Applying for the Aspire-Canada Scholarship? Tips on setting up a Professional Profile

Mixed race college student

We’ve received alot of applications for the Aspire-Canada scholarship 2015 and were delighted! We want to help you succeed and do your best so here are some tips to set up your professional profile in the Aspire-Canada community. This will not only help you win a scholarship but will also help you to with professional networking – connecting with employers, and other professionals. All applicants are required to have a good professional profile that showcases experience, skills and accomplishments. You can just add it to your “wall” and in the “about me” sections. Use your LinkedIn profile for help and your resume. The latest survey data shows a full 94% of recruiters today use social media in their recruitment efforts. And that is across the board from short order cooks to financial analysts. Your profile in the Aspire Community is essential to getting recruiters’ attention and for winning the scholarship.

So let’s get started:

1. Your picture
The picture should be of your face. Not your dog. Or a waterfall or food. Chose a simple headshot where you are looking straight ahead. No selfies. It’s well worth the money to have a professional picture taken. Remember, it doesn’t have to be boring or artificial. You don’t have to wear business attire if that’s not your style. But you need to look professional and pleasant. Smile. You are going for “dependable” and “trustworthy.” Avoid “sexy” or “quirky.”

The old adage is true. People remember faces more than names. This is also why one needs to see your face and not some other part of you. For example, a yoga instructor should still use a headshot and not a photo of her/himself in a yoga pose. Pictures that attest to skill or talent can be uploaded elsewhere on your profile, along with training videos and presentation materials.

2. Your headline
The top of your profile should describe to the world what you do or want to achieve. Many people just put their names only. Choose descriptive and compelling keywords that a) showcase your skills, and b) help you get found by the right people. For students list your current academic programme and any relevant courses and skills along with any related experience.

3. Your summary
You can include high-resolution photos, an infographic of your experience, or a video of a talk you gave. It is well worth it to put in the effort to write a unique and captivating summary section.

You can think of it as your “60-second commercial” or your “elevator speech.” These are the first sentences people read, and you have a very short time to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more.

There are several ways to write a good Summary. It could be a copy/paste of your resume’s summary section. Or it could read more like your bio. You could take a core competencies approach and list the three or four key skills you bring to the table. You could take an accomplishments approach and list the three or four big results you have achieved on behalf of your past employers or clients.

Or you could get quite creative and pair an interesting story with a section called “what you won’t find on my resume.” How far you can go in terms of creativity depends to some extent on your industry, as some are more traditional than others.

4. Your experience
This is the basis of your profile — just like on a traditional resume — where you really showcase your experience, expertise, and skills. You add where you have worked, for how long, and in what roles and functions. Include your current position and at least two other positions.

There are two basic ways to handle this section:

Adapt it from your resume; you can copy/paste the relevant job descriptions and accomplishments for each position.
If you are uncomfortable listing too much information under specific employers, you can simply add the name of employer, your position, dates, keep the rest blank, and include in the Summary a more general “skills-based” experience piece.

5. Ensure you have a “Fully Completed Profile”
A complete profile is an essential part of the scholarship application. Here is the Aspire-Canada definition of a 100% Complete Profile:

— Your school/work/industry and location

— An up-to-date information (academic year/major/current employer (if applicable)

— Two past positions

— Your skills (minimum of 3)

— A profile photo

— At least 10 connections. Invite your friends/colleagues/family members to also create a professional profile on the Aspire-Community. Just email them the link. It’s quick and easy to just use a LinkedIn profile to set one up.

Other Important Tips:

Remember site participation is a factor! Show the organization that you are interested in what they do. Log in with your profile and post useful comments on articles written on Aspire-Canada. Go on the Aspire-Canada Facebook page and Like the page! Post comments and share the page with your friends, ask them to like the Facebook page too. You want to show that you’re not interested in just the scholarship but that you’re genuinely interested in the work the organization does. Become an Ambassador! Launch a group in the Aspire-Community and invite your friends! Go to the Problem-Solver section of the site and post a problem for others to help you solve! Or Become an Aspire-Writer. There are many different ways to get involved.

Keep adding content to your community profile and optimizing for best results. Connect with people in the community and start building a powerful network of professional contacts, friends, students, old colleagues and future collaborators alike. In the next post we will show you how to use Aspire-Canada as a networking tool. Remember Aspire-Canada also has a crowdfunding tool to help you raise funds!

Good Luck!

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