The College Student's Guide to LinkedIn [As Seen On: WeAreIU]

You get to college, and you decide its time to up your LinkedIn game. Everyone is telling you that networking is HUGE in college (ps they're right), and you know that a LinkedIn account is a must! But when it comes time to create an account, it may be a daunting task. Don't worry, everyone has been in your shoes at one point. While most people are trying to throw together the prefect resume, take this time to also build up your LinkedIn profile and take your plain and simple paper resume to the next level.

Social professional networks (aka LinkedIn) are an important source for getting hired. While turning in your resume and applying for a position is a great way to get a job, there's a better way. Could you imagine getting hired "passively?" Well that's what LinkedIn can do for you. If you're active in all the right ways on LinkedIn then potential employers may be able to find you and your profile and consider you for a position without you even having to apply.

So now I've got your attention. And you're starting to wonder, "Danyell, how do I actually build a great LinkedIn profile?"

Post a profile picture and cover photo.

Your profile picture is going to be the first thing potential employers see. You want it to make a great impression! Science says that it only takes about 100 milliseconds for someone to form an impression of you just by looking at your face. So, you have really got to pay extra attention to the type of picture that you are sharing on LinkedIn. Keep it professional yet personal.


- Smile with your teeth.
- Accentuate your jawline.
- Dress for your desired role.
- Make eye contact with the camera.
- Have your head and shoulders in frame.


- Use a dark picture.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Use a full-body shot.
- Showcase inappropriate content.

Include details about courses and schoolwork.

While you're a college student, you might not have a lot of work experience. But take the time to showcase what you know by sharing details of each course you've completed, school work and projects you have done, and more. Including as much information as possible to tell the story of your journey to where you are now will sky rocket your LinkedIn profile above and beyond the rest.
By taking pictures of your poster boards or including your files of papers you've written, you are giving employers the chance to look at some of your hard work. For some people, their course work is the only work experience they have, and that's not a problem! Just make sure to really make your school work shine.

Connect and interact with groups and leaders.

Connecting with a certain industry or joining in with a group are all good starts to building a presence on LinkedIn. But simply being a part of those groups and organizations isn't enough. Make sure that you are making your name known by interacting with industry posts via comments and likes, and asking tons of questions on the group pages you are involved in.
Being passive in the groups you are involved in will not give you the opportunity to take your LinkedIn to the next level. Being a passive member is almost the same as if you weren't a member at all. By being active and engaging you are establishing your personality, voice, and appearance that others are going to see and react to.

Ask professors and classmates to recommend you.

Recommendations are a great way to show potential employers that others enjoy the work you do. It gives you credibility and makes your entire LinkedIn profile appear more trustworthy and honest. Having a recommendation from a professor who is well known in his/her field will just add fuel to your already burning, amazing fire. LinkedIn recommendations can make you stand out above the crowd.

This blog post was written by Danyell on WeAreIU, a blog written by Indiana University students in order to inform prospective and current students of tips, tricks, and everything to know about IU campus and more. Check out WeAreIU for a daily dose of knowledge that's quick and on the go.