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June 21, 2019

139: LinkedIn for Students: What Do I Put in My LinkedIn Profile if I am a College Student?

139: LinkedIn for Students: What Do I Put in My LinkedIn Profile if I am a College Student?

How do you advertise your profile amongst so many professionals while you are still only a college student? And what might professionals learn about their own LinkedIn profile optimization from my advice to college students? Listen on for the details!

Key Highlights

[01:10] What is LinkedIn?

[02:37] LinkedIn Vs Other Social Media Platform

[03:30] Why LinkedIn Profile Is Important

[04:50] Deciding On A Path That You Will Represent On LinkedIn

[05:40] What To Put On Your LinkedIn Profile

[07:06] Navigating LinkedIn

[09:50] What Profile Photo To Use

[11:31] Professional Headline Summary

[13:16] Doing Searches For Other Professionals/Students In LinkedIn

[13:30] LinkedIn Groups

[14:20] About Section

[16:19] Summary Section

[19:36] Work Experience Section

[21:04] Adding Volunteer Experience, Certifications, and Lincenses

[22:08] Recommendation Requests

[23:50] What To Put In Industry

[24:22] Why You Need To Include Your Location

[25:16] Summary

Notable Quotes

  • LinkedIn is where decision makers are right? People that are executives in businesses that are leaders in their field, professionals in general, I think that LinkedIn says that three quarters of all working professionals are on LinkedIn, and older people, haha, compared to Gen Z, older people treat LinkedIn differently as well.
  • LinkedIn gives you the ability to enter an incredible amount of information about yourself. And it is really, really important that even as a college student who may not have a lot of professional information, you need to completely fill it out the best you can.
  • The important thing here is that if you're in college, you need to decide on a path that is going to best represent you on LinkedIn.
  • I highly recommend you use something because that is going to be when people come to your profile, the number one thing that they see below that now we have your own image, your own photo, this should be as professional as possible.
  • You definitely want to make a great first impression on LinkedIn like everywhere else. And that first impression is going to come out through that photo of you in addition to that cover photo.
  • If you're ever wondering about, you know, what is the best way to do this, there's no one wrong or right answer. It's all sort of a gray zone that really comes down to you and your personal branding and the unique people that you're trying to attract.
  • Part of branding, is talking about your strengths and your experiences. The other part is how you are differentiated than other people.
  • So once again, those things that especially tie into what you want to do, even if it was a few weeks sort of internship, I highly recommend you put it in here, it's going to gain you more visibility in LinkedIn, it's also going to give you more credibility, and paint a fuller picture of who you are. 
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

