Social media is the way you connect with friends, at school, and around the world. As you navigate through college, you’ll learn social media can also be used to make professional connections that last beyond graduation and might even help you land your first job.
The best place to start building your professional profile is LinkedIn, a professional networking site designed to help people make business connections, share their resumes, and find jobs. It may not be as exciting as Snapchat or TikTok, but it will benefit you for years to come after graduation. We’ve put together our best tips on how to use LinkedIn and be successful in the art of networking.
Creating a LinkedIn profile is easy. It’s not quite the same as creating an Instagram account, but there are similar steps to follow.
The profile picture you use on Instagram may not work for LinkedIn. This photo should be taken by someone else (definitely don’t use a selfie or your favorite glam shots by Deb), and you should be dressed in professional clothing. You don’t necessarily need a seven-piece suit, but a clean shirt with a soft background will go a long way. The best way to get started is to find real examples, like your parents, other family members, professors, etc.
A headline on LinkedIn refers to your job title or a short description of your skillset. You have 120 characters to describe the kind of work you do or would like to do, so carefully craft a creative headline within the character limit. Recruiters and hiring managers also use headlines and titles to search for qualified candidates on LinkedIn. This headline is your initial introduction to other people (after they see your photo), so put some thought into it.
Your professional summary should include what you’re studying in school, classes you may have taken, projects you worked on, and other accomplishments. Don’t go overboard here. No one wants to read a 1,000-word essay about you (except maybe your mom). Keep your summary to around 100-200 words with some bullet points.
Benefits of LinkedIn for Students
LinkedIn is a great way to show off your accomplishments and what you’ve learned in school. It’s also versatile, so you can be creative in how you build your LinkedIn profile and network on the site.
Benefits of a LinkedIn Profile for Soon-to-Be Grads
If you’re in the final months of school, it’s time to start the job hunt. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for finding employment, especially if you already made some connections on the site.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for professionals. Understanding how to use LinkedIn while you’re still in school will provide a greater, valuable benefit down the road.
For more tips on how to transition from the educational to the professional world, read our recent blog, Getting ready for your first job out of college.
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