The course titled “Learning LinkedIn for Students” by Oliver Schinkten is a great course on how to set up your LinkedIn profile. Through creating your profile, you should consider things like what companies you want to work for, jobs that you are qualified for, where job openings are, how to apply, and how to prove that you are a strong candidate to recruiters. It allows you to create and build your network and keep up with trends in the industry (Schinkten, 2018).
LinkedIn gives you access to recent articles that are relevant to you. It aids in creating your digital footprint and helping you to market your personal brand. Simultaneously, it helps to build up a professional network, lets you research companies and industries, and helps you find and apply to jobs (Schinkten, 2018).
There are over 500 million users on LinkedIn and over nine million companies (Schinkten, 2018). A LinkedIn profile is different from a resume because it provides more depth to your experiences and skills. It allows others to endorse your skills and recommend you to future employers. LinkedIn is a great platform for interacting with professionals. It will let you share your creativity and put your personality on display, unlike a resume.
Creating a LinkedIn Profile
Creating a profile is very simple. Simply navigate to the main page, hit the ‘sign up’ button, and fill out the necessary information. In the initial stage, it will ask for your name, whether you are a student or not, and what you are most interested in doing on LinkedIn. I am a student so I will choose that option as it is best suited for me.
Adding a photo is an important step in creating your profile. Schinkten states in his course that users who have a profile picture receive far more profile clicks than those who do not (2018). When you add a picture, make sure it is a recent photo because you want people to be able to recognize you. Use a professional, high quality photo and adjust the tilt and framing to make it look good. Similarly, choose a background photo that is clear, professional, and fits the image that you want to convey (Schinkten, 2018).
Next, personalize your headline. It will be the first thing that people will read on your profile so make it good! It should reflect the message you want to send to people that visit your profile. Write something that defines who you are and what you want to be (Schinkten, 2018).
Your summary should have a lot of time and thought put into it. It is where you share your accomplishments, mission statement, and career goals. Its your chance to show your personality and share why you do what you do. Keywords are important here because that is what employers will look for. Make sure that the beginning few sentences are attention-grabbing and toot your own horn (Schinkten, 2018)! Don’t be afraid to look at other profiles to get an idea of how to format the summary. Show how you can provide value to employers.
Work experience and volunteering should also be included in your profile. Share where you’ve worked, how long you worked there, and include a brief description of the job and skills you attained. Similarly, the volunteer experience information can make your profile stand out to recruiters (Schinkten, 2018).
For education, you should list your major, diplomas, and degrees you have completed. Include any honors and accomplishments you were awarded as well as any clubs you took part in.
The skills and endorsements sections is extremely important because a good skill list can make you 27 times more likely to be recruited (Schinkten, 2018). You should always keep adding any additional skills you have mastered since creating your profile. These skills can be endorsed by your coworkers, managers, professors, or friends. You can also ask for endorsements when you make new connections or have LinkedIn ask for you. More endorsements in a skill can show you have strength in that skill. You should add five to ten skills to start (Schinkten, 2018).
Recommendations on LinkedIn are like recommendation letters you would receive from an employer or instructor (Schinkten, 2018). Your connections can write how they know you and what it was like to know you. You can ask your professor or manager for a recommendation and provide one in return for them. This becomes helpful if you are using LinkedIn as a resume.
There is an additional section called accomplishments which can include publications, certifications, patents, courses, projects, honors and awards, test scores, languages, and organizations. You do not need to add all of them but if they add value to your profile and brand then they should be included (Schinkten, 2018).
You can also configure your profile to be partly visible to non-members and fully visible to members of LinkedIn. As you make these privacy changes, there is a preview on your screen of what your profile will look like.
One last thing you will want to consider is your profile URL. You should make it easy to share on things like a business card or resume so shorten it something like your name, a nickname, or something creative (Schinkten, 2018). It should be easy to remember.
Build Your LinkedIn Network
Building your professional network has many benefits including insight and advice, knowledge and ideas, collaboration, resources and opportunities. Two of the most popular ways that companies find new hires are through referrals and social professional networks (Schinkten, 2018). Your network should comprise of three types of connections.
There is the ‘advocate’ which is someone you know on a personal level that can act as a soundboard for advice (Schinkten, 2018). There is a ‘strategic “in”’ who is someone that is well connected, can make connections on your behalf, and is someone you know on a professional level. The third connection is a ‘subject matter expert’ that offers insight into an industry with an unbiased opinion (Schinkten, 2018). These connections provide value to your network and create win-win relationships.
LinkedIn allows you to quickly and efficiently connect with people. You can search a specific person and message them as to why you want to connect with them. LinkedIn can suggest other people to connect with based on the information in your profile such as your education, work, and volunteer experience. You can also search companies, certain skills, and professions (Schinkten, 2018).
To improve your searching, you can add filters to narrow down your results. You can filter by people, jobs, content, companies, groups, or schools and you can take it even further by filtering by location or keywords. Boolean modifiers can also be used to refine your search. There is a help page on how to use Boolean modifier that you can use if you are unfamiliar with them. In addition, you can also use search operators such as firstname, lastname, title, company, and school. A help on search operators can also be found (Schinkten, 2018).
A handy tool to use is the Alumni tool. Your fellow alumni are more open to connect with you because of the shared journey you have had at your university. You can follow university pages for updates that they have and use their alumni tool. This tool lets you see where these alumni live, where they work, what they do, what they studied, and their skills (Schinkten, 2018). You can click on these categories to narrow your alumni list to what you are looking for.