What's up, y'all? Let's go. Welcome to the maximize your social podcast follow me discover the latest social media marketing techniques from the world's leading experts from top to bottom. This is the podcast where business professionals come together to master social media without all the confusing mumbo jumbo. With no further ado, turn it down. Here's your host the one and only Neal Schaffer. This is Neal Schaffer. And welcome to another edition of maximize your social. Today we're going to shift gears a little bit. And I want to talk specifically about Linked In. And more specifically, because I have friends, relatives who are college students, and they're either still in college or about to graduate, I want to take a look at Linked In, through the perspective of a student actually, this could even be a high school student. But even if you're a professional, even if you're a social seller, even if you're a marketer, I do believe the advice in this podcast will be relevant for you as well. So make sure you listen to the end, even though it's really going to be looking at LinkedIn to the eyes of those that are absolutely brand new. So you're in college, your student, you're a professional, you've heard all about LinkedIn, you've heard that LinkedIn is the place where you sort of make connections. And it's the place to sort of reach out and contact people. So yes, it is. And in fact, there are those that don't even use LinkedIn that do very well in life in their career. But obviously, LinkedIn is where decision makers are right? People that are executives in businesses that are leaders in their field, professionals in general, I think that LinkedIn says that three quarters of all working professionals are on LinkedIn, and older people, haha, compared to Gen Z, older people treat LinkedIn differently as well. So you know, you can try to reach out to someone on Facebook, but chances are, if they're professional, they may not accept your friend request. However, when we look at LinkedIn, a lot of people will remove their personal relationships from LinkedIn and say, You know what, even if I don't know you, if you're another professional, and there seems a good reason to connect, I'll connect with you. So this is why professionally speaking, right? If you want to reach out to other college students, what have you, Instagram, maybe your best bet right now, right? Or even, you know, Tik Tok, or Snapchat, whatever using. But if you want to reach out to people in the 30s 40s 50s professionals, and get to know them on a professional basis, that's where LinkedIn is going to make the most sense. Hopefully, this all makes sense right now, compared to other social networks, what is different about LinkedIn, compared to your Instagram or your Tik Tok or Snapchat is that LinkedIn represents the most complete professional profile of who you are more than any other social network. So LinkedIn gives you the ability to enter an incredible amount of information about yourself. And it is really, really important that even as a college student who may not have a lot of professional information, you need to completely fill it out the best you can. And I'm going to give you some targeted advice as to how you go about doing that throughout this podcast. But it really begins with the mindset of why we're using LinkedIn, how we can use LinkedIn, professionally, even if we're in college or high school differently than other social networks, but also the the centerpiece that becomes your LinkedIn profile. And here's the thing, no matter what you do on LinkedIn, right, no matter who you reach out to, everybody's first gonna look at your profile, they're gonna look you over, right, they're gonna see what is this person about. And that's why that profile becomes important. Like any other social network, if someone was a friend on Instagram, and you went to their profile, and they had no description, and you had no and they had no posts, and they were following 2000 people and only had 100 followers, and they were private profile, you probably wouldn't follow them back, right? That same concept of sort of credibility and social proof applies to LinkedIn as well. So with that in mind, let's dive a little bit deeper. Now, as I would tell professionals, your LinkedIn profile really represents your inbound marketing. It's not a resume, okay? It is a representation of who you are, and where you want to go. This is going to be really important for you, as a college student, or high school student, where do you want to go to your career, you need to be able to determine this. Because if you cannot determine this, then your profile is not going to have the right branding. When you reach out to people. They won't know why they should respond to you or connect with you. So this is why if you're in college, hey, there's people in their 30s or 40s or 50s, who still don't want to know, what do you want to do when they grow up? So it's okay. But the important thing here is that if you're in college, you need to decide on a path that is going to best represent you on LinkedIn. You can change that path as often as you want, right. But if you are looking for a summer internship in a certain industry, in a certain part of the country, you're gonna want to talk about that. And you're going to want to showcase your experience and what you're studying. That proves that this is what you want to do. You know, case in point, when I was in college, we did not have LinkedIn. In fact, we barely had email, aging myself here. But if I was in college, and we had LinkedIn, I was originally an art history major. So I would be looking for internships in art history. In fact, I did do an internship at the Whitney Museum of Art, New York City, as well as Museum of Contemporary Art here in Los Angeles, but I would