For College Students: A Guide to Create Your LinkedIn Account

Social media is more powerful these days. The use of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn is growing and more people are finding those online spaces more comfortable when it comes to staying connected and finding a niche. Of course LinkedIn is no exception and gives tons of opportunities specially for students who are coming out of college ready to get a job.

But, before I attempt to layout the reasons why you as a student should have a LinkedIn account, why don't I have you watch this quick video and let it do that job for me.  

Convinced? (say yes) You now need to know what works in order to get the best out of your profile.

Having an online presence is key to creating a network of people interested in the same field as you. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn, you can stay in touch with professionals who can turn into an open door when it comes to hunting down for that job you've dreamed about. There are, however, some key pointers to keep in mind in order for your experience to be successful. Although you will find countless resources on the web, here are key three tips I have found myself useful when creating and optimizing my LinkedIn account.

1. Constant monitoring.

This is key. I, myself, am guilty of creating an account and thinking that it will do magic by itself without any effort from me. Wrong. If you create a LinkedIn account, you have to be sure that you are constantly updating it, whether it is rewording your headline, or adding a few more contacts on a weekly basis, or even interacting in conversations with other people. It is important to always make it work. Make a plan and challenge yourself to find an organization, company, or university to follow each week. Engage in posts. Ask your classmates or professors if they have an account and invite them to join the network.

2. A good profile picture.

Ok, you should have thought about this already. Once you headed to you should have that killer profile picture in mind. Don't have one, then upload one you consider is appropriate for now and start planning to get a really good one. It will make a difference. Some articles will claim that by adding a profile picture, you'll be 7 times more likely to have your profile viewed, others will say 11 times more likely; either case, it will always increase your chances of being there on the results page when a recruiter is looking for a good candidate.

3. Trending keywords.

Whether you are on one side looking for a job or on the other looking to hire someone, you must get your hands dirty with the art of keyword searching. Really, it's not as easy as it sounds. Using specific words in your headline can boost your chances when someone is looking for a JAVA expert, for instance. I have a background in psychology and I know for fact that putting "psychology" will just throw me into an ocean of possibilities; but including "educational psychology" and "professional development" can certainly work to my advantage. Visiting the pages of people in your field will give you a clear idea of the keywords to have in mind and adding them into your profile will give you results. 

Two final thoughts. First, as in any other social media platform, you must watch out for your privacy options. Be sure that you're not revealing any information that you don't want to. And lastly, be sure to create your own LinkedIn url so that you can easily share it with others and invite them to connect, be wise when selecting it as you can share it in your business card, a personal blog, ePortfolio, or even a resume header.

Ready to start? Check out this guide to get started.

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I am an ePortfolio instructor working in New York City. I am also a student in the MA program in educational psychology at Hunter College. In my current position, I instruct students how to develop and build their ePortfolio to showcase their academic skills. I also collaborate in professional development seminars with faculty members from various departments on building the curriculum to teach the first year seminar experience. Read more about me.