A Student’s Guide To Creating A Profile On LinkedIn

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Social media websites are especially popular amongst the youth of today. And like we know the youth of today are the future. So would it hurt to have a LinkedIn profile now even if you are a student? Absolutely Not!

A common misconception amongst youngsters and students is that LinkedIn caters only to adults and people who are part of the workforce. This is essentially not the case, these adults on LinkedIn are your future employers.

LinkedIn has over half a million student jobs and internships, so if you’re not looking to just get a gist of the websites you could also get yourself a job!

Looking to kickstart your professional career? Create an account on LinkedIn. 

If you’re still unsure of how to get started, don’t worry we’ve got you covered! In this article we will talk about:

  • Why should students be on LinkedIn?
  • How to create a convincing profile?
  • How to use the LinkedIn network?

To know the answers to these questions, scroll below.

Why Should Students Be On LinkedIn?

There are multiple reasons why a LinkedIn profile will benefit your career in the future. We will discuss and look at some of them so that you can understand why it is a need of the hour for college students to have a LinkedIn profile.

5 Reasons Why Students Should Have LinkedIn Profiles

1. It Help In Establishing An Online Presence

Approximately 9 out of 10 companies use LinkedIn to hire people. This is why you should establish your online presence through LinkedIn. 

LinkedIn will help you create a personal brand name online because your LinkedIn profile is likely to show up first when you search your name online. It allows companies to find you easily and provides them with information that will be favorable for you.

Establishing an online presence as a student can work wonders for you as it is not only important for getting jobs but also for getting internships and volunteer opportunities.

2. LinkedIn Can Substitute Your Resume

A resume is an integral part of applying for jobs. Whilst resumes are a more traditional take on applying for jobs they are still pretty relevant to employers.

A LinkedIn profile may not have entirely replaced resumes but they can still at times be substituted for resumes if your employer is willing to do so. This does not mean that you make either of the two, the best situation would be to have both.

Despite submitting a traditional resume, some employers would like to get a broader picture of your experience, work, and professionalism. For this purpose, your LinkedIn profile will definitely come in handy.

3. It Helps Prepare For Interviews

If employers can use LinkedIn to get information about you, so can you use the website to get information about the company! We all know how interviews are a nerve-wracking process and the worst-case scenario is to be underprepared.

Having a LinkedIn account will allow you to research different companies, as well as the different people who would be interviewing you. Other than that, these companies usually keep their LinkedIn profiles updated about the different news. This can help establish your credibility if you use the information wisely in conversations.

All this will give you a little edge and prepare you for the interview and to some extent will ensure that you don’t entirely freeze or stutter during the interview process.

Always remember, this information will establish your credibility and interest in the job but avoid being over-smart as you are likely to come off as a creepy person, and nobody would want that.

4. It Proves Your Dedication

A LinkedIn profile will establish that you are indeed serious about pursuing a career. This is why as a fresh graduate or a college student an employer may take more interest in considering your application. 

Your LinkedIn profile will clearly indicate that you are willing to put your time and effort to connect with people to establish a basis for your career. 

Dedication is always a worthy trait for an applicant to have. This will only make things work in your favor.

So invest some time in your LinkedIn profile now, because you will surely reap its benefits later.

5. LinkedIn Helps You Gain Exposure

LinkedIn allows users to connect with professionals. Therefore when you step into the corporate world, you won’t entirely be lost. Not only will you have a more clear idea about what your future field requires, but you might also build some connections with people who could guide you and refer you to job roles.

Other than finding jobs, LinkedIn also gives you access to the feature of getting job alerts from your preferred industries and companies. This way you will never miss out on a great opportunity to apply to your preferred company and gain the required exposure for your career.

Did You Know? Approximately 50% of Americans with a college degree have a LinkedIn profile, whereas around 9% of people with high school diplomas or less do too!

7 Steps To Creating A Convincing Student Profile on LinkedIn

Step 1: Use an Appropriate Picture

Always remember the first impression is the last impression, and in the case of a LinkedIn profile your profile picture serves the purpose of the “first impression.” When uploading a profile photo make sure to go through the following checklist so that you avoid uploading a bad picture:

  • Inappropriate attire – avoid casual dressing like T-shirt and pajamas. You are not supposed to wear a suit but do try to dress appropriately according to your career field.
  • Bad quality pictures – Grainy, blurred, dark, and photos in which it is difficult to identify you, would be advised against being used.
  • Poorly cropped picture – A badly cropped photo with multiple unnecessary people featuring in it will portray you to be careless and lazy.
  • Outdated picture – It is advised to update your profile picture at regular intervals as you are likely to look difficult from time to time. 

It isn’t necessary to have a professional photoshoot but your profile picture will attract more people to view your profile so do your best to put up the best picture of yourself.

And don’t forget to smile, in a totally non-creepy way!

Step 2: Write The Intro; Name, Headline, and Other Info

The next step in creating your profile is to complete the intro. The name part should be easy but the headline should be short and professional.

Remember when writing your headline to avoid using typical cliche sentences and buzzwords such as “strategic” and “responsible” because they are overused and you need your profile to stand out.  Rather it would be best for the headline to consist of what you want to achieve in the future

Then you can fill the current position according to whatever internships and freelance work you are doing. You can add a new position too if you start a new job!

