LinkedIn is the most important social media tool to step into the corporate world. For students nearing their completion of studies, updating and maintaining their profile on LinkedIn can be extremely useful to get proper exposure in their field of study and to get recruited by corporate giants.
In this guide, I’ll tell you in a step-by-step method, how you can create and optimize your LinkedIn profile as a student to get a headstart in the corporate world.
The Importance Of LinkedIn Profile For Students
Many students still share the misconception that LinkedIn is only for working adults who have completed their studies. However, they couldn’t be further from the truth.
Today, over 30 million students have an account on LinkedIn. Moreover, LinkedIn is also named the fastest growing source for hires and recruits. This shows that having a good LinkedIn presence is one of the most important steps when transitioning into the working field of your career.
Fortune 500 and every other big company exists on LinkedIn. And that is where they search for new recruits and hires every day.
Every minute, at least 3 people are hired through LinkedIn.
Then let’s not waste any more time and jump right into optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
Building An Appealing LinkedIn Profile
Before optimizing your LinkedIn student profile, we will shed light on the necessary steps you need to take to build a strong foundation for your LinkedIn profile. If you’ve barely paid any importance to your LinkedIn profile up till now, follow the steps below.
If you think you have a good LinkedIn profile as is, skim through the basics and skip to the next heading of how to optimize and enhance your LinkedIn presence.
Step #1 Uploading A Professional Photograph
While this may seem like an obvious step, many students fail to see the importance of professionalism in their early years.
LinkedIn isn’t an entertainment social media hub. Unlike Twitter or Instagram, here you will need a professional photograph.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be overkill by getting it captured by a professional photographer. All it needs is minimalism, professionalism, and a smile.
Here is a good student LinkedIn profile example:
How To Take A Good Picture For LinkedIn Profile For Students
LinkedIn profile pictures are the first thing a recruiter sees, so try your best to make it look appealing and enthusiastic.
Here are some key pointers that will help you get a good picture on LinkedIn.
- Use A High Quality Image
- Do Not Use Group Photos
- Face The Camera (No Side Poses)
- Your Face Should Cover Up Around 60% Of The Picture
- Have Someone Else Take The Picture
- Have A Blur Or Plain Background
- Do Not Use An Uncomfortable Expression
- Wear Appropriately (Professional Attire)
- Do Not Use Many Filters
- Do Not Over Saturate Or Edit To Look Attractive
Here is a LinkedIn student profile example:
Step #2 Writing A Good Headline
The next thing an employer views after the profile picture is the headline of your LinkedIn.
This will be like a small bio of your personality that will be available for everyone to see.
The best headline is the one that is accurate, concise, and fulfilling at the same time.
In minimal words, try your best to describe who you are.
This could include your current studies, interests, hobbies, current employment, and significant traits.
Step #3 Adding Your Basic Information
Basic information refers to everything introductory that you would want your employers to know.
Simply go to your profile, click the edit button, and fill out the details.
This would include:
Your Name: Use your real name. If need be, fill out the additional name field as well.
Current Position: If you’re currently employed somewhere, even if it’s not a full-time job, add it up because that’s your most important representation for LinkedIn right now.
Make sure you check the Show Current Company In My Intro option to let everyone see it at the first glance.
Industry: This is basically the field of interest where you would want to be employed in the future and are hopefully studying in. If you’re studying Accounting, for example, and want to be an Accountant, choose Accounting.
Education: Choose what you’re doing in your education field. Whatever degree, course, or certification you’re currently studying, fill that up,
Make sure you check the Show Education In My Intro to let everyone see it at the first glance.
Location: Add your current location.
Contact Info: Fill the fields up with accurate and approachable contact information. This can include your phone number, email address, physical address, social media profile(s), and website(s).
Step #4 A Good About Me Summary
With the above 3 steps, you have created a good first impression for a visitor. However, the next thing an interested prospect would do now is scroll down and read your About section.
In this section, you will be a bit more detailed than your headline and will describe yourself in a presentable and professional way.
There will be 4 aspects to creating a good summary:
- Highlighting your personality
- Giving a clear understanding of your field of interest
- Enthusiasm about your passion
Here is a good about me example for a LinkedIn student profile:
Step #5 Adding Experiences
The next step would be to fill up your LinkedIn resume. Here you will add in all of your work-related experiences, their durations, and a summary about them.
When filling in experiences make sure you add in the LinkedIn account of the organization you worked in.
For every role, it is important that you leave a little description of your experience over there.
In this description, you need to mention any achievements, promotions, or extra responsibilities you had. Moreover, try your best to use relevant keywords to increase the chance of exposure for your profile.
A good way to write summaries for work experience is to generate a bullet list that briefly describes your roles and responsibilities and is easy for the visitor’s eye to read.
For the future, whenever you add a job experience in this section (if you get a promotion or change offices) make sure to toggle the Notify Network option. This will notify everyone in your connection list about your move and will bring more exposure to your profile.
What If I Don’t Have Any Work Experience?
Many students face this question when prepping up for the corporate field. Being busy with studies in their early years, some students don’t have work experience to fill up in their resume or LinkedIn. However, that is not a big problem.
Recruiters will not pass on you if they find you to be a fresh graduate with no experience. If your personality is appropriate and passionate, and your test scores are high, big companies would love to approach you and train you under their wing.
