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LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that you can use (among other things) to find jobs, read up on industry news, stay connected with colleagues and classmates, and reach out to professionals for professional advice and potential opportunities.
Here are steps you can take to create and strengthen your LinkedIn profile.
Creating Your Profile
➊ Enter your info
Head to Linkedin.com and select “Join Now” to start creating your profile. Use whichever email address you prefer—the details and settings you select during sign-up can all be changed later.
Follow the on-screen prompts to fill out your general information. When asked for your job title, make sure you select the "I'm a student" option.
➋ Add Connections
You can opt to add your email contacts to get suggested connections (a “connection” is similar to a “follow/friend request”). After adding your email contacts, LinkedIn will prompt you to make a decision to add or not add each of those connections—the platform will never automatically connect you with anyone without your discretion.
The more connections, the more profiles will be visible to you when conducting searches. You can also skip this step for later.
➌ Follow Interests
“Follow" any number of interests, whether they be people, companies, or industries. The interests you select will influence the opportunity recommendations you receive, as well the kind of information that is highlighted in your feed
Strengthening Your Profile
LinkedIn will always prompt you to further develop your profile in the Profile Strength section, but you can also add or edit sections whenever you like.
The first section on your profile page offers viewers a first impression of your profile— and by extension, who you are as a professional—so it's critical to complete the intro. Edit your photo, headline, industry, and contact info by clicking the pencil on the far right of your intro.
➊ Add a Photo
Profiles are more likely to be viewed if they display a photo of you. Your profile photo doesn’t need to be professionally done, but should meet these criteria:
- It looks like you
- Your face takes up the majority of the frame
- You’re dressed in a way that matches the type of work you'll be doing—if you aren’t sure what to wear, try searching for some people who you relate to within the industry for ideas!
- The background of the image isn't distracting. This means avoiding clutter and other things that shift the focus away from your face.
You can choose who can see your photo by clicking the eye symbol on the right of the photo-editing window.
➋ Add a Headline
The headline is like a hook—it’s a special part of your profile designed to capture a reader's attention in just a line or two and make them want to learn more about you. Try to be both specific and concise. Interested in a particular industry? Check out the profiles of other industry professionals to see what they include!
Ideas to consider:
- Current Job Title: “First Year Student at the University of Michigan”
- Aiming for Specific Opportunities: “Honors Student Seeking Marketing Positions”
- Title + Tagline or Skills: “Software Intern at Google | Problem Solver | Innovator”
➌ Choose an Industry
In your intro, you can select one industry from an extensive list of options. If you’re undecided or have multiple interests, pick one that lives at the top of your interests for now. You can always change this later!
Adding More to Your Profile
You can add a variety of content sections to your profile by clicking “Add profile section” in your intro. Here’s some tips for the following sections: About, Background, Skills, and Accomplishments.
➊ Add an About Section
The About section, which sits right under your intro, is an opportune moment to share your narrative. Use it to focus a viewer’s attention on specific things about your interests and professional goals! A strong About section will:
- Give insight into who you are
- Describe what motivates you, what you’re skilled at, and what’s next
- Gives a cursory taste of your personal brand
There are many right ways to develop a summary. Take a look at others' profiles for ideas, or start by answering some of these questions:
- What are you currently doing?
- What do you care about?
- Why do your passions matter?
- What are you skilled at?
- What or where do you want to be?
➋ Add Background
Work Experience: List former and current jobs plus any internships. Keep your descriptions short and relevant to the opportunities you are interested in.
Education: Detail your educational experiences, starting with college. If you studied abroad, even for a semester, make sure to include the institution.
Licenses & Certifications: List any professional licenses/certifications. You may not have any right now, but keep this in mind for the future as you gain licenses and certifications in your field.
Volunteer Experience: Include any and all volunteer experiences—many recruiters and hiring managers consider volunteer experience to be as valuable as work experience.
➌ Add Skills
Make sure to add technical competencies and transferable skills to your profile. LinkedIn will generate suggestions for you, but you can also input your own. What’s more, your connections can “endorse” your skills or confirm that you do indeed possess these skills; the endorsements you receive are consistently shown on your profile. Prompt your connections to endorse your skills by reciprocating.
➍ Add Accomplishments
Publications and Patents: Have you completed amazing research that's been published? Have you developed an app or built something from scratch? Use these sections to showcase some of your accomplishments.
Courses: Coursework is one of the major value-adds of the college experience! If you've taken classes that have given you a strong set of technical knowledge and skills, include them here.
Projects: Whether it was for a class, an organization, or something you worked on independently, projects are a great way to show your skills in context. Keep records of completed projects from job and internships—you can link to external web pages in this section, or attach media directly to the work, education, or volunteer experiences you’ve listed under Background.
Honors & Awards and Test Scores: If you’ve received any honors or awards, or if you did exceptionally well on an exam, make sure to display them here.
Languages: Fluency in a secondary or tertiary language is one of the most desirable skills that you can possess as a candidate. Exhibit your language capabilities!
Organizations: Demonstrate your involvement with professional or student organizations by including descriptions of these organizations. If you want to display a student org leadership positions more prominently, consider listing it as an experience instead.
For more ways to make the most of your LinkedIn profile, talk to a Hub Coach! Set up an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org