put on my profile would be all about art history, right? All my experiences, the classes I'm studying in art history, it would be in my profile, you know, learning about what it takes to become a curator in a museum, you know, looking for internships at museums, across the United States this summer, whatever it is, these are the things right, that will make it really, really effective when you reach out to people that might be able to help you or that might actually work at museums. So hopefully, this is all making sense. Because that branding that you want to have, based on your next immediate goal, if you're already looking for a job, you probably have an idea what industry, what role, what location, it's going to be even better. But even if you don't think about what you want to do, over winter break over summer break, is there an internship you want to do, maybe during the school year, you want to do an internship, you want to find a part time job that can lead to a full time opportunity in the future, whatever it is, that's going to be your branding. So this is going to be part of a blog post. And it's funny because I wrote this blog post some time ago. And my Well, one of my niece's mentioned that it was actually like she found this blog post and in the Google search results, so it's still doing really well. But this is something that I wrote a decade ago that I'm actually going to republish with refreshed or revised information, because it is still relevant, right. So let's now look at your profile. And let's go from top to bottom of the things you should be doing. Okay, starting with the very top of your profile. If you don't know how to access your profile, go to the homepage on LinkedIn, hopefully, you've already signed up for the platform. Needless to say, go to the homepage. And on the left, you'll see a picture of yourself have your profile avatar or picture in a circle, you'll want to click on that because that will take you back to your profile. And whatever you do on your profile, you're going to be able to edit it on this page, you should see a pencil icon appear underneath your headline image. There's another pencil mark that appears under the About section. And there are further pencil marks that appear underneath your experience your education, what have you, as you scroll down as well, you should notice on the right, there's an My apologies, I'm doing this from the desktop version, mobile app is going to be slightly different. But all the tools that allow you to edit the same areas are all there, you just may have to go into the settings to find them. But there is actually an add profile section that you can tap into. And I'm going to talk about that near the end of this podcast just so that you have all the ideas for what you can do. Now that being said, the last time I did a social selling training, which is using LinkedIn for sales, there were some functionality that was not on the mobile app yet was on the desktop. So I highly recommend that when editing your LinkedIn profile, you use a desktop. The other reason I recommend you do this is that a lot of decision makers and executives and older generations are using LinkedIn still from the desktop, not from a mobile phone. Younger generations tend to use LinkedIn more from the app, as you would imagine. So that's another reason to be able to see your profile, the way that they would see your profile. So let's keep going here, at the very top there, you're going to see an image, what LinkedIn will do is automatically populate your account with sort of, you know, an image that's just like, you know, wall art or, or it's just a generic graphic image, you're gonna want to change that image to something that is important to you. So one of my clients works in, I'm trying to remember what it was a high tech industry, it wasn't artificial intelligence. But it was sort of related to that. But it was all about leveraging, you know, next generation advanced technology for for businesses. So I worked with him to create an image that showed what he was doing was at the cutting edge of technology. And if you can't visualize this, just go into Google and do an image search for cutting edge technology. And you'll find lots of ideas. Now, you can't use those images for your own background image, or I believe that would be the name to call it a background image or a cover photo. If you have a photo of yourself that shows you doing what you want to do. Right. So if you are into politics, and you're like interviewing a leading politician, that might be a great photo to put up there. If you want to work in a nonprofit and you're already active, working on the front lines for the nonprofit, that might be a great image. If you want to go into marketing or you want to go into finance or whatever it might be, if you don't have the image, there are a few free photo sites that you can actually use images for, for absolutely free. My favorite sites are Pixabay px ABA y, and I'm gonna put the links in the blog post as well. So I highly recommend that you check that out. They are called Pixabay or Unsplash un s PLA S, un SPL, a sh comm or Paxos PE x ells.com, in any one of these sites is going to give you really really high quality background images that you can use at the top of your LinkedIn profile for your cover photo, I highly recommend you use something because that is going to be when people come to your profile, the number one thing that they see below that now we have your own image, your own photo, this should be as professional as possible. I know you're still a student, you don't have to necessarily wear a suit, but have something taken semi professionally by a friend if you have a little money and you can go to a target studio or you know, get a taken have a nice looking background. But, you