A good alternative to work experience is emphasizing your co-curricular activities and academics. If you don’t have work experience, brag about the projects you’ve worked on, teams you have been a part of, and/or awards that you’ve bagged.
It is ultimately better, however, to have previous work experience. If you still have time before graduation, it would be better to get a part-time internship somewhere and get some early work experience on your resume before jumping out into the corporate world.
It doesn’t need to be in the primary field of your studies. For example, a student doing a major in Business Studies should go forward with a part-time job as a photographer, if that’s of your interest.
Sure, it isn’t relevant to Business Studies, however, recruiters can see that you’ve worked professionally with teams and under supervision, all of which counts as good merit points!
Step #6 Education
In the education section, in chronological order, fill up all the institutes you’ve been to and the certifications you earned from there. It should include your primary school, high school, college, and university.
Secondary institutions for small courses should also be mentioned as they will only boost your chances of looking like a good candidate.
Here is a list of things you should include for every educational experience:
- Societies and the responsibilities within them
- Sports experience
- Competitions you took part of
- Awards you won in the relevant competitions
- Teams you were/are part of
What If I Don’t Have Good Grades? Should I Highlight Them On My Resume?
Yes, and no. There is no shame in having bad grades. After all, grades really don’t ultimately matter much in the corporate world. However, if you had bad grades there is no need to emphasize them. A good counter would be to simply add your education experience, and if needed, mention the relevant grades you achieved.
Step #7 Skills
Skills are the unique selling points you have as a good candidate. For filling in a job role, recruiters always look for a person’s skills and see how well they resonate with the job’s description.
So fill up at least 5 skills that you have that make you a better candidate than other graduates. These could be leadership, teamwork, Microsoft Office expertise, etc.
However, unlike traditional resumes, on LinkedIn, there are two aspects for boosting your skill verification.
For each skill, if there is a LinkedIn Skill Test available, take that. This will help the recruiter know for sure that you excel at the skill.
Other than that, for each skill get endorsements from your connections. Ask your colleagues, friends, ex-colleagues, and teachers to give you endorsements for the skills on your LinkedIn resume. This can greatly boost the confidence of a recruiter when approaching you for a role.
Here is a good example of a LinkedIn student profile:
Enhancing And Optimizing Your LinkedIn Student Profile To Be The Perfect Candidate
All of the above steps cover the basic representation of you for filling up a job role. However, this is the bare minimum. With these 7 steps, you’ve built up a resume, but it wouldn’t shine bright when compared with other candidates. I
In order to land your dream job role, your resume needs to be extremely positive, strong, and attractive enough so that when a recruiter sees it, you make it very hard for them to pass on you.
Let’s now take a look at how you can enhance your LinkedIn profile to become an appealing candidate.
Use The Add Profile Section Optimally
Go to your LinkedIn profile and click on the option that says Add Profile Section.
This will give you the option for adding many more sections to your LinkedIn profile.
This is the single most important tool for enhancing your LinkedIn resume, however, do NOT overuse it. Only add sections that seem fit and that really seems to better your presence.
Let’s look at some of the most used sections that you should add to your profile and enhance it!
For every office that you worked in and every institution that you went to, try your best to collect recommendations from there. The most valuable recommendations would be from your teachers and your supervisors. The more recommendations you have, the more a recruiter can trust you.
Never shy away from bragging about your accomplishments. If you’ve done something that makes you feel proud and adds value to your personality, include it on your profile.
Accomplishments can only help your profile be more persuasive.
Got a website? An article? Or a youtube video?
If you were featured in any work that is published online, make sure you add it in the featured section. This not only brings exposure to your feature but also improves your selection chances.
Courses and Certifications
Just like we did in the Education section, for every secondary course you took part in or certification you grabbed, add it to your resume.
Don’t forget to write up a summary that passionately describes your experience over there.
Projects, Awards, and Test Scores
This is mainly focused on your academic life. Grades aren’t the only important thing that a recruiter sees. However, they are one of many other significant aspects that help you be selected.
For every project, you were a part of, awards you bagged, or high test scores you achieved, include them in your LinkedIn profile and enchant it for betterment.
Volunteer experience rarely follows the person’s field of interest, but it is extremely valuable for recruiters.
Having volunteer experience not only shows passion and empathy in your personality (portraying you as a healthy team member to work with) but also shows the determination that you go out of your way to achieve resolutions.
If you don’t have any volunteer experience, I would highly recommend you to get some.
Except for the additional profile sections here are some other factors that enhance your LinkedIn profile.
Create A Solid Network
Make efforts to find people on LinkedIn and connect with them. The more connections you have, the more verifiable presence you get on LinkedIn.
Whether they are ex-colleagues, friends, or relatives, connect with people.
It’s a small world. Who knows which connection can help you in your corporate life.
Be An Active Member
Many, many students create a LinkedIn profile and they really make efforts to have a good network and build a great resume, but what they lack is LinkedIn activity.
Sure, it can be a bit boring to scroll through LinkedIn’s feed as compared to Instagram or Twitter, however, it is all the more important.
Being an active member shows that you have a passion for the corporate world. The posts you share help build your LinkedIn presence, and the comments and likes you drop help create a wide network.
Even if just for 10 minutes, try to use LinkedIn every day and be an active member.
And that is all there is to creating a strong LinkedIn profile and optimizing it to portray yourself as the perfect candidate!
I hope these steps not only help you enhance your LinkedIn presence but also for you to land your dream jobs in the near future.
Keep thriving and good luck!