As many students have headed back to school for their second semester, I thought it timely to write a post geared directly toward students. I know that many of you struggle with where to start on LinkedIn and how to create a Profile that stands out when you are still a student. Many of you have not yet acquired experience in your desired field and I would guess even more of you are still in discovery mode and don’t have your ideal career path “set in stone.” Despite this, having an updated and optimized Profile on LinkedIn should be a goal for every student this year. Your Profile is your opportunity to brand yourself, whether for an internship, job, or other opportunity. The faster you create a rock star LinkedIn profile, the better. Trust me.
If you are now sweating bullets thinking, “Holy cow, I have a lot to do and have no clue were to start!” Don’t fret. Use this post for ideas on how to get your LinkedIn profile up and optimized by working offline.
What do I mean when I say “working offline?” I simply mean that there are opportunities available offline that will help you to strengthen your LinkedIn profile online. The two that I want to focus on are reflecting on your past semester and looking for opportunities on your college campus.
Reflecting on Your Past Semester
The joy or pain felt from the close of the previous semester has probably diminished by now. Considering you’ve gotten a chance to process it all, I suggest that you now take the time to determine how to transfer a recap of your previous semester to your LinkedIn profile.
I’ve created the checklist below to help you to accomplish this:
- Gather your syllabi, final grades, and GPA
- Next to each assignment on your syllabi, jot down what grade you received and anything else notable regarding that assignment. (For example: if you received the highest grade, the writing sample was published in the school paper, etc.)
- Go to LinkedIn and start by editing your Education Section. If you have not added your school or university, do so now.
- Under your school or university, begin by clicking on “Add Grade.” Under Grade, fill in your GPA. Did you make the Dean’s List? If so, you can highlight this accomplishment under the “Honors and Awards” section.
- Next, go to “Courses” and add in all of the courses that you took in the previous semester. I would suggest only adding in the courses that are relevant to your major or desired career path if possible.
- After you fill in your courses, go to “Test Scores.” Did you receive a 100% on your final that was a marketing plan for the school’s Career Center and they’re now implementing your suggestions? That’s the type of assignment that you should definitely highlight under this section. Remember, don’t just add in test scores for filler. Only add in the ones that are exceptional or translated into a real world experience in some way.
- If you have writing samples, slide decks, or any other type of rich media that you think highlights your best work, consider adding it, either under your Summary Section or under your Education Section.
Looking for Opportunities on Your College Campus
Once you have taken the time to reflect on your past semester, take a few moments and plan out how you can kick-start your current semester in a way that will also help boost your LinkedIn profile. I would suggest you start by finding out the date of your school’s next Student Activities, volunteer or Student Engagement Fairs. These fairs are a great way to discover what your campus has to offer and are the best way for you to sign up and learn more about student causes that may be of interest to you. Once you sign up and become an active member of a few clubs, activities or causes, be sure to add them to you LinkedIn profile.
Another great resource is your school’s Career Center. Book an appointment with a Career Counselor and see if there are opportunities on campus for you to work and gain “on the job experience.” At La Salle, these opportunities are called work study positions, but they may be called something different at your school or university. Most schools offer these types of positions; they are student positions where you work on the campus, whether in an academic department, in the mail room or in a school’s office, and they offer students the opportunity to experience working in an actual office. I believe these types of experiences are valuable and are great first positions to add to your Experience Section on LinkedIn. If you are interested in this type of position, I would not delay… I remember that they were hot commodities when I was a student at La Salle and were always filled quickly.
I believe that these two areas of focus will help you to optimize your LinkedIn profile and provide focus for your current semester. Don’t hesitate. Begin your work today!
If you’re interested in learning more about the power of LinkedIn for students check out these three additional posts: