The Most Up-to-date Guide to LinkedIn for Students in 2020

26 Feb 2020

When most people hear about the job market, the association with LinkedIn is immediate. In the last several years, this platform has become essential for every person who hopes to find an employer and vice versa. But not everyone knows what LinkedIn is, and if you’re among them, reading this guide will put all of your questions to rest. LinkedIn a social network that was created specifically for the furthering of one’s career, present or future. People create accounts, fill them with information about them and their accomplishments, and look for jobs or internships within the area they’re interested in. By being aware of all the intricacies, you’ll succeed on LinkedIn and find exactly what you’ve been looking for.

5 Reasons Explaining Why Having a LinkedIn Account is Essential

If you’re an active Internet user, it’s likely that you already have accounts on all major online communication platforms, such as Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, etc. If so, you probably understand why having a profile within the main business social network is important, but if not, we’ve prepared a list of reasons that will convince you of this.

1) A huge part of employers visit LinkedIn on a daily basis

As of now, LinkedIn has more than 575+ million users. Its popularity has doubled over the last 5 years, proving that the platform is constantly growing and gaining a unique kind of popularity. Whether you’re accustomed to hearing things about LinkedIn or not, all professional organizations know what it is and have at least one account representing them there. So unless you’re interested in a rare sphere with no online presence, you’ll find the employer you might want to work for 100%. In turn, these employers will get to see your account, and since the outreach is bigger on LinkedIn, the chances to find a job increase.

2) LinkedIn allows establishing business connections with other like-minded specialists

Since LinkedIn is not just a platform for employers, you get a chance to meet other employees or people interested in an internship. Business connections include a variety of people. For example, if you become friends with an accountant at some firm and you hit it off in a professional sense, chances are, they’re going to recommend you to their manager or at least vouch for you if you apply for a job there by yourself. Meeting people in the same sphere of knowledge means that you start learning your industry from inside out, making connections that will stay with you throughout the years, with people always ready to offer recommendations or suggest an idea if you need it. The more friends you make, the stronger your professional identity is going to be.

3) LinkedIn functions as your CV

Having a professional CV is a necessity for everyone who’s looking for a job. But the tricky thing is, in most cases, you must have several versions of it to send to different companies. Long CVs where you list generic or redundant accomplishments only turn the potential employers away. For instance, if you know a second language, you might want to find a job as a translator, editor, writer, copywriter, etc. Depending on which position you select, your CV must be tailored to it. With LinkedIn, there is no need to constantly rewrite your resume. Since the outreach is wider, the employers don’t mind seeing everything you’ve accomplished and the positions you feel you’ll be good at. You can keep everything career-related right there, making your profile universal and sending a link to it even in cases where you’re contacting employers not via LinkedIn.

4) LinkedIn is a vital part of your online persona

Many young people are confused as to how to make their social network profiles multi-sided and fitting for all situations. Facebook, for instance, is used for communication with friends, but it’s also a platform where employees look for a job or where employers try to boost their business. It poses a question, what should one’s account look like? People are torn between making it professional and posting informal things like jokes, pics, or expressing their personal worries. LinkedIn solves this problem. With its help, you can do whatever you want on Facebook and other platforms. In turn, LinkedIn is a representative of your professional side where you must keep everything strictly formal. Having a whole network for professional purposes is helpful because it facilitates the process of separating different parts of one’s online persona.

5) LinkedIn helps you research and be researched

If you feel unsure about the employer you’re interested in, LinkedIn is a great place to research them. See their detailed profile, learn details of employment opportunities, make sure this person or company is respected by others. Similarly, the employer has a chance to study you and see everything you’ve done professionally.

How to Create a LinkedIn Profile and What Mistakes Should You Avoid?

If you have little experience with networks like this, you might wonder how to create a profile. LinkedIn doesn’t differ from other networks much in this respect, but there are still elements you should be aware of.