know, look at other people's photos on LinkedIn to get a good idea. But you definitely want to make a great first impression on LinkedIn like everywhere else. And that first impression is going to come out through that photo of you in addition to that cover photo. So going to need that we have our name. And then we have what's called a professional headline summary. This professional headline summary, I think only gives you about 160 characters. So you need to be very, very short. But this is your number one opportunity to brand yourself, right? You want to include keywords that are affiliated with what you want to do. Next Generation Wall Street banker looking for a challenging internship, that's a great, you know, headline that immediately talks about what you want to do, but also give someone the understanding of where you're coming from where you're going. Current senior at Stanford University, you know, developing new AI technology, looking for great company to work for that becomes very, very clear as to what is your objective for being on LinkedIn, but also who you are, what is your specialty. So you can put your university name in there, the more prestigious the university, the better. But even if it's not a top 20 Ivy League school, if you want to work locally, where the university is located, regardless of how prestigious it is or not, there will be local alumni that will represent that school. And that's why it makes sense most of the time to put the school name in there. It could be your major, it could be the field you want to study, and anything more specific as to your strength, or what you what type of internship or where you want to go with your career, after you go to college. This is an art right branding truly is an art. It's not something that you're going to learn from one podcast. So if you're ever wondering about, you know, what is the best way to do this, there's no one wrong or right answer. It's all sort of a gray zone that really comes down to you and your personal branding and the unique people that you're trying to attract. But I always recommend professionals or students to go in and look do searches for other students at other universities, right, and look at what they use for their professional headline. One way you can do this is to join groups. So LinkedIn has communities, you know, you have Facebook groups will maybe you don't know. But Facebook has something called groups, for those who there are not in Facebook. But actually if you go to work, which has a tab at the very top. And once again, we're on the the desktop version, there is something called groups and in groups, your university or college or wherever you're going to school probably already has a LinkedIn group that you can join and be given the network not just with other students, but with alumni, as well. And you can begin to see some of the keywords and some of the ways in which they brand their headlines as well. The other important thing to know here is if someone searches for you, so someone is looking to find a current university student that is majoring in something or that has some keyword, they're going to do a LinkedIn, people search. And when they get the search results, the things that are going to show are that professional photo of you your name, and then that professional headline. So these are going to be critical, right? These are going to be critical to see if people click through and actually go to your profile, or they go to perhaps one of your competitors profiles. So this is a great deal of the branding, because a lot of people may not even go below that. So make the first impression count. Now, below that. There's still a lot of different things you can do. But the first one is the about okay, the about section is basically you could write a few different paragraphs I recommend you keep it short, succinct, use bullet points or dashes or hyphens or whatever you want to use to sort of point out important things. But this is going to be if someone is interested in you, they're going to look at your headline, right? Then they're going to go down the new belt section to learn more about you. And this is where you want to go into more depth about who you are, where your strengths are, what you're looking to do, and why people should hire you or bring you on as an intern, or just network with you. Right, this once again, is a branded section, like I said, a few paragraphs, a few 100 words in length. There's no one right or wrong answer here. But if you are, you know, if you're at all curious as to what others are doing, like I said, try to search for other college students, either in a LinkedIn group for your university, or elsewhere. You know, I have an example for, for instance, in the blog post, and I'm going to keep this example, a sample LinkedIn for student LinkedIn, LinkedIn profile, so professional headline, Amherst College 2000, where I went to school 2019 graduate, looking for sales and marketing, entry level position in Japan, international sales or marketing division of technology manufacturer, that's very, very distinct, a very, very concise, and therefore people that are looking at it know exactly what I'm looking to do. Now, in the summary section. What did I do? So the summary section, this would be a sample paragraph, once again, I'm going to include this so that you can read it, Neal Schaffer, and in fact, now I'm going to correct this because third person style is not what you want to do. You always want to talk in LinkedIn in the first person, it's more authentic, and it actually people engage with it better because they can actually it almost sounds like you're talking to them. I am currently a senior at Amherst College, where I'm majoring in Asian studies and plan to graduate in May of 2019. I currently