Entering college, I had a very vague idea as to what LinkedIn was. I would hear about LinkedIn from my supervisors at my previous internship but I never really understood its purpose. I thought it was just a website for adults and professionals who already had a lot of experience and a vast network under their belt.
But, setting up your first LinkedIn Profile as a First Generation Low-Income student is not as intimidating as it seems.
1. Choose a Profile Photo
Your photo serves as the gateway to the rest of your profile. If you are just starting, you might not have a professional headshot that many of these users and professionals have. Taking a photo in front of a blank wall or outdoors can be a great start. You can wear something professional or a little more casual, choose the vibe that you think fits your industry and personality best. Don’t forget to smile!
2. Writing a Headline
Setting up my own profile, I did not know what to write here. You can state your status as a student at your current school and format it as “Student at College or University”. If you currently hold a job or a position, you can list it here as well. Include your position and the company that you currently work or intern at – i.e. “Intern at Company”. By doing so, you can find other students and alumni at your school or colleagues at your company and start expanding your network.
Think of this similar to a blurb or a mini introduction about you. You want to engage and welcome your future connections. This section can be written in first person or third person. Be sure to remain consistent once you have selected from which point of view you want to write in. This does not have to be long. Feel free to start with a “Hello!”, your name, school, area of study, and areas of interest. You can leave your email and contact information here as well.
Include all relevant work experience and technical skills in this section. Referring to your resume can be helpful when setting up this part. LinkedIn auto orders your experience(s) in descending chronological order. Your most recent job experience is listed first. You can also include your extracurriculars commitments and positions here.
This section is self explanatory but be sure to list your area of study and intended concentration. Include your activities and societies that you are involved in on campus here.
LinkedIn will suggest skills to you relating to your listed experiences. You can cater this to whatever skills best fits and suits your expertise. Your connections, including peers and previous employers can “endorse” you adding credibility to your listed skills. This can also increase your profile’s visibility when employers are searching for potential applicants for their businesses and companies.
Treat this section similar to a brag sheet or a CV. LinkedIn allows you to list any publications, patents, courses you have taken, projects, honors & awards, test scores, languages, organizations, and causes that you are involved in.
This section allows you to showcase any articles, posts, websites, documents, or presentations. Some people include a copy of their resume here or articles and posts that they have written in the past. You can treat this section like the Instagram highlights in one’s profile.
Although complicated and tedious at first, once you have set up your profile – updating it will be easy. Many call it an online resume, but LinkedIn’s live platform allows you to curate your profile based on your interests and network.
LinkedIn enables many students find opportunities. You broaden your career prospects in your future industries and connect with individuals and mentors building your own online professional community.