Are you on LinkedIn? I am happy to report that I am connecting with more and more students on LinkedIn. And when I speak with students, whether one-on-one or in a class, I am pleasantly surprised to hear that many have joined LinkedIn already or are at least familiar with it. Progress!
When LinkedIn first started gaining in popularity, it was challenging for students to work with the tool. If you didn’t have a lot of work experience – or any work experience for that matter – you were pretty much out of luck for completing a profile. Over the past couple of years, however, LinkedIn has become much more student friendly. New sections are making it easier to showcase your college experiences.
As a student looking for an internship, you can make your LinkedIn profile more productive by adding some of these new sections:
- Organizations – If you are involved, this is a must-add. When you add an organization, you can include a line for positions you hold or have held. You can also give a description, which can be especially helpful if the organization is unique to UW-Whitewater.
- Courses – Just as you might list relevant coursework on your resume, you can now add courses to your LinkedIn profile. List the actual course name (ex: PR Tactics), and instead of including the course number, enter the university where you took the course. While this might be unnecessary if all the courses were at one institution, it is useful for those of you who have transferred or who have taken relevant courses at another institution (ex. a computer course at a technical college for skill-building purposes).
- Projects – Ever had to complete an epic project for a class? Whether a group project or solo venture, there could be some good experience in there – experience with an end product, no less. Be thoughtful with your project title and add a clear, concise description. If the project can be found online, you can add the URL – great for multimedia students.
- Volunteer Experiences & Causes – Many employers highly value volunteer work. If you are a student seeking a future career in human services (i.e. psychology, social work), volunteer experience can be career-related experience – i.e. your internship. Now, you can highlight your volunteer work in it’s own section. Just like a job-job, you include the organization you work/worked with, your role, dates, and a description of your work.
- Skills – Along with Volunteer Experiences, this section has been a huge boost for student profiles. From a career exploration standpoint, you can discover the primary industry for a particular skill. For networking, you will see related LinkedIn Groups. You can also see related skills. If you are lacking in these related areas, keep an eye out for internships that will provide the opportunity to to build those skills.
Make your experience with LinkedIn even more valuable for your internship search by jazzing up your profile with these new sections. You will see the “Add sections” option right under your profile’s summary box. Of course, there is a lot more to LinkedIn, so I’m planning a few more LinkedIn posts for the semester to help both you and me make better use of this professional social network.
And if you aren’t on LinkedIn, check out the getting started resources on our Career Resources website.
What questions do YOU have about LinkedIn?
Photo by Sheila Scarborough