We haven’t been on LinkedIn before we got into university and we bet most of you were not familiar with it as well or still don’t have an account. You probably think it is boring and only old people use it, but that is not really the case. LinkedIn is actually your portfolio and can be very helpful, when looking for a new job, especially when you are in university and don’t know where to start.
However, most students don’t know how to use it, so they don’t have a lot of success and get discouraged. Don’t worry, we’ve been there. As we are using the platform for quite some time now, it is our duty to help you bring your profile to the next level and get the most out of it. Here is how:
1. Upload an appropriate profile and header photo
This is the first thing you should do, when creating an account. It may not seem important, but most recruiters use these photos as a filter and you may not get an interview if you don’t have a profile picture or you have used an inappropriate one. Forget about those party photos, the ones with your bestie or a puppy pic. You profile picture should look professional, have good quality, without a busy background and distractions. For your header it is best of you use a photo of something that represents you and what you are doing. For an example, if you are a blogger or a publicist, you may put a picture of a keyboard or a notebook; if you are keen on computers and you want to develop a career in IT, you can put a relative photo; if you are studying fashion design, you may use a photo of your illustrations or designs, etc. This is the first thing people see, when open your profile, so the header will give them a quick idea of what you are offering.
2. Write a catchy summary
Your “About” section or your summary is where you can get creative and tell the recruiter who you are. Something like “Finance student aspiring to be a part of the business word” or “A motivated marketing student, who is currently looking for a social media internship” might be a good start. Don’t get too overboard. Keep it short, but don’t forget to mention what you are searching for and what are the best things you can offer for that position. 4-5 sentences is the perfect length for a good summary. Show what makes you unique and make it look like you are confident in your skills, even if you are not. LinkedIn uses keywords, when searching, so choose those words, that are suitable for the industry you want to get in.
3. Don’t forget to mention all of your experience
Most students and recent grads are worried that they are not going to find a job, because they don’t have a previous experience. That is not entirely true. There is a lot more you can include in your LinkedIn profile than your work experience. You were a volunteer last summer? Great, say it. You are a part of a society in your university? Now it is the time to share it. You have completed a course? That’s awesome, put it in there. There is no right or wrong here. You can list your GPA score, your classes, languages you know, basically all of your achievements, no matter how small you think they are. LinkedIn is the right place to be confident and show off.
Lots of students use LinkedIn to connect with friends, family and classmates, which is a great start, but you should grow your network and contact people that you don’t know. Follow your favourite brands, the magazines you are reading, every company that interests you, so you are aware of the things they are posting and what they are looking for. Then you should start connecting with similar people to slowly get your profile noticed. When sending a request, don’t forget to personalise it. A lot of professionals don’t accept, if they are not familiar with the person and don’t know why he is trying to connect, so be sure to always introduce yourself and your intentions.
5. Show your work
As we said earlier, LinkedIn is not just a platform. It is more like your portfolio, so you should feel free to upload all of your work on there. Blog posts, projects, designs, essays, presentations…the list could be endless. This makes your profile more interesting, especially if you are in the creative sphere, and it will catch someone’s attention for longer period of time. It is always better to show than just say what your previous experience is and it will make you look a lot more professional, even if you only display a few things.
Don’t forget that you can not get your dream job only be sitting behind the computer, perfecting your LinkedIn profile. Continue study hard, learn new things and broaden your network. We believe in you. Now it is time for you to believe in yourself.