Loudoun County Economic Development and Northern Virginia Community College.

Register online at .

Career Planning Tool for NOVA Students





Did you know all NOVA students have free access to FOCUS 2, an online, interactive, self-guided career and education planning system that can help you:

  • Select a program/major based on your interests and aspirations
  • Discover occupations matching your personal preferences and attributes
  • Map out your career plans, present and future
  • Make informed career decisions

View a Getting Started with FOCUS 2 handout.

Follow the steps below to begin using FOCUS 2.

  1. Visit NOVA’s Career Services website
  2. Select FOCUS 2
  3. Click FOCUS 2 button
  4. Click REGISTER button
  5. Enter “NOVA” for the access code
  6. Enter your NOVA student e-mail address in the e-mail box
  7. Provide requested information
  8. Check box to acknowledge terms and conditions of system
  9. Click CONTINUE button

Contact Christy Jensen ( if you have any problems accessing the system.


If you will be taking an online MTT class, the NOVA Online Success Coaches are here to help! We realize that math can be intimidating and sometimes overwhelming. To combat these concerns, we have developed a summary of free NOVA supports, resources and best practices to enhance your learning in MTT.

First, read your syllabus and other folders in your course Blackbaord! As noted in the course processes, you will begin MTT by taking the Syllabus Quiz, when you pass, inform you Professor and your pre-test will be unlocked.

Attend the Online MTT Lab – This lab is embedded in your MTT class as a resource for general questions regarding course content and concepts. MTT Professors are logged in and ready to help you! To access the Online Math Lab, click on the “Online Math Lab” link in your Blackboard page.

Promote Your Success: Watch course videos, take notes, view PowerPoint slides available in your MYMATHLAB.

Take advantage of free educational resources:

Manage Your Time Well: When taking an online class, it is important to plan ahead and manage your time well. If time management is not your strength, take a few minutes to review our free workshop, Time Management: Strategies for Success:

Develop a Routine: Think of this class as an on-campus class where attendance is expected. Keep up with your pre and post-tests, homework and log into the math labs. Be sure to read the announcements/ check emails daily. View the free online workshop, 10 Tips for Success in Your Online Course. Although the instruction in MTT is individualized and you can progress as quickly as you like, you must complete a minimum number of quizzes and tests per week to make satisfactory progress.

Be proactive! Maintain communication with your instructor throughout the semester. If you have questions or need direction with an assignment, make an appointment. Don’t know what to say: 10 quick steps to e-mailing your instructor!

Enhance your Skills-Free Math Workshops: If math is challenging, take time to view our free online workshops located on Student lingo. How to Succeed in Math, How to Overcome Math Anxiety.

Repeating MTT: If you are unable to complete all of the Units, some work can be imported if it is within the same semester—consult with your Professor.

Publisher Access Code: Your Access Code will last until you are finished with all of your MTT.

Completing MTT Units 2 and/or 3: When checking into the testing center, a formula sheet, containing the volume formulas only, will be provided for the pre and post-tests. If they do not provide one, just ask. (If you are using a Proctor, they should have one as well.)

Your NOVA Online Success Coach is here to help you navigate the semester with success. They can refer you to free tutoring, assist with time management, help with organization, and answer any questions about MTT or other other online classes, reach out to your Success Coach, or 703.323.3347.



NOVA Annandale Campus| CE Building
Ernst Cultural Center-Forum Level
Sept. 26 – 11:00am-2:30pm

This annual event provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the collective agencies representing the US Intelligence Community, insight on how to apply for internships and full/part-time job opportunities, as well as providing clarity on what is needed to obtain a security clearance.

The event is free and open to ALL NOVA Students. NO RSVP required. Be sure to check your NOVA email for forthcoming details/announcements!

This annual event is brought to you by:
The NOVA Annandale Career Services Team & the NOVA Annandale Office of Student Activities.

Fall Tuition Due by 5 pm on August 7th

Starting August 6th, tuition is due by 5pm the following business day after enrollment. ELI’s first fall session started on Wednesday, August 22 and for many courses, additional sections are offered starting September 12, 26, or later. Check the full list of fall 2018 courses here.

If you registered for fall 2018 courses and haven’t submitted your tuition payment or have your financial aid in place, you must do so by 5 pm on August 7th to avoid being dropped from your courses!

If you have questions about payment, visit NOVA’s payment information for details. You can also call the ELI Hotline at 703-323-3347 for assistance.

For more information about Financial Aid at NOVA, you can visit the Financial Aid Support Center or review the Financial Aid Video.


182292619Looking for a job?  Trying to find an internship?  Whether you are near a computer or on the go, a great place to begin your search is by accessing College Central Network (CCN) – NOVA’s online job board system.

The following are some benefits of using the system.

  • Search for jobs and other opportunities posted exclusively to NOVA.  Take a look at many local positions available now.
  • Search for jobs on CCN’s Jobs Central® national job board.  The job board contains over 500,000 opportunities from unique sources.
  • Check out CCN’s Intern Central® national internship board to search for internships.
  • Build a new resume with the Resume Builder feature.
  • Upload your resume and make it searchable to employers.
  • Check out over 1,000 career articles written by industry professionals.
  • View career videos and listen to over 25 career advice podcasts on topics including resume basics,  interviewing, and personal branding.
  • Browse and sign-up for upcoming workshops, programs, and events at NOVA and in the surrounding area.

Get started today.  Check your VCCS student e-mail account with instructions for accessing your free account.  Contact Career and Experiential Learning Services if you cannot access your account.