Attention Students! You Need a LinkedIn Profile. Here's Why and How.
Are you looking for practical yet impactful ways to represent yourself on LinkedIn? Let us create a LinkedIn Profile for you that your future career will thank you for.
Thanks for reading Moving Forward by Kim Peterson Stone ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Our team at Linkability has covered the importance of a well-rounded LinkedIn Profile over the years, but what do you do if you're just starting your professional journey? How can you create an attractive LinkedIn Profile that helps you get your foot in the door to building a thriving career if you don't have a lot of experience to show off?
Often, we think of LinkedIn as a tool for well-established professionals who have an extensive and impressive resume, but what about those individuals who are newly entering the workforce?
Can they receive as much value in LinkedIn and the vast number of professional resources the platform offers? To that question, we answer ABSOLUTELY!
No matter if you're a parent with a child who is about to embark on their college/workforce journey, a stay-at-home parent who is getting ready to re-enter the workforce after years of raising your children, or an individual with little professional experience in general, LinkedIn's platform is set to help anyone excel and thrive. In fact, creating a well-rounded and appealing LinkedIn Profile in the infancy stage of your career allows you to stay ahead of the curve.
This article will discuss how you can create a LinkedIn Profile that will impress recruiters even when you have yet to have a lot of professional experience.
🎯 If you're a parent to a young adult, we recommend passing along this information.
Let's start with the basics.
LinkedIn allows you to host or attend virtual networking events, educate yourself through the more than 13,000 on-demand courses through LinkedIn Learning, build a global network of like-minded individuals, find and apply for new jobs, market your business, and more, so if you want to grow your career and get your name out there, LinkedIn is the best place to be.
Think about the reason why you want to use LinkedIn. What value will it have for you over other social media and job site platforms? Are you job hunting, looking to network with other professionals, grow a new brand, or gain traction in your field?
With 810M users across 200 countries and regions, there's no better place to connect with like-minded and inspiring professionals.
Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn was created and tailored specifically toward the professional community. Rather than scrolling through your feed post and seeing your friend's latest meal, family outing, or latest personal drama, your LinkedIn feed posts will showcase your network and professional interests' company news, career and professional tips, job opportunities, motivational stories, etc., making LinkedIn the platform to use if you have a growth-minded mindset. Likewise, this also means that you should use the platform to build your professional network, gain new knowledge that can further your career, and share thought-provoking and valuable information that other professionals will enjoy. Recognize LinkedIn as a powerful professional resource, not merely a social network, and you will find great value in all that LinkedIn offers.
So, what is the reason you want to be a part of the LinkedIn community, and what do you hope to accomplish using the platform?
Did you know? LinkedIn sees 6 new hires every minute?
Once you have your best game plan to utilize LinkedIn, you will want to pay close attention to your profile. Think of your LinkedIn Profile as a virtual resume. Everyone who looks at your photo, summary, headline, professional experiences, and skills will be assessing whether you're worth their time or not. So if you want to get ahead, you want your Profile to leave a positive imprint on your audience.
Here's what you need to know to get your profile ready as a beginner:
To begin, upload a photo that shows you as a promising and professional individual. Kick your classic college house party photo to the curb and take a professional headshot that represents your professionalism well. If you don't have the funds to take professional pictures, you can ask a friend to take one using your cellphone. You will want a lovely backdrop (that means no bathroom selfies) and good lighting. You can also use a free photo editing site such as pixlr or canva if you need to adjust the lighting or even remove a background.
Some of these features, such as the background removing tool, may have a nominal fee, but often you can sign up for a free trial period to access these features.
Pro Tip: You should be the only person in the photo, so save your family group photos for another time.
Next, you will want to customize your headline by telling people what you're looking to do in the future, your strengths, and what you have accomplished so far. Remember, aside from your photo, your headline is one of the first things a recruiter will notice, so you want your headline to stand out without sounding desperate. Also, use industry keywords to find your profile in a search.
Headlines are limited to 200 characters for personal profiles.
Suppose you have a LinkedIn Headline that looks similar to the examples below. In that case, we suggest a revamp, as these do not adequately showcase your skills or your confidence and instead paint you as an amateur, which is not the vibe you want if you are looking to be hired.
___ University Student
➡️ This is not only too short, but it does not utilize keywords related to the
student's area of interest.
Hardworking English Major Graduate
➡️ This is once again too short and does not showcase the student's best professional attributes. It's too standard and plain.
Recent ___ University Graduate Looking for Work
➡️ Like the headlines above, this headline does not show the person's area of expertise, nor does it highlight the strong professional suits of the student.
