Ever since it has emerged as a major social media platform, LinkedIn has become a go-to for professionals across the globe to network with each other. However, multiple students generally do not go on to the platform, assuming it’s not for them, and choose to wait until they’ve finished their graduation to create their profile.
If you’re one of those students who feel that way, you need to know: LinkedIn has a ton of benefits for students! So, getting onto the platform as early as possible is crucial if you’re keen on steady professional growth from your early student years.
Unlike most social networking platforms such as snapchat and Instagram which are about posting daily status updates, artistic posts, likes and views, LinkedIn focuses on professional and career enhancement. The platform is filled with multiple internship opportunities, some of them could even lead to full-time employment in the future.
On your profile, you can upload your sample work, resume, and recommendations for you to network and open doors to new and exciting opportunities. As an international student, you will have the added advantage of having international education and exposure, cross-culture communication, etc., which will make your profile stand out more among others. The question here is, how can you market yourself in a highly competitive job market on LinkedIn?
Don’t worry! We will take you through every step you need to set up the perfect LinkedIn profile and build your professional network.
Why do you need a LinkedIn profile as a student?
There is a common misunderstanding that students do not need a LinkedIn profile or that it’s not that important. Although this may have been true until a few years ago, 2020 changed it for good.
The job market went dry, and many fresh graduates and professionals were left without work. It would not be possible to avoid the situation entirely, but networking and building contacts, can improve your chances of getting employed.
Linkedin also helps you to establish your personal brand in a world that is going entirely digital. When you have a fully optimized or as LinkedIn calls it an “All-Stars” profile, it becomes easier for hiring managers and employers to evaluate your candidature.
Apart from internships and job opportunities, LinkedIn also offers various certification and training courses for students to enrol in and learn new things. These courses are designed by industry experts and universities with all the recent updates and information.
How to create a good LinkedIn profile as a student
- Work Experience (if any)
- Academic Experience (if any)
- Skills (and Endorsements!)
- Licenses and Certifications
- Conclusions, a greet student (or graduate) LinkedIn profile
The Basics of Your LinkedIn for Students Profile
While there is a LOT you can put into your LinkedIn profile, this podcast summary will focus on the bare minimum of things that you should have set up if you want to begin using LinkedIn as a powerful branding and networking tool. When you first create your profile, or when you edit it as you read through this blog post, there are at a minimum a few things that you need:
- Your Name (keep it real, folks)
- Your profile photo (keep it as professional as possible)
- Your Professional Headline (see below for advice)
- Your Zip code / Location (see below for advice)
- The Industry in Which You Work (see below for advice)
How to effectively use LinkedIn?
It is important to understand that although LinkedIn is a social networking platform just like Instagram or Facebook, it is not just about fun and thrills. On LinkedIn, you will be presenting yourself to your future employers and hiring managers. Hence, you should be mindful of the content you share on your profile.
You can easily and effectively search and find jobs or internship opportunities by simply joining groups, following companies you want to work with, or checking your feed regularly. LinkedIn pushes opportunities your way once you have your notifications on for job alerts in your area, role/position, or companies.
Posting simple update posts on what you are doing in the industry or about a recent skill you learned or a certification you did will help your connections (like friends on Facebook) know what you are doing.
How do you build a student LinkedIn profile?
We understand that as a student, you may or may not have any work experience to add to your resume or profile. But there are a few things that you need add to your profile so that you stand out amongst the crowd. Here are some simple steps you can follow as a student to create your very own ‘All-Stars’ profile:
Appearance Matters: Appearing presentable and professional is good for first impressions you need to create when people view your profile. Use a profile photo where you’re well-dressed and groomed. If possible, have more professional photos attached. Focus on showcasing your key areas of interest and skills in the headline area.
About Section: In the about section, you have 2600 words at your disposal. Use this space to talk about your interests, the value you might bring to an organization, and other crucial pieces of information that might increase your chances of getting employed.
Start Networking: Start networking and send connection requests to people from your industry or field of interest. This will not only help with finding new opportunities, but also gives you a idea of what skills, opportunities and services, are available for people in your field and level of expertise.
Gather Recommendations: As you start to network, add people from your school or university such as your professors or peers you worked with, and request them to write you recommendations. These recommendations add a lot of value to your profile and make you look credible. Try to have at least one recommendation that talks into detail about your skills and contributions instead of the generic “John Doe did a good job on the XYZ assignment/project”.
Strike A Balance: Gone are the days when employers looked at just the skills and experience. Modern employers look for things about you that are unique. So, you need to make sure you add a touch of your personality while keeping it professional.
Include All Your Wins: As a student, you might not have a lot of work experience. But you would’ve participated in multiple competitions or group projects. So, make sure you add all of them, along with any internships and other experiences you may have had on your profile. The same goes for your resume also.
Here are a few more bonus pointers to build your profile!
Start networking from within your circle, send friend requests to people who you went to high school, or university with, add teachers or professors who wished you well with your journey. This will get the number of your connections higher much quicker and makes it easier for new connections to accept your invitation.
Every time you make a new connection, make sure you send them a short-warm thank you note. This acts as an icebreaker and makes future conversations more comfortable.
If you’re not sure about what to write in your headline or the about section, go through the profiles of others in the same field and industry to get an idea.
Building your LinkedIn profile as a student can be a little intimidating at first. But the truth is that it is easier than you think!
All you need to do is some time out of your day and explore all that the platform has to offer you. Remember to take it one step at a time and build your network steadily. This way, you can slowly, but surely build a wholesome profile that reflects on your personality, which would eventually draw attention of potential employers and other useful connections.