LinkedIn also has groups that you can join to build your network. These groups have professional individuals with similar interests as you. Within these groups, you can ask questions, share insights, and build connections. Groups are a great way to network with those who are interested in the same topic as you, went to the same university, or are in an industry that you are interested in (Schinkten, 2018). You can use the search bar to find groups or create your own if the one you are looking for does not exist.
Using LinkedIn Day-to-Day
Your feed is customized for you based on your interests and connections that you interact with the most. It shows and recommends articles based on what you read, recommends people you may know, and companies and universities you may be interested in. The feed will also show news trends and opportunities related to your field. The more interactions you have, the more your feed is suited to you (Schinkten, 2018). It is a great way to stay informed.
You can follow companies and influencers on LinkedIn instead of forming a connection with them. This will give you updates and news on your feed. Influencers are thought leaders in industries that will keep you up to date on new trends in that industry (Schinkten, 2018).
Your online presence creates a digital footprint and builds your brand. Research shows that almost half of companies decided not to hire candidates because of their online profiles (Schinkten, 2018). You should avoid references to drugs and alcohol, discriminatory behaviour, poor communication skills, and other negative behaviours because they could damage your brand and career opportunities. You should portray a strong, professional image, contribute to community conversations, provide feedback, share articles, and have thought provoking posts. People will connect with you based on the value you provide to them.
To provide value to your network, you should share interesting posts when you come across them. This gets your name out there and shows that you are willing to participate and contribute to the industry. LinkedIn allows you to share your own posts or share articles from other sites. Your goal should be to provide value to your connections so keep it appropriate and do not share too much. Schinkten recommends only sharing a few times a week (2018).
You can also publish your own articles on LinkedIn. The platform makes it easy to write posts, make it look professional, and share. The Write an Article button lets you create a post with a headline and add multimedia to a blog-type post. Schinkten recommends using images legally from sites that provide royalty-free images (2018). Once you post your article, you can see data such as how many clicks, likes, and shares it has.
LinkedIn also lets you send and receive messages with your connections. You can send messages, images, and files. Having a LinkedIn premium account lets you message people that are not your connections. When messaging a new connection, include details on why you are connecting with them. Keep in mind their time is important so keep the messages short and to the point.
Another powerful tool for you to use is LinkedIn Learning. Professional development is a strong part of being successful and LinkedIn Learning can help you with that. It has a library of courses on thousands of topics that you can take and achieve certification for. This will help you learn a skillset quickly and add it to your profile. You can search for courses or even skills that you would like to work on.
Jobs Search and Company Research
LinkedIn allows you to explore company pages which can come in handy when you need to do research before an interview. It can help you understand a company’s values and views to help you prepare you answers. Company pages also show jobs that are posted and can show customized job postings for you. If you click on a job posting, you can learn more about the position and how the responsibilities are. You can also look at people working at the company so you can see their path through school and work experience that lead them to their current position.
If you have a premium account, you can use a feature called Company Insights that lets you see other information about a company. It shows you information on total employee count, employee distribution and headcount growth by function, new hires, job openings data, and more. It lets you see an overview of the company, get news updates, and new job opportunities.
When you are searching for jobs, LinkedIn recommends jobs based on what you have in your profile. You can also search by job title and narrow it down by location, experience level, and date posted. Additional filters you can use include company, industry, and job type. Job postings have a button you can click to apply to the job as well as information about the experience level required, responsibilities, qualifications required, and benefits. Postings with the Easy Apply button make applying very quick and easy because it applies using your profile.
There is also a Career Interests tab that lets you notify recruiters that you are actively seeking a new job. The Salary tab takes you to a page that shows you the average industry salaries from around the country. Lastly, you can set up job alerts to notify you of openings that fit your criteria and you can choose to be notified on LinkedIn or through email.
Manage Your LinkedIn
You should consider subscribing to LinkedIn Premium if you want access to InMail, Company Insights, move up in job applications and see who is viewing your profile. You can try it for free for a month and there are different types of premiums such as career, business, sales, and hiring.
You should also play around with your profile settings to see who can send you invitations, change your email, add phone numbers, or change passwords. An important setting is whether you want your connections to be notified of any changes made to your profile.
If you are considering deactivating your account, you should download and archive your profile data, posts, and connections. You can pick what you want to download and save so if you want to make another LinkedIn profile in the future, your old data can be imported.
Having a LinkedIn profile will get you recognized, build your professional network, create your digital footprint and brand, help you find and apply to jobs, and more. It can open doors to opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise have had. Growing your network is extremely important in expanding your career opportunities and LinkedIn is a great place to do just that.
I have included below a before and after of my own LinkedIn profile. The first picture shows how my profile looked before I completed this course. The after shows the changes I made based on the suggestions given by Schinkten. The most obvious changes that stand out are the profile and background picture (I don’t know why I didn’t have them before). I also changed the headline to include what I am and what I hope to become. Then, I realized I did not have a summary so I added a small paragraph about myself. I also linked the certificates that I have earned on LinkedIn learning on my profile so it can attract recruiters and show up in their keyword searches. Overall, my profile looks drastically different and I am hoping the changes lead to better connections.
Schinkten, O. (2018, October 18). Learning LinkedIn for Students. Retrieved from LinkedIn Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/learning-linkedin-for-students/welcome?u=2109516