Alumni Relations at Mount Royal is all about helping our alumni reach their full potential while connecting them back to the University. As the coordinator, alumni outreach,  part of what I do is listen to our alumni in order to find out how we can support them in meaningful ways.  The number one thing alumni ask for? Career support. You want to make connections in your industry, improve your personal brand, move into a new field or find a job. We decided to turn that listening into action and hosted a learning session on how to “Use LinkedIn for Career Success.” Did you know half of the Canadian working population is on LinkedIn? Just one of the things we learned at the session—read on for more.

What we learned about LinkedIn:

Profile box:
  • Above the scroll is prime real estate (digital version of above the fold from the newspaper word). Make sure to have a professional photo (which we provided for free at the session thanks to our partner Lifetouch photography) and a descriptive headline.
    • Professional photo: it should represent the industry you work in or want to work in. No half couple pictures with your face cut-off…please.
    • Descriptive headline: the automatic setting is your job title but you can change it to better represent your expertise.
  • Don’t put “looking for opportunities” it looks desperate.  Instead use a phrase like “experienced designer”. It’s code to recruiters that you’re looking.
  • You can customize your profile URL to to make it shorter and better for including in documents such as your resume.
Summary section:
  • Your summary is most important.
  • Highlight in your summary not just what you currently do but what you aspire to do in your career.
    • Paragraph 1 = What is the problem you solve?
    • Paragraph 2 = Build your credibility.
    • Paragraph 3 = Additional interesting information.  Add some personality and include who should/how to contact you.
  • Please don’t write your summary in the third person! It comes off insincere and a bit strange.
Skills section:
  • Your skills with the most endorsements automatically go to the top.
  • You can rearrange your skills to better reflect the industry you are in or want to enter.
  • Try to come up with at least 50 different skills.
    •  20 technical skills (social media management, accounting, event planning).
    • 15 soft skills (interpersonal communications, leadership, public speaking).
    • 15 IT (Photoshop, Excel, HTML).
What to know about Groups:
  • Groups are a great tool for sharing what you know
  • Posts/comments can show up in Group members’ home feeds whether or not you’re connected with them.
  • Keep it two ways: ask questions and comment on other people’s posts.
  • Join the Mount Royal University Alumni Group to find alumni in your industry or an industry you want to enter and invite them for coffee.
  • Take advantage of your existing alumni community. Pose questions, share an interesting article and comment in the Mount Royal University Alumni Group.
LinkedIn Alumni feature:

A newer cool feature on LinkedIn is the Alumni feature. If you go to, it will populate a list of other MRU alumni on LinkedIn. You can then filter the list by job, city, place of employment, industry, etc. This is a great tool if you’re planning a move and want to make connections with other MRU alumni in a new city. Take advantage of the fact that you’re both Mount Royal alumni and reach out. Maybe invite them for coffee?

Other things to consider:
  • Be wary of going overboard with information. You want to leave people guessing and wanting to approach you to find out more. If you put too much out there, you risk them seeing something that turns them off.
  • It’s not what you know or who you know; it’s who knows what you know. So write about what you know—try out the blog feature.
  • Being on LinkedIn does not equal networking. LinkedIn is a networking tool. Having lots of connections isn’t beneficial.  Interacting and engaging in conversations on and off LinkedIn is where the real value is.

Special thanks to our coach Eric Pye, professional networking strategist and career advisor at CPA Alberta.

This post was written by Tierney Edmunds, coordinator, alumni outreach at Mount Royal University. If you’d like to see more sessions like this one or have other learning ideas, email Tierney at, or even better, ask to have “Tea with Tierney” and chat about your ideas in person.