|How to Build a Professional Student LinkedIn Profile
Think of your LinkedIn profile as an interactive business card. It’s a summary of your professional experience, interests, and capabilities that is designed to attract the attention of important people who are searching for you online — recruiters,
networking contacts, and grad school admissions officers. A strong profile is a key differentiator in the job market.
Create a free LinkedIn Account.
Click ‘Join today’ and complete all personal details for ‘student’ member:
No need for address or telephone details. People can contact you via email or your LI account if they need to. No need for a premium account at this stage.
Craft an informative profile headline
Your profile headline gives people a short, memorable way to understand who you are in a professional context. Think of the headline as the slogan for your professional brand. Typically you should include professional role (student/university/subject area), key experience, and desired career goal at this stage of your career. Eg. “Marketing and Communications graduate seeking an entry-level position in PR utilising organisational and communication skills developed through experience with the Big Partnership my role as Marketing Officer for the University of Glasgow Business Club.” Check out the profiles of profiles or fellow students for ideas and inspiration. One way to do this would be try an advanced ‘People’ search with the keyword ‘Public Relations’, ‘Political Communications’ etc... Remember, try and cover your primary qualification and/or area of expertise, professional interests, and career aspirations. Consider what career sector/type of employer are you targeting your brand at? What is your key USP? How can you combine the personal and the professional?
3. Display an appropriate photo
Remember that LinkedIn is not Facebook or MySpace. If you choose to post a photograph — and we recommend that you do — select a professional, high-quality headshot of you alone. Party photos, cartoon avatars, and cute pics of your puppy don’t fit in the professional environment of LinkedIn. Personally, I would choose a photo that displays an open, friendly persona that encourages people to connect.
4. Show off your education
Be sure to include information about all institutions you’ve attended and any highlights from your academic activities. It’s also appropriate to include study abroad programs and summer institutes. Don’t be shy — your LinkedIn profile is an appropriate place to show off your strong GPA and any honours or awards you’ve won. Include dissertation topic and title and go into more detail if the topic is relevant to your career aspirations. Under ‘Projects’ identify significant successes, team projects that also relate to your career goals. Identify fellow members of the project team and request recommendations. Upload images, documents, presentations etc… to evidence the project and add visual interest to your page.
5. Develop a professional summary statement
Your summary statement should resemble the first few paragraphs of your best-written cover letter — concise and confident about your goals and qualifications. Remember to include relevant internships, volunteer work, and extra-curricular. Include career aspirations. Present your summary statement in short blocks of text for easy reading. Bullet points are great, too. Ask yourself: Who are you targeting your brand at? What are your key USPs? How can you combine the personal and the professional?
Some people will add a “Specialties” paragraph with semi-colon separated keywords at the bottom of their summary statement. This is a way to include key words and phrases that a recruiter or hiring manager might type into a search engine to find a person like you. The best place to find relevant keywords is in the job listings that appeal to you and the LinkedIn profiles of people who currently hold the kinds of positions you want. You could event use LinkedIn itself to search for jobs you are interested in and pull out keyword competencies that you feel you can evidence.
6. Show your connectedness with LinkedIn Groups
Joining Groups and displaying the group badges on your profile are the perfect ways to fill out the professionalism of your profile and show your desire to connect to people with whom you have something in common. Most students start by joining their university’s LinkedIn group as well as the larger industry groups related to the career they want to pursue. Make sure you join the ‘University of Glasgow Careers Network’ group and make the most of your alumni contacts. Now try a group search for ‘communications’, ‘public relations’, political communications’ etc… relating to a job sector you are particularly interested in. Identify those groups that are most active to join. Look at the groups professionals in your employment area are members of and join them. Once you have joined a group you can message individuals within that group even if you aren’t connected. Joining professional groups is a great way to find out about the hot topics in your particular employment area of interest. As you build confidence start posting to those groups to raise your profile in the professional networks you want to become a part of. Now try searching for companies that you would be interested in working for and ‘follow’ them. Add at least 5 groups to your profile. Remember, you can alter the email digest settings so you don’t get deluged with emails!
7. Collect diverse recommendations
Nothing builds credibility like third-party endorsements. The most impressive LinkedIn profiles have at least one recommendation associated with each position a person has held. Think about soliciting recommendations from professors, internship coordinators and colleagues, employers, and professional mentors. A quick way to get started would be to think of fellow students you have worked with on group projects or in your extra-curricular activities. If you have been a volunteer ask the volunteer coordinator for a quick reference. Dissertation supervisors or academic staff you have worked with closely could also be useful. More tips here: http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-LinkedIn-Recommendation
8. Claim your unique LinkedIn URL
To increase the professional results that appear when people type your name into a search engine, set your LinkedIn profile to “public” and claim a unique URL for your profile (for example: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname). This also makes it easier to include your LinkedIn URL in your email signature, which is a great way to demonstrate your professionalism.
9. Share your work
A final way to enhance your LinkedIn profile is to add examples of your writing, design work, or other accomplishments by displaying URLs under ‘contact info’. Once you have your correct LinkedIn public profile UERL add it your email signature. LinkedIn is a visual medium so it is essential to upload images, presentations, documents and multimedia content into your ‘summary’, ‘experience’ and ‘project’ sections’ to add colour to your profile and evidence of your previous work.
10. Build your network
Check out our the ‘University of Glasgow Careers Network’ group for potential contacts. eg. people who studied in your area who now work in an area you are interested in. Try an advanced people search. Eg. Use the keyword ‘communications’, ‘public relations’, political communications’ etc… relating to a job sector you are particularly interested in. Filter geographically or by school/university as required. Think about employers you have worked for or completed work experience for. Contact them via LinkedIn and request to be added to their network. Contact key academic tutors who you have worked with in the past or who tutor in an area of particular relevance to your career aspirations. Connect to the College Employability Officer, Dickon Copsey.
11. Job searching
Try an advanced job search with the keyword ‘political communication’ and the location UK. Tick employment sectors that are relevant to you. Save search to receive weekly updates. Try the same for ‘entry level roles’. Remember, you could also use the ‘company’ search to identify potential firms to contact for summer jobs or work experience. Identify people who work for the companies the jobs are being advertised in. Use your 1st degree connections or common groups to contact them and get background information on the role or company.
12. Ask somebody to review you profile
Once you have achieved a 100% complete profile and completed all of the tasks listed above ask somebody to have a look over your profile and provide feedback. Remember – to make the most of your LinkedIn profile it should be a ‘living’ portfolio. IE. you should go in and regularly update your skills, activities, work experience etc… and check your groups. The Careers Service will review your LinkedIn profile for you through one of their careers appointments - http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/careers/guidance/appointment/ - or weekly drop-in sessions - http://moodle2.gla.ac.uk/course/category.php?id=841
13. Check out LinkedIn for Students resources:
Ie. Articles, videos, tutorials covering effective communication styles, finding jobs and internships, profile checklist, prepping interviews and apps
Adapted from LinkedIn Training Resources
‘How to build a professional student LinkedIn profile, http://careerservices.linkedin.com/Build-A-Professional-Profile.pdf