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Tips for Student LinkedIn Profiles (PDF)

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Share these expert profile tips with your students across all majors and career interests.

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Tips for Student LinkedIn Profiles (PDF)

  1. 1. How to Tailor Your LinkedIn Profile to Your Goals [for students]There’s no such thing as a perfect LinkedIn profile. What you need is a LinkedIn profile thats perfect foryour particular goals. Here are some tips for creating a strategic LinkedIn presence…1. Get clear on your audience. Before you create your profile, think about the people you want to impress. Then, write for that audience. If you want to get a job at a high-tech start-up, write for a techie audience. If you want to go to business school, write for MBA admissions officers. If you’re undecided, then create a strong general profile to demonstrate that you’re a professionally minded student who is eager to learn and network.2. Write a headline that displays your desired career. Your headline does not have to be a job title. The best student headlines clearly promote who you are and what you want to do when you graduate. For example, "XYZ University honors student & aspiring public relations associate." Or “Pre-MBA finance major graduating in 2013.”3. Post an appropriate photo. LinkedIn is not Facebook; if your goal is a professional career, your photo needs to be a professionally appropriate headshot of you alone. No baseball caps, puppies or prom photos! (And bonus points for a smile.)4. Show some passion. The difference between a LinkedIn profile and a resume is that you have more room to tell your story. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience, you can win points with potential employers for your enthusiasm about the industry you want to join. For instance, you might begin your Summary with: “I’ve been an athlete since I was old enough to kick a soccer ball, and now I’m eager to build a career in sports management.”5. Include keywords. Recruiters search for candidates by keywords, so make sure your profile is full of them. Find relevant words and phrases in the job descriptions of the positions you want and then pepper them throughout your Summary, Specialties and Skills sections.6. Be smart about adding sections. LinkedIn offers numerous student-focused profile additions through the “Add Sections” link in your Edit Profile view. Don’t feel that you have to include every section, though. Just add the sections that will help you achieve your goals, such as the Volunteer Experience & Causes section if you want to work at a nonprofit or the Coursework section if you took a bunch of classes related to your desired industry.7. Mention only relevant experience. Your profile’s Experience section can and should include internships, extra curriculars and volunteer work. However, it’s okay not to include experiences that don’t fit with your goals. For example, if you did a 3-month stint as a telemarketer and never want to do it again, you can omit it from your profile.8. Be strategic with recommendations. When you request recommendations from internship supervisors, professors and bosses, ask them to mention qualities that align with your career goals. For instance, if you want to start your own business, ask for them to attest to your leadership skills or your visionary nature. If you want to be a web designer, ask for references that highlight your creativity and technical prowess. “Jane Doe is a great person” is nice but not very helpful.9. Join LinkedIn Groups that reflect your goals. Group memberships appear on your profile, so they provide you with some success by association. Even if you don’t have experience in your desired field, group memberships will show that you are actively building a network in that community.10. Check your work. As a final step, ask a career counselor or family member to review your profile. Specifically, ask if your reviewer can articulate your goals by looking at your profile. If the answer is no, then go back to the top of this list and start making some revisions!