College Students: Easy Steps to Building Your Basic LinkedIn Profile

By Lea McLeod

1. Get your custom URL. Put this URL on your resume and online profiles, it's part of your professional identity.
  • Go to Settings (a drop down item at the arrow to the left of your name, in the upper right hand corner) and click "Edit your public profile."
  • In the "Your public profile URL" box on the right, click the "Customize your public profile URL" link.
  • Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  • Click "Set Custom URL."
2. Upload professional looking head shot. This photo should be close in and of just you. Do not use a group or whole body shot.

3. Input educational history. This is an easy one because you already have it.

4. Input your job history. Include entrepreneurial business, sports, volunteer work, community work, etc. You already have that as well.

5. Write your summary paragraph. What is it that you offer a potential employer? What's your desired career direction? Take a cut and then ask others to review. Keep tweaking it as you go.

6. Be sure to Include any bilingual capabilities in your summary section.

7. Include your contact info right on your profile, this makes it easy for recruiters to reach you without going through the LinkedIn email system. Put a phone number as well. Use a Google Voice number and forward to your phone, if you don't have to disclose your phone number publicly.

8. Determine your keywords in "Skills and Expertise." Use this based on your strengths, and also ask others what they see as your strongest assets. Look at jobs that are interesting and include these keywords if they apply to you.

9. Connect to people you already know! This includes parent, parents of friends, neighbors, university staff and faculty, etc. You'll be surprised how many people you already know.

This will give you a great basic profile. For additional enhancements:
10. Ask for recommendations. When you request a recommendation, tell people what you'd like them to say or what attributes you'd like them to highlight. Recommendations from managers or supervisors are the most highly valued.

11. "Follow" companies that you have targeted in your job search.

12. Install the LinkedIn JobsInsider toolbar. See the apps section to download this. This will highlight your LinkedIn contacts when you click on jobs posted at Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, Craigslist, SimplyHired, Dice, and Vault.

13. Upload any work product you are proud of or link to any websites/portfolio work you have.
14. Join groups such as professional associations in your field of study, alumni, special interest, young professional. Look at the comments, "like" comments, and post your own comments.

15. Comment on and "like" updates you see from your connections.

16. Be a consistent visitor, commenter, content deliverer.

Generally speaking your updates will be broadcast to your contacts. If you want to suppress this function while you are getting your profile set up and may be making lots of changes go to:
  • Settings (a drop down item at the arrow to the left of your name, in the upper right hand corner).
  • Under "Privacy Controls" select "Turn on/off your activity broadcasts."
  • Uncheck the box, and save.
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