Shah Wajahat Ali LinkedIn portfolio Image
Sample of Updated LinkedIn profile for Inspiration

Further, the intro requires you to enter your experience, education, country/region, industry, and lastly your contact information. Completing this information should be an easy task as it will give people an insight into your interest and experience and will help in connecting you with them.

If you’re confused about what to mention under the industry heading, worry not. It requires you to pick whatever industry is closest to or is the one that you want to pursue a career in.

Don’t overlook the contact info step. It is recommended to fill in the personal website and email address, at least. And keep the privacy settings for your email at 1st-degree connections so that only people you have connected with can view it.

Step 3: Write An Exceptional Summary

The summary is your place to shine. Whilst your intro gives an outline of who you are and what you have done, it is your summary that gives an insight into your personality. 

To write the best summary follow these tips:

  • Don’t go for the LinkedIn generated summary
  • Be concise about your goals, qualifications, and accomplishments
  • Change paragraphs regularly to make it easy to read
  • Tell a short career story
  • Include keywords
  • Don’t forget to proofread

The summary is the key to “hook” the recruiters and whoever comes across your profile. So give it your best shot. But keep in mind, don’t try to oversell your achievement. Be confident and make it clear what you have to offer within the first three sentences!

Here is an example of a good profile summary that you can take inspiration from:

LinkedIn profile summary sample by Shah Wajahat Ali
LinkedIn profile summary Sample

Step 4: Add Your Experience 

Moving on from the summary, you will be required to fill the experience section of your profile. But what if you have no experience? There’s nothing to worry about! You don’t necessarily have to add many job positions and achievements.

You’re a college student so no one really expects your experience section to be full of experience worth ten years, so basically, you don’t need to fret.

But if you have done any internships (paid or unpaid), part-time jobs, or freelance work don’t forget to add it in the experience section.

Keep in mind there is a separate section for volunteer work so make sure not to mix it up!

Step 5: List Your Skills

You’re allowed to list up to 50 skills. But that doesn’t mean you list 50 different skills. First of all, you need to be very clear on what a skill is; a skill is something you have complete command over, something you’re good at doing for quite some time. Not something you started doing a few minutes ago.

Refrain from listing things that you can’t do, because if you are asked to demonstrate your skill later, you will only end up making a fool of yourself. And is considered as a liar won’t exactly work favors for you, rather it will only taint your personality. 

So while listing your skills may be an easy task comparatively, do be sure of whether or not you truly have those skills before you list them.

Step 6: Get Your Custom URL

Establishing an online presence is a must. And to assist your LinkedIn profile to be on top when it is searched is to claim your custom URL. 

Although if you have a very common name it might be impossible for you to do so. Still, it is worth a shot to try and customize your URL.  

To do this go to your LinkedIn page and click on “Edit public profile and URL,” then click on the pencil icon that can be seen underneath “Edit your custom URL.” Once you’ve done that write whatever URL you want and if in case it is already taken LinkedIn will let you know

Step 7: Keep Updating Your Profile

Lastly, it is essential to update your profile. You are likely to change jobs during a certain time, so you will need to keep updating your experience section accordingly.

Similarly, if you have recently achieved something, acquired a new skill, it wouldn’t hurt to add that to your profile. As it would only save you from spending more time updating your profile in the future as well as it will also draw more people to your profile.

How To Network On LinkedIn As a Student?

Now comes the actual part to operate your profile and use it to your benefit. 

First of all, unlike other social media apps, LinkedIn requires a more serious approach so it would be best to steer clear from sharing unwarranted thoughts and opinions. You will be expected to behave and interact professionally.

Secondly, connect with as many people as you can. You never know what valuable advice people have to offer you. So don’t be afraid to accept connection requests or be the first one to connect with others!

Thirdly, getting recommendations can be an essential part of your profile. And luckily LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to get recommendations from people you have worked with. So don’t hesitate to take advantage of this feature. A bunch of genuine recommendations can establish your integrity.

Lastly, joining relevant groups on LinkedIn will help you communicate with people who are professionals or those who share your interest. And in this day and age, we know how far connecting on social media can take. Being part of such groups would ensure that your network grows and you learn the relevant details of your chosen career field.

Summing Up

So much information, that it is difficult to keep up isn’t it? At a first glance definitely! But whilst it might seem such a gigantic task to create a LinkedIn profile and follow this advice, bear in mind laziness and procrastination won’t kickstart your career tomorrow.

The process of creating a LinkedIn profile may seem grueling right now, but once you get to it, it really isn’t.

You will have to set the basis today so that you have something to build on tomorrow when you need it. So while you may be convinced not to create a LinkedIn profile, don’t forget all that you will learn and benefit from later, and just make your profile

As the youth, it is your responsibility that whilst you take advantage of the era of technology by accessing the internet and other applications such as Snapchat and Instagram for entertainment. You should also look into what other applications and websites have to offer to you.

And in this case, a LinkedIn profile is definitely a step in the right direction. The only concern is for you to have a good idea on how to create a convincing profile; which you would if you read this article carefully.