Job search for university students has a new face now and that is LinkedIn. Around 94% of recruiters say that they turn to LinkedIn to find better candidates. Hence, having a LinkedIn profile is not enough and it is very essential that students are aware of the many features that LinkedIn has to offer to make the best use of this professional platform.
To start off, here are seven LinkedIn tips for university students to perfect your LinkedIn profile and land a great job.
LinkedIn Profile Checklist: LinkedIn Tips for University Students
1. A Professional Photo
Students often are used to posting fun photos as their profile pictures with many filters and stickers. But it is important to distinguish between social networking sites and professional networking sites.
In LinkedIn, your profile picture is a tool to form the perfect first impression and for that you must have a professional looking photograph as your profile picture. Here are some tips:
- Almost 60% of the photo must contain your face and shoulders.
- Only you should be present in the photo.
- Preferably, wear professional attire.
- Don’t forget to smile. It gives a warm pleasant impression.
2. A Clever Headline
A headline is the first couple of lines that appear right below your profile picture. It basically is there to describe your skillset in a 120 characters. Try to elaborate how you can be useful for others rather than just stating your skills. For example, “Direct marketing guaranteed to get you more business”. This headline not only tells that the person is from a marketing background but also mentions that he/she can get the viewer more business. This is clever as the user now is intrigued as to how he/she can be of use to them.
Things to remember when crafting your headline:
- A headline shouldn’t be just a sentence. It should be a combination of words that are used cleverly to create a unique “brand” for you.
- There is no need to waste any of the 120 characters with your contact information here. You can instead put your contact info in your summary section.
3. A Captivating Summary Section
A summary section is often the most important section in your profile as it is one of the first things that a viewer sees in your profile. If you do not engage your viewer here, then there are high chances that he/she might not even look further in your profile. Hence, create an engaging story incorporating all that you achieved and all the skills that you have garnered throughout the years.
Here are some tips:
- The first line should highlight the skills that you are proficient in.
- Research the common words or skills that are used in your field of interest and incorporate those keywords into your summary.
- Do not just mention your hard skills. Mention situations where you have worked under pressure or stood out from your team by managing a difficult situation calmly.
- Include any successes you have, anything to highlight your credibility.
4. Powerful Recommendations (Social Proof)
Recommendations are important in LinkedIn as they give an outsider’s opinion on your skills and personality. The first step is to make sure that you get the recommendation from the right people, those who have worked with you closely and can speak to your strengths.
The next step would be making sure that the selected person writes the recommendation in such a way that it accentuates your unique skills and achievements. Also, where relevant, ask them to mention your soft skills too, such as leadership qualities, time management skills etc. This helps in analysing your profile holistically.
5. Reorder Endorsements
The skills that you have added to the skill section of your profile are ranked according to the number of endorsements that you have received for each of them. LinkedIn displays the top three skills based on the number of endorsements.
You want to highlight the top three skills you want to be recognized for. Hence, reordering your endorsements is important. Click on the little pencil icon next to “Add a new skill” then drag the three you want to highlight to the top and reorder them.
6. Personalise Your URL
When you create a profile in LinkedIn, you get a default URL which consists of your name, followed by unwanted letters and numbers. This gives an unprofessional impression about your profile, especially because LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to customise your profile URL.
Here is how you can change your URL in LinkedIn:
- Click on Me → View Profile.
- Click on “Edit public profile and URL”.
- Click on “Edit public profile URL” and edit the URL so that it contains your full name.
7. Show Social Validation
In LinkedIn, while you can display a portfolio of work including rich media such as, videos, PDF’s and presentations that you have worked on. In doing so where possible also showcase how people have reacted to your work with testimonials, comments and feedback received.
LinkedIn’s Special Features
There are two features that are especially important to students, which when utilised in the right way will certainly help them to get that first job or to form useful collaborations.
LinkedIn Alumni has six filters that you can use to search for people in your Alumni circle. These six filters are:
- Geographical location
- Company they work in
- Job function
- Skills they have mentioned in LinkedIn
- Based on how you are connected on LinkedIn.
This is extremely useful if you have moved to a different city. You can use LinkedIn Alumni to see who are there in your current city and connect with them. Or, you can also use it to collaborate with people who have the same skills as you to work on a project together.
Upgraded Employer Pages
Are you a student who has just got job offers from several companies and are in a dilemma as to which company you want to choose? The Upgraded Employer Pages are the right pages to look for information about companies.
These pages have three tabs: Overview, Jobs and Life. While the Overview page gives the basic information about the company and the Jobs page gives details about any job openings, it is the Life tab which talks about the work culture of the company. They also have Employer Insights in the Jobs tab which has colourful bars showing information about the employees there.
Bonus LinkedIn Hacks
Augment New Sections To Your Profile
There are only a certain things that you can add in your one or two page resume. These common sections include your education, projects, jobs and internships etc. This is where LinkedIn takes its profile a notch higher by letting you add your own sections to your profile.
Have you received any honors or awards? Then you can go ahead and add a section called “Honors & Awards”. Have you published any work? Then add the “Publications” section. Have you been an active volunteer, then add the “Volunteer Experience” section.
There’s many other sections you can add, so take a look at the “Add new profile section” within your LinkedIn profile. Augmenting new sections breaks the monotony in your LinkedIn profile and also helps you stand out from the crowd by mentioning all that you have achieved in your life in all aspects.
Personalise Your Connection Request
LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to send a message along with your connection request. This can be effectively used if you want to connect with someone you don’t know very well.
For example, if you are connecting with someone whose work you have admired and are hoping to learn more with their collaboration, then you can mention your praise and admiration for their work in the connection request. This acts as a great conversation starter and results in an accepted connection request almost every time!
Don’t Overuse These Buzzwords
Some words like “Responsible, Creative, Strategic, Patient, Innovative” etc. are just some of those words that don’t add any value or meaning to your profile. Stating that you are “responsible” will in no way help to analyse in what kind of situation you were responsible and what exactly you did to call yourself responsible.
Hence, to avoid such ambiguity, mention clearly what your work was and how you have contributed to make the system/project better.
It is imperative that students make the best use of such a professionally rewarding platform like LinkedIn. Be active and keep optimising your LinkedIn profile to give yourself better chances in secure a job or in networking with top professionals. By following these specific LinkedIn tips for university students many students and grads have landed fantastic jobs or internships. What are you waiting for, get started on implementing these LinkedIn tips right away.
Abhyank Srinet holds a Masters in Management from ESCP Europe & his interest in the digital landscape motivated him to create an online start up, focused on spreading quality information about the MiM degree.