In today’s fast-paced, digitally connected world, LinkedIn exists as a valuable tool for students entering the workforce. Why? Good question! LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows individuals to extend their professional network through friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Connections made through this network can lead to an excellent internship or job opportunities. However, a LinkedIn profile should be created with great care just like an official job resume for two reasons. First, this profile will be viewed by individuals who are friends of friends with connections to a job. Therefore, the profile should be professional and work to highlight your strengths. Second, this profile may be viewed by potential employers as part of a background check. Before posting your profile on LinkedIn, it’s very important that it meet certain professional standards.
Here are some valuable LinkedIn profile tips.
LinkedIn Profile Strength
A strong LinkedIn profile must meet several key aspects. Take the time to draft your profile but don’t publish it until it’s perfect.
Strong profiles all abide by the following LinkedIn profile tips when they go live:
- Free from spelling and grammatical errors.
- Use terminology relevant to the individual’s primary industry focus.
- Post only information and article relevant to a certain industry.
- Highlight strengths of the individual with evidence to support strengths.
- Constantly updated with new information to demonstrate growth.
- Show participation in relevant LinkedIn groups.
Remember that these LinkedIn profile tips are just that: tips. Create your profile to highlight your strengths…and if you know that spelling and grammar are not in your wheelhouse, then ask an English major or professional writing service for help to ensure that a potential employer’s first impression isn’t a negative one.
LinkedIn Profile Picture
Have a professional headshot? No? Well, now’s the time to invest in one. A professional headshot will focus on you — there will be no distracting backgrounds or other people in the picture. Professional photographers will manipulate light and your head position to create the best possible representation of you. In short, investing in yourself is always a good investment. This type of profile picture also speaks to your professionalism and understanding of the business world. Avoid posting any picture that shows you at a party or social gathering. Instead, you want a picture that creates the qualities a potential employer looks for: responsibility, diligence, and intelligence.
Student LinkedIn Profile
Future employers know you’re about to graduate college and may not have a ton of work experience — yet. Students who’ve used this platform share many important LinkedIn profile tips that helped them get their proverbial foot into the door.
Here are some of the best:
Let employers see challenging classes and the grades earned. This demonstrates a student’s ability to handle a difficult workload and succeed.
Include extracurricular activities.
Don’t simply list your extracurricular activities; include any leadership positions held or special events organized. Remember to include any recognition you received as well as key skills you learned and used in the activity. Extracurricular activities include a broad range of both social and academic clubs: list and describe them all.
Include examples of assignments.
Have a paper or case study you nailed? Have a group project you earned a 100% on? Including such assignments shows your ability to succeed. It shows that you understood directions, followed them, and executed the assignment with perfection. These are all good qualities bosses look for in employees…so save good assignments, scan them and post!
Include recommendations from professors.
You spend a lot of time in the classroom; your professors are similar to your future bosses: they give you a task and you have to complete it. Politely asking for a professional reference from a professor is one of several good LinkedIn profile tips you can use to create a strong profile.
By the time you graduate from college, you’ll likely have acquired some important professional skills. Whether you learned these skills in class, at internships, or during gainful employment, it’s important to list any and all professional skills on your profile.
Here are some LinkedIn profile tips regarding professional skills:
- Leadership Skills.
- Technology Skills.
- Computer Skills.
- Interpersonal Skills.
This is one of the important LinkedIn profile tips: humbly brag about your skills. List them all as they are relevant to your preferred industry. Professional skills don’t need to be learned at your first “professional” job — they can be acquired and honed throughout both your educational experience as well as internships and summer jobs as well. Sit down and brainstorm as many skills as you can think of and list all the relevant ones to the field in which you’d like to obtain employment in.
Your education is an important section to include in your LinkedIn profile. While you can list your high school, it isn’t necessary unless there’s some specific information you’d like to list such as winning a national competition. Focus more on your college education and classes, noted specific awards or GPA levels.
Here are several LinkedIn profile tips for the education part of the profile:
- Use strong verbs when discussing your college degree.
- Only list your GPA if it’s a strong one.
- Mention any awards/nominations/scholarships you earned.
- Used LinkedIn to connect with alumni and widen your network.
Connecting with alumni through LinkedIn is a valuable feature of this professional networking platform. Colleges and universities work hard to establish strong alumni groups, and these groups can be invaluable when making key connections to get your foot in the door.
LinkedIn exists as an excellent resource for college students looking to transition to the professional world. However, like any tool, it works best with a bit of knowledge. Following these LinkedIn profile tips can improve your LinkedIn profile strength.
Remember: professionalism is the most important word when it comes to your student LinkedIn profile. Although the process may seem overwhelming, start by selecting a LinkedIn profile picture and then become to list your strengths, professional skills, and education. Before you know it, you’ll be making valuable connections.