1) Take a professional-looking photo of yourself and upload it

On LinkedIn, the photo is crucial. Almost everyone has one, so if you don’t, the employers will likely automatically skip your profile, not paying any attention to it. The pic has to be of great quality, from an angle that allows seeing your face clearly, and the background should be neutral, something bland and barely noticeable. Remember: don’t use an old photo. Don’t wear revealing or overly informal clothes. Don’t use heavy make-up and don’t crop your image because in most cases, it looks awkward. These are common mistakes that you should avoid.

2) Fill the intro with concise but crucial information about yourself

Intro has to be concise as it’s the first thing everyone sees. Mention your name, your current position if you have any, your country and industry you’re interested in, etc. LinkedIn will take you through all steps. Remember: don’t write an essay in this section. Write exactly what’s asked of you, nothing more. Don’t make grammar errors as it’ll disqualify you right away, so proofread everything carefully and ask someone else to read through it again.

3) Provide a more detailed summary about you, mention work history and skills

The summary section is where you can allow yourself to be more creative. Explain who you are, where you worked and/or studied before; discuss your professional history and point out the skills you possess. Again, LinkedIn assists its users, and by seeing the sections with comprehensive titles, you’ll know what to write beneath. Don’t forget to add relevant keywords — for instance, “copywriter”, “auditing”, etc. It’ll help your profile to be reflected in the search more accurately. Don’t be chaotic: keep the structure logical. Mention everything in the appropriate order and make bullet points for easier readability.

4) Provide some contact information

The employers have to know how to contact you outside of LinkedIn. If you have a personal site, it’s great! Be sure to add it. Point out your email. The following are suggestions, not recommendations set in stone: don’t add links to your other social media profiles. It’s better to keep the private and professional life separate. Don’t add your phone number to prevent unwanted parties from contacting you.

Networking through LinkedIn: How Does It Work?

Like we mentioned before, LinkedIn is a place where you can make business connections of all kinds. The sooner you start, the bigger the circle of acquaintances you’re going to build for yourself, which will be more beneficial for you. Of course, some recommendations are in order, so take a look at them below.

  • Accept LinkedIn suggestions. Like most other social networks, LinkedIn is going to offer you to look at the profiles of people you might be interested in connecting with. Don’t discard such offers. Look through the profiles and initiate contact with those you deem relevant for yourself. At the same time, try to make messages personal and professional sounding. Make it clear that you took your time to read a person’s profile instead of looking like you’re mass-sending the same generic message to everyone. In addition, look for potentially valuable contacts yourself. Don’t be scared of showing initiative. Even if you’re socially awkward, try to cultivate confidence by starting conversations.
  • Be polite and semi-formal in most interactions. Since LinkedIn is all about career, your tone should correspond to this context. But it’s also important to find a balance between being cordial and professional, so politeness is your best bet. Sounding like a machine is never a good idea; being distantly personal, on the other hand, is the approach you could use effectively. Stick to it in all your LinkedIn discussions.
  • Join groups connected to your industry of interest. Become a member of the groups where your potential colleagues are present. For example, you could check groups connected to your uni, reconnecting with former students or finding other valuable individuals. This will boost your visibility.
  • Ask for recommendations from former employers. If you completed some work and think you were more or less successful, ask the employer to give you a recommendation. LinkedIn has this function, so it’ll basically do everything for you, you just have to use it. Recommendations can greatly improve the look of your profile, attracting more people to it.

Finding Jobs or Internships via LinkedIn

One of the biggest advantages of LinkedIn is that you can apply for a job right through it. There is a special section titled “Jobs”. There is a default option that offers you positions based on the skills and/or interests you’ve pointed out in a profile, but you don’t have to feel restricted by it. Search for more options, sort them through preferable location, filter them according to experience level, and reach out to potential employers. You can even contact them directly to ask if there is a position you’re interested in.

LinkedIn is undoubtedly the best platform for finding a job, and you can use it both for communication and for professional growth. Work hard on your profile to make it attractive and sufficiently detailed, start contact with others, be polite and look for positions you could be good at. Everything depends on you, including your future job and how successful you’re going to be at locating it!