Suitable LinkedIn Student Headline Examples:
Lead Consultant at STAR Consultant Firm | Master of Business Administration Candidate 2023 | Skilled Leader & Strategist
➡️ This headline uses industry keywords, showcases the student's most vital skills, and highlights his/her experience.
Aspiring Software Engineer | Experience in Programming & App Design | Object-Oriented Design Focus | Aptitude to Analyze Complex Information
➡️ This headline uses industry keywords, highlights what the student does best, and shows their goals.
Summa Cum Laude Accounting Graduate | Intern at Goldman Sachs | Market Analysis Expert
➡️ This headline shows the student's accomplishments, what they do well, and highlights key professional experiences.
Think about the last paper you wrote. What did your introductory paragraph include? More than likely, you began by introducing your topic and then mentioned a few key points that provided brief details that helped you build your thesis. Think of your summary as just another paper, but this time the topic is about you, and your objective is to sell your audience why they should hire you, partner with you, and/or network with you. In your LinkedIn Summary, you will share who you are, your strengths, your skills, what motivates you, your aspirations, and your professional experiences.
And much like any college paper, your introductory sentence/paragraph needs to pique the interest of those you're looking to target so that they are interested in reading on and then taking the next step of connecting with you or reaching out for further information. Therefore, we suggest writing a simple yet compelling first sentence that shares what you currently do or aspire to be.
As an award-winning scholar with a degree in Chemistry, I have turned my love for science into an opportunity to teach the next generation.
Fervently organized with a strong knack for detail, I ensure the day-to-day activities within a company run as smoothly as possible.
An aspiring entrepreneur, I have proven leadership skills with an aptitude to think critically, manage finances wisely, build strong relationships, and remain a visionary in the business world.
In addition to any work experience you may have, some things you can include in the body of your summary are educational experiences you may have had, such as summer programs or internships, volunteer experiences, scholarships or other accolades awarded, and extracurricular activities. Think about the things you are most proud of, what got you to where you are today, how you have helped your community, and all notable experiences that would attract a recruiter. Your summary doesn't have to only include those "jobs" you were paid for. Internships and volunteer experiences are just as meaningful as they demonstrate your work ethic, dedication, and passion.
In addition, you will want to do the following:
Write in a first-person perspective so that it sounds more personable.
Break up your thoughts (aka utilize white space). You don't want to write one long run-on paragraph.
Focus on the future, so don't use words like unemployed. You may be new to the workforce but want to market yourself as competent. Your summary requires some focus and wordplay to ensure that you're using the right keywords that highlight your offerings while also using industry-related keywords.
In the experience section, you will list your jobs, including any part-time work, and then write a brief description of your role and the tasks and notable accomplishments you performed while at that job.
The organization section is where you can list clubs you joined inside or outside of school. This can include things such as a sports team, music, art, or theatre club, academic club, political club, religious group, community service, or any other similar organization.
For the volunteer experience section, you can share if you volunteered at any charity organization, animal rescue, or other non-profits. Again, unpaid work is just as valuable as paid work.
Education/Honors & Awards/Courses
Beginning with the most recent college you're attending or recently attended; you will want to list your school, degree, and graduation/prospective graduation date. Then, you will find the Honors and Awards section, where you can share your accomplishments in or out of school, and a Courses section that allows you to write about specific classes relevant to your goals, interests, and ambitions.
Skills, Expertise, & Endorsements
When filling out the skills section of your LinkedIn Profile, you need to choose at least five skills that accurately and best describe what you do in your particular professional niche. Again, remember that you want to pick words that are most likely to be searched.
LinkedIn Profiles with at least 5 skills can receive up to 17x more profile views.
Once you have picked your skills, we highly suggest finding people who can endorse the skills you chose, as it helps to drive home what you're trying to sell. Ideally, you want at minimum one endorsement per skill. The more endorsements you have, the higher chance you have to be found by a seeking recruiter.
We suggest asking managers, co-workers, professors, teachers, or classmates if they're willing to write you a positive LinkedIn recommendation. These are critical to proving your credibility and showcasing your strengths on LinkedIn. Compared to the endorsements listed under your skills, your recommendations should be longer and similar to a recommendation letter. Rather than agreeing with one particular skill, a recommendation should highlight multiple skills related to your area of expertise.
In true fashion, LinkedIn also offers an informative page dedicated to Higher Education Professionals. You can access the page here: Higher Education.
Now, get to work on creating that winning LinkedIn Profile. We can't wait to watch you grow.
If you are looking for practical yet impactful ways to represent yourself on LinkedIn, then let us create a LinkedIn Profile for you that your future career will thank you for.
Thanks for reading Moving Forward by Kim Peterson Stone ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.