As a college student, it’s never too early to construct a resume. Starting early gives student the chance to constantly make sure everything is grammatically correct and up to date. However, in the digital world employers and programs look at much more than resumes to review potential candidates. One of the largest growing networks today is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social media service for professionals and is one of the key tools for career networking and employment. As of 2016, LinkedIn holds over 467 million users, 40 million of which are college students or recent college grads. If you’ve decided to create a LinkedIn, it’s important to understand how utilizing the platform affects your success rate. Here are a few LinkedIn Tips for college students.
One of the most essential aspects of a good LinkedIn profile is the photo. Like other social media sites, i.e. Facebook, having an appropriate photo helps the viewer connect with you and legitimizes your account. Because of the various spammers and scammers lurking on the internet, it’s likely that other users, recruiters, and companies may feel weary about “connecting” with a user who doesn’t have a photograph. The key to a good LinkedIn photo is a clear headshot only featuring you. It doesn’t need to be a professionally taken photo, but looking clean and wearing a nice top is a must. Also, make sure to smile! Employers are looking for enthusiastic people.
List Your Skills
LinkedIn allows its members to easily list their skills in their profile. Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to put your skills in a specific order and lists the top three “featured skills” on your profile. The remaining skills are visible by clicking the “view more” button. Therefore, it is extremely important to think through which three skills best represent you. By entering your skills, you allow employers to get a good understanding of what you’re capable of doing. LinkedIn also allows its users to obtain “endorsements” on their listed skills. Past employers and other members can verify you’re proficient in your these skills based on who and how many people endorse you. But of course, be careful who you ask!
Expand Your Network
With LinkedIn’s huge member database, learning how to grow a strong and cohesive network of connections is one of the most important LinkedIn factors for college students. Like other social media networks, LinkedIn allows you to “connect” with people. These people could be classmates, coworkers, friends, whoever! In addition, college students have the special benefit of connecting with alumni. If you’re applying for a position, check LinkedIn to see if anyone who graduated from your school works there. Use this angle to connect and ask for advice and recommendations- not jobs. Like any other social engagement, make sure you’re not obtrusive.
Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn users have the opportunity to share articles or write their own and post them on their profile. Sharing and writing articles is another one of the best practices on LinkedIn for college students. Articles can be blog posts, recent news in your field, and generally interesting things. Not only does this provide employers and recruiters with more information about you, but it also helps give them a sense of who you are. However, be very, very careful to only post relevant and appropriate content to avoid offending and upsetting anyone. A general rule of thumb is to avoid politics and overly opinionated pieces.
LinkedIn is one of many social media platforms that currently has millions of active users. With so many social platforms bidding for your time, it may seem unnecessary to join. However, LinkedIn isn’t about sharing your favorite family photos or mistakes you made last weekend. It’s focused on the professional job market and connecting with current or potential employers to build a strong professional network. Use these LinkedIn tips to create a high performing account for success during and after college!