hold a 3.6 GPA, I have excelled in the studies of Asian cultures and languages. And I'm already acquiring proficiency in Mandarin Chinese, and currently studying Japanese. So this goes into sort of the core of what I'm studying. Right? Then I talk about I've been involved on campus and a number of activities that showcase my initiative, my passion, including being a DJ at the college radio station at 9.3 wa MH, a contributing writer to the college newspaper amor student, and organizing a photo exhibit on the Beijing tanaman demonstrations that I absolutely that actually witnessed. While I was studying abroad in Beijing, my junior year in China, I am a believer in learning by doing, I plan to spend my summer after graduation, which I did at the International Christian University in an intensive Japanese class in Tokyo. In addition to Asian Studies, I also minored in Art History, where I undertook two different internships that I referred to before. I am excellent in communicating with and understanding the understanding of different cultures, I take initiative and pursuing activities and internships, I possess an energetic and passionate personality that recognizes no boundaries. And I have a interest in business because I also recently took a class on accounting and finance, currently looking for entry level sales and marketing position. And I just sort of repeated my professional headline. So what you're doing here, you'll see that this summary that I wrote is divided into a few sections. The first section is, this is what I'm doing. This is my immediate, you know what I'm studying, I sort of throw my GPA there, that's not necessary at all. But this is what I'm studying. And therefore, this is why I'm pursuing this sort of job. I also talk about those activities I did on campus which showcase personality traits, right? Part of branding, is talking about your strengths, right and your experiences. The other part is how you are differentiated than other people. So I'm sort of throwing out these different things that differentiate me. And just, you know, studying art history and working as an as an intern in two museums was another way of differentiating myself with other people, in addition to the radio station, the college newspaper, everything that shows I was active in the community, I took initiative, and I have a lot of passions that can contribute to any company that I work out in the future. So that is the professional summary. You're probably already exhausted by this point. But a few other tips that I want to give you. We've covered the main areas, but there's still a lot of other areas, you're going to have your education experience, that's going to be the easiest thing for you to do. Because you're going to cover where you're going to school, what you're majoring in, are you part of any societies, you know, really anything else that you might be able to talk about there. You want to make sure that you obviously talk about and you know, use the real estate that LinkedIn provides you. If we keep on going down actually, for most people and most professionals, it's above education. This is where you talk about work experience. If you have experience as an intern, if you have part time work experience that showcases any string that you may have, I highly recommend that you include it as work experience, even though you have not graduated yet from college. My daughter is currently tutoring And in fact, as I speak, she's tutoring. And my daughter is currently about to be in ninth grade. She's tutoring elementary school students that are first language Japanese speakers in how to in English in English as a second language, that is going to be something where she'll be able to put on and she wants to become a teacher in the future, we'll see if that changes or not. But that's something that she should put on LinkedIn profile, that she is already doing that she's taking the initiative, and she's already building up experience working with, you know, English as a second language speakers, some are relatively fluent, and some are not so fluent. So she's gaining absolutely incredible experience. In doing this, that would be something great to add to her work experience here on LinkedIn. So once again, those things that especially tie into what you want to do, even if it was a few weeks sort of internship, I highly recommend you put it in here, it's going to gain you more visibility in LinkedIn, it's also going to give you more credibility, and paint a fuller picture of who you are. So these are the main sections of LinkedIn, you know, there are other things that you can do. So if you do volunteer activities, there's a separate section that LinkedIn has for volunteer experiences that you should put in if you have any certifications, or licenses, you should put these in. LinkedIn has an area for skills, so any skills related to what you're studying in, in university or skills that you've already attained, that you think are going to help you at your next job, you definitely want to put those in. There are places for accomplishments, for coursework, that you've taken, projects, honors and awards, test scores, if you speak foreign languages, these are not essential. But you know, what I tell people the LinkedIn profile, just spend a day, okay, just X out a day and go through all the different sections, anything that applies to it at it, it's only going to help paint a fuller picture of who you are. And I think that all these extra data points, right, the volunteer things you did their certifications, if you have any, they will all add extra data points. Oh, wow. You know, I also volunteered at a cysteines When I was in high school, it's another data point that builds connection with people. And that's why I recommend you include all this. There's also