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Creating a Great LinkedIn Profile: a Guide for College Students

If you’re a college student and you don’t have an outstanding LinkedIn profile, then you should hurry and work on it now.

Recruitment from Social Professional Networks is the fastest growing in quality hires according to Global Recruiters. As a matter of fact in 2011 companies were making 20% of the quality hires based on Social Professional Networks, and in 2013, that number has grown to 37%. Chances are companies are looking at recent graduates’ LinkedIn profiles now at this very moment, and will be looking at more LinkedIn profiles of college seniors in the upcoming year. If you are looking for full time employment, internships, virtual work, or just to establish connections and get acquainted with the job market in your industry of preference, your deadline was yesterday. You need to create an amazing LinkedIn profile if you haven’t yet. Update it and optimize it, so that you can attract the eye of companies looking to hire.

Great LinkedIn profile Should create a connection

From the moment you create your LinkedIn profile, the first step is to create connections. LinkedIn is all about having the right connections, and a great number of them. The more well-rounded connections you create, the more you can increase your visibility and get noticed by recruiters. The site is a beautiful imitation of how the actual professional world works. As by the theory of six degrees of separation, where everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend”, can be made to connect any two people, that’s how the LinkedIn world is like. The shrinking world phenomenon becomes more apparent through LinkedIn. There are many connections you can make right now. First start with all your family, friends, and fellow students. Don’t forget professors and alumni, and by the use of your e-mail account, you can choose which of your contacts would be useful to connect to.

Connect with industry leaders

Connecting with industry leaders should also be your top priority when you create that LinkedIn profile. This is not your random, “please follow me” request on Twitter, but it is much more important and intricate. You should not connect to industry leaders by sending them your CV, or asking for a job, but by making your request more personal. One way to make a connection is by finding something in common between your life and their life. Learn more about them if they have been writing books, have a blog in which they frequently contribute or share their thoughts in different public social media, and try to find the right click. For instance, if you had to connect with a writer, let them know how a particular article they wrote in the New York Times many years back, motivated and inspired you, and made you think of writing as a career choice. All of us need mentors, but we also love to provide mentorship. If you are able to truly connect, you will get noticed. Also don’t ask for a job, but offer your services for free. Tell them that you are motivated and you would do anything to learn from the best.

Another most important information you need to know about your LinkedIn profile, is that it needs to be perfect. If you have done a few spell checks, do another one. It really helps to be meticulous. As we said, chances are recruiters are going through profiles at this very moment. You should make sure to have the best profile possible. First you need to figure out what to include in your LinkedIn profile. As a college student, you might have done some part time work, volunteer work, or even had one or a few internships, which you might want to include in your profile. You should also add all details about your university and your major, as well as school related work. If you took Introduction to Advertising, add the presentation of your assignment to create a brand and advertising campaign for it. In the old days recruiters would ask you thoroughly about your school work, the classes you’d taken, and some particular work you’ve done during that time. Now you don’t have to explain that work, you can just showcase it for recruiters to see, and chances are you will get noticed for it. And with that, we just added another reason why you should put extra effort in your assignments.

Great LinkedIn profile brand

Make sure to brand yourself, or in other more laymen terms, make sure to position yourself in the job market. You need to define in your LinkedIn profile and in the summary, who you are, what you want to do, and what you are capable of. You need to define the industry in which you want to work with, and the kind of jobs you are interested in. Recruiters love people who are focused and know what they want. Even though your life goals aren’t clear yet, you can either talk to a career advisor or a mentor to define them, or choose one of the industries that is to your liking; you can make changes later if you change your mind. Make your LinkedIn profile coherent and list your skills and talents in connection to your brand. You will also need to summarize everything you’ve done from school work, to extracurricular activities and part time or summer jobs, by highlighting how you contributed to the team in those instances, or how you excelled in your work. Also, don’t forget to illustrate your work. You can showcase your achievements in the profile, with photos, documents, presentations. In the end highlight in the position the name of your college, the year of the expected graduation, and what you are interested in working as. This will help recruiters to find you more easily.

Get noticed by adding references, from your professors or people you’ve worked with. Ask them to give you a good reference in relation to the kind of work you are pursuing, and the kinds of skills you want highlighted. You can also recommend friends for different skills they have, to get them to do the same for you. Similarly get yourself acquainted with LinkedIn by researching company profiles, and also following brands with the follow button. Get a look around the site and check statistical data, news about the industry and companies you are interested in, and about what’s new on LinkedIn. Ultimately, LinkedIn is just like any other blog or social media network, only that you want to show the best side of yourself, your skills, talents, future goals and aspirations. Use everything the site has to offer to make your LinkedIn profile more viewable by recruiters.

Lastly, if you think you are too early, let us remind you that you are wrong. Even though you are not a college graduate, or a senior, even as a freshman, you might want to start updating your LinkedIn profile right now. LinkedIn is in fact shortening its age limit from 18 to 13, by September 12th 2013, so precautious teens can search for universities, but also showcase their skills to the job market early.  The goal is to create connections, create an outstanding and noticeable LinkedIn profile. To start early, because as with everything else in life, “the early bird catches the worm.”

Do you have any more suggestions and opinions that could help create an outstanding LinkedIn profile? Share with us in the comments section below.

All images courtesy of the Creative Commons Licence