Even if you haven’t had any work experience yet, you should begin building your professional network. Depending on where you want to go in your career, you can connect with people who are doing what you want to do. You can connect with your peers from your classes in your major, so you can stay connected after you graduate. You can also follow companies you’re interested in working at.
In addition to adding any work experience you may have that you want to include in your LinkedIn profile, and your education, these are some important things to know and think about when creating your LinkedIn profile.
Do not use a silly photo of yourself for your LinkedIn account. This is not Facebook or Instagram. Use a professional photo of yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to be in your Sunday best and it doesn’t have to be a full-body shot. Put on a nice shirt, stand in front of a pretty tree or blank white wall, and make sure you have good lighting and someone else to take the picture of you.
The summary of yourself in the ‘About’ section should not be the same as what you have in the objective of your resumé. It is important to complete this section and not leave it blank. This section is where you can talk about yourself more than what you can include in the sections below. It is your opportunity to add some personality to your LinkedIn profile.
Let prospective employers know who you are, what you care about, your professional accomplishments, life motivations, and extracurricular activities and volunteer work you have done. Another thing to remember are keywords. Recruiters search for keywords to find the best candidates. Review job descriptions that interest you and take note of recurring skills and keywords that, if they apply to you, you may want to include in this section.
Add courses related to your major
You can add an ‘Accomplishments’ section to your LinkedIn profile under categories such as Honor and Award, Organization, Course, and several more. Adding specific courses can highlight where you have experience in specified areas of your major. Because we can take various electives in our majors, adding this feature can tell prospective employers about your interests.
Change your URL
Adding your LinkedIn profile URL to your resumé is a great idea because when you submit your resumés to potential employers, they can find more information on your LinkedIn that you couldn’t fit in your resumé, such as the information above! The URL you get when you create a profile can be personalized which will help it appear nicer on your resumé. So instead of ‘https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-doe-hi1234/’, you could change it to just your name. It looks a lot more professional and fits more nicely on your resumé.
How to do this (from a computer – though it may not be as user–friendly on your mobile device):
- Click the ‘Me’ icon at the top left of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Click ‘View Profile.’
- Click ‘Edit public profile & URL’ in the right-hand menu
- You’ll be redirected to the ‘Public profile settings’ page
- Under ‘Edit your custom URL’ in the right-hand menu, click the pencil icon next to your public profile URL
- Type the last part of your new personalized URL in the text box.
- Click ‘Save.’
You may have heard your professors talk about Lynda.com or LinkedIn Learning. Lynda.com was acquired by LinkedIn Learning a few years ago. This added feature is not included with your free LinkedIn account. It costs $29.99/month. The great thing about LinkedIn Learning is, for some courses on this added feature, when you complete the course, you get a certification that can be added to your LinkedIn profile.
These certifications in specific skills will show potential employers more of your knowledge and experience. Take courses within your field that you’re interested in learning more about. You don’t have to make a year–long commitment, and you may even be able to get a free 1-month trial when you create your LinkedIn account. Also, check with your local public library to see if they offer it for free with a library card/account.