Written by: John Lemp
Why is Networking with LinkedIn Important in College?
Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Snapchat? Sure social media can be a fun way of connecting with friends and fellow collegians. But, social networking can also be used to help you professionally.
LinkedIn is a professional, career-oriented social networking platform that allows an individual to connect with fellow students, professors, co-workers, recruiters, and professionals in a wide variety of industries. Launched in 2003, LinkedIn has grown to over 260 million members spanning 200 countries and territories. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile already, I highly recommend that you take the time to start an account — it truly is an invaluable tool when advancing your career and building your personal brand in a professional manner.
I will be discussing the different components of a LinkedIn profile in addition to providing some do’s and don’ts regarding content to include. LinkedIn allows you to expand upon your resume, in that the content you include on your LinkedIn profile is not limited to one page. Also, LinkedIn allows users to join certain groups, such as the alumni associations of their respective universities and past and current employers.
Here are some tips for creating a LinkedIn profile, or perfecting one that you currently have:
PHOTO: Include a profile photo on your LinkedIn account. Recruiters appreciate seeing your photo on your profile instead of the gray silhouette avatar. That being said, your profile photo should be a professional photo of yourself, and yourself only! It is not your Facebook profile pic or cover photo, nor is it your Twitter avatar.
HEADLINE: Your headline is an occupation that you currently hold. Since we are collegians, a commonly used headline is “Student at ___________ University.” If you currently have an on-campus job or are taking part in a semester internship, feel free to use that job title as your headline.
SUMMARY: The Summary statement is similar to an objective on a resume. It allows you to introduce yourself to your connections and potential employers. Include a summary! Recruiters like to see a polished, comprehensive LinkedIn profile and a summary statement is a must for branding yourself professionally.
EXPERIENCE: This is the section of your profile that resembles a resume. In this section, include both professional and campus experience. As with a resume, include the job title of the position, the employer or student organization, the dates you held that position, the location, and a few bullet points detailing your tasks and responsibilities. As with a resume, be entirely truthful. Potential employers use your LinkedIn profile just like a resume or cover letter — as a screening mechanism.
HONORS AND AWARDS: Include any and all honors and awards you have received. Examples include Dean’s List, National Honor Society, Community Service Award, etc.
COURSES: Include all courses that you have successfully completed at your college or university. This allows you to reveal to potential employers relevant knowledge and skills that you possess.
EDUCATION: Just like on your resume, include university and high school education information as well as dates attended. Further, in this education section, you are able to list all of the groups and organizations that you have been a part of while enrolled as a student at that particular institution.
LANGUAGES: Include the languages you know and your level of proficiency (Example = Native, Limited Working Proficiency, etc.)
SKILLS AND ENDORSEMENTS: There are so many skills options available to choose from. Examples of skills include: Microsoft Excel, Event Planning, Research, Public Speaking, Accounting, Data Analysis, etc. Kindly ask your colleagues to endorse you for certain skills in order to bolster your profile.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Try to have at least one recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. Feel free to ask a fellow student, professor, co-worker, and/or supervisor for a recommendation. When asking for a recommendation, use professional tone and kindly thank them for their assistance, in addition to stating that you would be willing to write a recommendation for their profile.
GROUPS: Make sure you join groups that you are a member of. Many groups are private and thus require you to send a join request to the group’s manager. Examples of groups include alumni associations, student organizations, employer departments, etc.
FOLLOWING: LinkedIn allows you to follow certain companies, employers, and entrepreneurs. I highly recommend following companies that you are interested in working for, so that employer information and even job opportunities appear in your LinkedIn newsfeed.
The following are some “Can’t Miss” tips for making and using a LinkedIn profile:
- Include a professional photograph of yourself, and yourself only.
- Write a summary / objective introducing yourself and stating your career goals.
- Be honest with regards to detailing your professional and campus experiences. You should be able to elaborate upon your tasks and responsibilities in an interview.
- Ask for recommendations and endorsements. These truly strengthen your profile.
- Make use of the follow feature — follow employers and industries that you would like to work for at some point in your career.
- Keep updating your profile with current information and experience.
LinkedIn is an excellent way of professionally connecting with peers, recruiters, co-workers, and supervisors. Using LinkedIn will have you networking like a legend in due course.
If you would like for us to take a look at your LinkedIn account to evaluate, please provide the link in our comments below!