Jumpstart Your Career in College: LinkedIn

While you’re in college, it may seem overwhelming to worry about getting a serious job or internship one day. You’re caught up in class work, extracurriculars, and maybe a part-time job, not to mention socializing. Filling out applications and crafting a portfolio may seem like too much work and you have no idea where to start. Luckily, LinkedIn is a simple place to start that will greatly increase your chances of being hired and doesn’t take much time to build at all.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social networking site that’s geared toward employers and potential employees, in an effort to establish the ease of connecting that Facebook has, but in a more professional setting. You sign up, then create a profile where you can fill out all kinds of information, such as previous work experience, classes you’ve taken, and any skills you may have. You can fill out your profile and list whatever you think relates to your work experience and then anyone with a LinkedIn account will be able to view yours.

How to make a great profile

While signing up for LinkedIn and making a profile is a great start, you need to go further than that for it to have a tangible impact on your professional life. Around 443 million people are on LinkedIn and that number is rising! The first thing you can do to be noticed by these other members is to upload a profile picture to your account. LinkedIn profiles with photos are viewed, on average, 13 times more than those without a picture! Make sure your picture is professional; even though LinkedIn is similar to Facebook, it isn’t casual. It’s to create a professional image for yourself! If you don’t have a good headshot, many colleges offer to take them for free - OSPGD here at F&M offers free professional photos every semester.

After uploading your picture, work on the rest of your profile. While you don’t have to fill out information for every job you’ve ever had, any that relate to your major and future professional aspirations should definitely be listed. Also list what extracurriculars you’re involved in and list any volunteer work you do! Employers like to see that you’re involved and care about making the world a better place; it shows them you care about others and will likely put a lot of effort into your job.

Finally, interact with other people! LinkedIn isn’t a once and done - regularly check back and add new connections or share interesting articles. Ideally, sharing an article or posting an update once a day would be best, but once a week works well too. Whenever you enter a professional environment, look up the people you meet on LinkedIn afterwards. Make sure you add what skills you have and then endorse your connections’ skills (they’ll likely endorse you back!).

Overall, make sure you thoroughly fill out your profile and regularly update it. The more active you are on LinkedIn, the more likely your page will immediately show up when employers Google your name. This way, they can see an even more extensive resume and get a real idea of who you are professionally!