How to Create the Ideal Student LinkedIn Profile

Once you’ve created a stellar student resume, the next step is to craft your professional online appearance. First, scrub your social media platforms for any content you don’t want recruiters to see. Then, if you haven’t already, join LinkedIn to present yourself as a professional who’s ready to take on the working world. 

While your LinkedIn profile is similar to your written resume, there are a few key differences, like headshots, professional summaries, and endorsements. 

Add relevant sections from your resume 

Since you’ve already written your resume, most sections of your LinkedIn profile should be a breeze. LinkedIn has pre-existing categories, like education, experience, and skills, built into its platform so you can transfer information into each corresponding section. 

Completing your LinkedIn profile might even remind you of other items to include in your resume. For example, there’s a section for certifications. If you’re entering into a field, like digital marketing, where earning a certificate or completing a course on Google Ads might help your job chances, include that information on your physical resume, too. 

As you transfer the data, take care to format it specifically for the platform. Save your work, view the page as a public user, and identify any awkward spaces or errors.

Choose a professional headshot 

Browse LinkedIn and you’ll find a number of examples of profile pictures. Most often, they’re professional headshots taken inside, against plain backgrounds, and feature someone in business-casual clothing. 

On the whole, professional headshots aren’t super exciting, but exist to give a first impression of you that helps recruiters put a face to your name and profile. If you’re hoping to enter a more creative industry, take note of the types of photos that others in the field use on their LinkedIn pages. 

If you don’t have a professional headshot, check in with the career services office at your college. They might have helpful resources. If not, enlist the help of a friend (know any photography majors?) or family member to take a professional photo of you. Or, if you have photo day at your high school or college, dress appropriately and use these images for your LinkedIn profile. 

If you’re taking the photo yourself, find a simple background, like a single-colored wall, and wear a blazer or plain sweater. Avoid bright colors, logos, or phrases on your clothing. Do your hair and makeup in an understated, professional manner and snap a few photos. Try different poses that feel natural, but try to maintain an air of professionalism.

Craft a compelling headline & summary

Another difference between LinkedIn and a traditional resume is the headline and summary portion. The headline is a quick line of information that sits just below your name on your LinkedIn page. 

Look around LinkedIn and you’ll see all different kinds of headlines. Some people use it as an opportunity to reiterate their job title and company. Others make it fun with a personal touch. 

As a student looking for a job, you might want to use your headline as a quick “pitch” for who you are and what type of career you’re looking to pursue. 

Incorporate keywords to craft an attention-grabbing headline. For example, if you have a passion for helping students with learning disabilities, you might want to include that in your headline if you’re searching for job opportunities in education. 

The LinkedIn summary section gives you a chance to write about yourself, your education, and your goals in your own words. Use this space to establish your personal brand, elaborate on your background, highlight your achievements, and connect the dots between your experience and the career you want to pursue. 

Make sure your summary is concise, informational, and free of overused buzzwords. Here are a few example summaries to get your creative juices flowing. 

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Claim a unique URL

LinkedIn allows you to customize a URL that drives readers directly to your profile. Edit your URL to some version of your name to help recruiters and employers find you more easily. 

If you want, you can also add this unique URL in the contact information section of your resume. Since you’re not limited to one page on LinkedIn, this can be a great way to supplement your physical resume, offering prospective employers a more holistic view of who you are. 

Showcase any online work 

Whoever’s viewing your LinkedIn profile is already online, so it’s easy for them to navigate to other websites that highlight any relevant work you’ve done. 

Depending on the field you’re entering, you might want to add links to blog posts, articles, online portfolios, video clips, and any other media that might showcase your unique skills. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to attach these in the “featured” section of your profile.  

Get endorsements 

As you’re transferring your information to LinkedIn from a resume, you’ll see a section labeled “skills.” After you populate this section with relevant skills, your first-degree connections on LinkedIn will be able to “endorse” you for each one. 

For example, if your guidance counselor is a first-degree connection and they know you possess the leadership skills listed on your profile, they might endorse you for that skill. Giving someone an endorsement is essentially vouching for them in a particular area. 

To get endorsements, add skills to your profile and do some professional networking. Send connection requests to your colleagues, professors, previous bosses, and friends on LinkedIn.

Once they accept, endorse your connections for skills and see if they’ll endorse you back. If endorsements don’t come naturally this way, don’t be afraid to ask for them. 

Be respectful, and only ask to be endorsed in skills that your connection knows you have. If they fulfill your request, don’t forget to send a brief “thank you” message to show your gratitude. 

Request recommendations 

While endorsements for skills are great, recommendations on LinkedIn are even more meaningful to potential employers, and should only be requested from folks who have worked with you directly.

For example, if you held a part-time job or have considerable volunteer experience, request a LinkedIn recommendation from a former supervisor. Treat this request with respect and deference, as writing a recommendation can take a lot of time and effort. 

The people you ask will have the option to accept or reject your request. If they agree to write your recommendation, you can view their letter, ask for revisions, or accept it. Once the recommendations are complete, they’ll be available to your network and potential employers. 

Follow relevant companies and groups

Part of being a great candidate is staying engaged in the industry you’re hoping to join. It shows passion, curiosity, and drive to prospective employers. 

Keep up-to-date on industry news by following relevant companies and contributing to LinkedIn groups. Contributing can mean writing your own posts, leaving comments or questions on others’ posts, or even “liking” status updates. 

When you follow companies and engage with them, you won’t just see their updates in your feed –– you’ll also be among the first to know when they post job openings. As a bonus, this may even help you get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers looking for talent.  

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Disclaimer: This blog post provides personal finance educational information, and it is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice.


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