the ability to request a recommendation, you'll need to connect with someone to do that. But I highly recommend if you've done an internship, if you work somewhere that you get a recommendation, maybe you get one from your college counselor, or from professors. But I recommend that you try to get three recommendations from people that you've worked with, obviously, and ideally, hiring managers would be the best. But people that know you well that have credibility, it'll just help improve your own credibility as you begin to apply for internships and for jobs. So there's a few other things I wanted to point out before I end this podcast. Well, two things I want to point out. So when I look at what people search for on LinkedIn, for college students, as part of my own SEO research, I realized that the professional summary is one thing, but the choice of industry is another one that often perplexes college students. So I want to talk a little bit about that, then there's one other thing I'm going to talk about. So everybody has an industry and it currently, I don't think it shows actually on the LinkedIn profile. But it's something that when people are doing searches, it absolutely is relevant when you do a search as to what industry you are in. So if you go to the pencil mark, and once again, we're on the desktop version. And for some reason, my, my LinkedIn as I'm looking at my LinkedIn profile, while I'm recording this podcast, obviously, and it's not being very friendly. There you go. So there's an edit intro, which is the pencil mark, that's right below that cover photo, on the right hand corner that I talked about, if you click this, and you probably filled out this information, when you created your LinkedIn profile might have forgotten about it. But the two things I want to talk about here, the first one is industry, this is the industry that you want to work in. Okay, so you're I do not recommend you put like education as your industry. If you want to work in banking, it's banking, if you want to work in as a teacher, an elementary school teacher, its primary secondary education. If you want to work in politics, it's political organization. And once you go to the, you know, scroll through all of these different industries, you should find one that is more relevant to you and what you want to do. And that is what I highly recommend you pick. The other one is location. So the knee jerk reaction is, well, I'm going to school in Baltimore, Maryland, I'm just going to put Baltimore you know, my current address as my zip code. If you want to work in Baltimore, that's great. But if you don't want to work in Baltimore, and you want to work in Washington, DC, I recommend you literally pick the zip code that the White House is in and use that if you want to work in midtown Manhattan or in Chelsea, that is the zip code you want to use. When people are looking for someone to hire or bring on as an intern. They're going to be doing searches in location. And if you have your current location, which is irrelevant to where you actually want to do what you want to do, you will not be found In fact, they may not even contact you, you know, we're looking for someone in New York, but this person came up as Baltimore, we're just going to look for local people that can come in and, and maybe they have local housing, and we may not have to, you know, help them with their apartment for a few weeks, that sort of thing. So those are, you know, the the main strategic areas above and beyond that mindset. It's that cover photo, your own professional photo, that branded headline, that professional summary, the work experience that I talked about, you should do your own education, experience, all those other additional things that you can flesh out if you have that information, the recommendations, the industry and the location that makes 10 things. Those are the 10 things you should focus on everything else, forget about now, this is only step one in your journey, because this is only the profile, how do you reach out and engage with other people? Well, I'm going to put some links, make sure you go to this blog post for the podcast on Neal Schaffer calm and make sure you look for the title should be what do I put in my LinkedIn profile. If I'm a college student, I'm going to put some links to some articles and a free ebook I have. That's going to give you some great advice on where to go from there. Well, even if you're not a student, I hope you enjoyed this podcast my the first two books I wrote, were on LinkedIn. So I am very proficient in the subject that I enjoy speaking on. I don't always get the opportunity to, but obviously, you have any questions related to this. Even if you're a college student, definitely hit me up, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. just mentioned that you listen to my podcast and you want to connect me from there. The my LinkedIn profile is also on Neal schaffer.com. That's ne al s ch FF, er, calm. And also obviously from the podcast, you should be able to access my website as well. So that's it for today. Hope you enjoy the podcast. It feels really good and refreshing to be recording again, I know that there was a hiatus I took but I'm in absolute content creation mode, and I'm really looking forward to sharing a lot of great content with you over the upcoming few weeks. So as I like to say wherever you are in the world, make it a great social day. Good luck and bye bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to the maximize your social podcast Major key alert. Don't forget to subscribe and rate the show on iTunes so others can enjoy it to continue the conversation and empower your business through social media. Visit Neal schaffer.com right now. Have a great week. Let's go we'll see you on the next episode.