9 Steps to optimize your LinkedIn profile for your internship search in Canada

February 28, 2020
Posted in Student Internship


If you are reading this article; you must have a LinkedIn profile already. But are you really making the most out of your LinkedIn profile? If you are looking to find an internship in Canada, you must optimize your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is a valuable networking tool to connect with host companies, make yourself known and obtain information on an internship opportunity or any industry.  Most of the host companies in Canada use Linkedin and, therefore, optimizing your profile on LinkedIn is an asset to help you in your internship search in Canada.

At Stepwest we always recommend our internship applicants to optimize their LinkedIn profile in order to maximize their possibilities to find an internship in Canada. You need to have a good profile online: when a potential host company in Canada receives your resume for an internship opening and has an interest in your CV they will look for your profile on LinkedIn and it needs to play in your favour!

Here are a few tips on how to optimize your profile to find your internship in Canada!

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Step #1: Create a strong headline

These few words that appear below your photo are of the utmost importance: they define who you are and what you are looking for in just one sentence. You must think of it as a slogan: why are you the right person for the position?

This headline should focus on what you want to do next,  your area of specialization, how you make a difference, or a specific quality.

A bad headline would be: “Student at Harvard”, or a random quote that you found online. “Sky is the limit” is not something to put on LinkedIn! Keep in mind you are on a professional network.

A good headline would be: “Bachelor student at Harvard / Looking for an internship in Digital Marketing from June 2020” These keywords will help you stand out from other profiles.

Show your knowledge: you might not have much experience, but from this strong headline Canadian host companies should be able to understand that you can bring a plus to the company as an intern.

Step #2: Personalize your Public URL

It is sometimes overlooked by LinkedIn users, but a very important thing to do is to change the URL of your public profile to get positioned better on search engines. The format should be linkedin.com/in/name. You can change it in your profile settings.

Step #3 Pay attention to your profile picture

It may seem obvious, but your profile picture is the most important part of your profile or at least the one that will get more visibility. Companies have access to two things before they click and access your profile: your professional status and your profile picture; thus better pay attention to it. White or black background, professional outfit, not blurry and of course not cut.

If you are not sure about the quality of your picture, you can use a free tool like Photofeeler where the community will decide the top characteristics your picture transmits.

Step #4 Add a cover picture to your profile

The visual impact of your profile is super important and LinkedIn not only does allow you to have a profile picture but also a cover picture and you should optimize it. This is an opportunity for you to highlight your skills, your industry, a recent achievement, etc. Host companies will definitely pay attention to it!

For example, if you are looking for an engineering internship in green energies, show that this is a cause that matters to you by using a picture like this:

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Step #5 Describe as much as possible your professional experiences

Once on your profile, the company will pay attention to the responsibilities you had during your past experiences to understand if you are the right fit for the position. There’s no word limit on LinkedIn; thus you should make the most of this feature!

You should detail your experiences as much as possible, but also try not to lose the attention of the person reading your experiences. Focus on the most important: your responsibilities and results.

To optimize your LinkedIn profile as much as possible, don’t limit yourself to just text: LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to add a portfolio to highlight your work and each of your experiences, which brings a realistic dimension to your experiences and to your profile. There are many ways to bring value to your work:

  • If you’re looking for a marketing internship, add a link to a blog post you’ve developed for your student association.
  • For an internship in graphic design, add as much as possible the work you have done.
  • For a web development internship, link your personal website or the website of your friend or family member you’ve helped.

Step #6 Choose the right keywords

In order to find the right applicants, companies use LinkedIn’s search engine to target profiles with specific keywords, which can relate to skills, job titles, schools, industries, etc. To optimize that and stand out from the crowd, there are some specific keywords you can place in all the categories of your profile.

Depending on the internship you are looking for, keywords will of course not be the same and you must make some research to target the right keywords. Understanding what a host company is looking for is a long process and you might need to spend some time to optimize your profile the best way. There are some things we recommend you to do:

  • Visit profiles of professionals with job titles similar to what you are looking for. Ideally, target professionals with some experience on the market already and take a look at the keywords they are using in their headlines, experiences and resume.
  • Take a look at internship offers and see what Canadian companies are looking for. You will most likely notice similar keywords from an offer to another.
  • Read LinkedIn’s Practical Guide to Powerful Keywords in Your LinkedIn Profile.

Step #7 List your skills

An important step to optimize your LinkedIn profile is to list your skills. Your earlier research on keywords and professional experiences must have given you an idea of the skills host companies are looking for. In this category of your profile, we recommend you to publish between 5 and 10 skills that make sense to the position you are targeting. Each skill you fill in will be an extra chance to attract a host company.

In addition to adding your skills, get some recommendations from industry professionals. Whether it is your past supervisor, one of your teacher or even a student you’ve been working with; each of these recommendations are valuable in the eyes of host companies in Canada.

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Step #8 Develop your network

We recommend you add to your network your past and current teachers, alumni of your universities, students of your Bachelor or Master’s degree, … Most importantly make sure all these relations make sense. Building a network is a long process and it’s better to have 100 quality relations than 1000 people you do not know, you’re not on TikTok or Instagram. People you add to your network should be related to your professional career.

Think about joining groups to develop your network. Your university will most likely have a group of alumni you can join and internship opportunities might pop-up there. Be an active participant in groups related to your field of study and the internship you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for an internship in business management, you can write blog posts about agile management. This will improve your visibility, your recognition and make you different from candidates with similar profiles.

Step #9 Upload your resume to your profile

LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to add your resume to your profile, and we recommend you do it if your resume is well-built and adapted to the market you are targeting to do your internship in Canada.

Be careful: your resume must be adapted to Canadian standards!

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Bonus Step: Get the help of an Internship Experience Provider!

Finding an internship in Canada can be a long process. At Stepwest, we can provide you with a guaranteed internship placement in Canada. Whether you are looking for an engineering internship in Vancouver, a marketing internship in Toronto or an internship in Finance in Montreal: we will secure an internship that will boost your professional career!

Interested? Click on the button and leave us your details! Let’s secure your internship!

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