Student profiles on LinkedIn are one of the fastest growing categories of all LinkedIn usage. So if you’re a current student or recent graduate and you’re not yet on this social network, then now is the time to jump onboard!
LinkedIn is a social network for employers and job seekers and is often referred to as a social professional network.
Setting up a LinkedIn profile can help employers find out more about you and get a better picture of what you could bring to their company. Consider this an online resume on steroids, complete with built-in communication platforms to help keep you in touch with potential employers.
If you’re a current student or recent graduate you may not think that you have enough relevant experience to warrant a LinkedIn profile.
Don’t get discouraged though. With the right information, you can create a profile that is highly visibility and that presents a professional image which can in fact help you in your job search.
Let me guide you step-by-step in setting up your LinkedIn profile (with pictures!)
Step 1 – Create Your Profile
Go to LinkedIn.com and fill out the form on the home page.
For the purposes of this guide we will create a hypothetical user called Peter Piper – a graduate from Oklahoma State University (USA) with a Master of Arts in Architecture.
Continue filling out your information on the next form.
Select “Student” in the “I am currently” section. If you select ‘Job Seeker’ you will be asked to provide relevant work experience.
If you have already graduated, select ‘Job Seeker’ and you can provide relevant work experience such as any volunteer work, internships, casual jobs and any other experience that may be deemed appropriate.
LinkedIn will then send you an email to confirm your registration. Go to your inbox and click on the ‘Confirm your email address’ link.
Next, you can decide if you want to connect your email address to your LinkedIn profile. This will let everyone in your contact list know that you are now on LinkedIn and will also invite them to register or connect with you.
If you do not want to do this now, you can simply press ‘Skip this step’.
Next, you will be presented with the option of choosing your plan.
As a student or graduate, I recommend simply using the free plan. The premium plan allows a little more functionality such as being able to view all people that have come to your profile, however this is more of a nice to have and not necessary to get started on LinkedIn.
Step 2 – Set Up Your Profile
Once you have your basic information loaded, you will need to add information about your education, work experience, skills & expertise.
Start by choosing an industry you want to work in from the dropdown menu in the blue box. Since Peter is an architecture graduate we will select this industry for him.
Next, you will be asked about your work experience.
As a student or recent graduate, employers understand if you don’t have a lot of work experience. Try to think of more experience than just pure ‘work’ experience.
In this section, list any volunteer work that you have done. Perhaps think of projects or teams that you have participated in such as university societies or community groups. Employers will be interested to know of any related or relevant experience that you may have.
If you can’t think of anything at this stage you can simply skip this step.
Ideally, you will want your work experience presented to be aligned to the industry you are looking to work in and your overall career goals.
Once you have completed your relevant experience, you will be prompted to fill in information about your education.
Fill in your degree information and add any schools you have attended beyond the main one on your profile. Employers are able to search for students at specific universities or search for students with specific degrees, so make sure this section is fully populated.
We’re assuming that Peter has gone to OSU for undergraduate and graduate studies.
You will then be asked to upload a photo of yourself.
The photo is VERY important. First impressions count, even over the internet!
Your LinkedIn profile photo should be professional in nature and allow the employer to see who you are. Therefore, use a headshot and not a full-body image.
Next up we have the ‘Skills & Expertise’ section. Simply put, this is your opportunity to demonstrate to a potential employer what you can offer them. Again, employers have the opportunity to search for specific skillsets so make sure you fully populate this section to give you the best chance of being found in search results.
Once your skills and expertise has been inputted, you should have finished your basic profile. Congrats!
Step 3 – Enhance Your Profile
You now have a presence on LinkedIn which is a great starting point, however to get the maximum benefit from the network I suggest adding more experience or more detailed information to each of the sections of your profile.
You can add to your profile by clicking on the “Edit” button when in your profile.
This will bring up a page with an assortment of additional information you can provide.
To complete this section in more detail and get more bang from your profile, check out this awesome guide.
Step 4 – Add to Your Profile over Time
Your LinkedIn profile is not a static profile.
As you gain more experience, skills and expertise, make sure you add them to your profile.
LinkedIn is an extremely powerful search tool. Recruiters and businesses all over the world are now using LinkedIn as a primary tool for sourcing candidates. The more information (ensuring it is relevant) that you have in your LinkedIn profile, the more likely you will be found and turn up in search results.
As a result, instead of you actually having to go and find a job, you might even be invited to apply for a job!
To get even more bang out of your LinkedIn profile, check out this awesome guide by Melonie Dodaro.
Have you signed up to grab your free career launch toolkit? Sign-up now and gain your competitive advantage when searching for a graduate job.