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New to networking? Use LinkedIn to maximize the student experience

You might be thinking that LinkedIn is just a networking site for business professionals and top-level executives, right? Not quite! With LinkedIn, students can customize their profile to develop a live resume, explore potential internships, and connect with professionals. Perhaps you’re interested in creating your own LinkedIn or maybe you’re looking to polish your profile. Regardless of your networking expertise, consider some of these strategies to maximize the quality of your LinkedIn profile.


Photo: Glion Institute of Higher Education from Switzerland CC BY 2.0

Include a profile picture

First impressions count, so be sure to include a profile picture. LinkedIn’s guide for students indicates that a head shot will make your profile seven times more likely to be viewed. Aim for an image that’s simple, professional, and just of you.

Start off with a strong summary

Before moving on to your education, internship, and volunteer experience, take time to create a summary about yourself.  The summary is often the first part of your profile that recruiters and connections will read. This is your opportunity to share your goals and interests, as well as relevant skills and work experiences that apply in your field.

Build upon your background experience

Bolster your background experience by updating your education, internships, work history (even if it’s part-time), and volunteer experiences at least once per semester.

As for education, include your university as well as institutions you may have studied at over the summer or during a study-abroad semester. Not only will this increase your alumni connections, but it will also add diversity to your academic journey. Don’t forget to include your major, high GPA, awards, and scholarships. You can also add the IB to your LinkedIn profile and connect with IB alumni around the world.

For internships and work history, use LinkedIn to showcase accomplishments. While it’s important to provide an outline of your role, also use this space as a platform to include achievements within these positions. If you helped to present research findings or increased the amount of social media engagement at your internship, let your network know!

Don’t forget to include volunteer experiences. Employers and recruiters like to see that you’re engaged and giving back to the community. Involvement in outside activities is not overlooked and provides insight into your passions.

Strategize with “Skills & Expertise”

Start off with 5-10 keywords in the “Skills & Expertise” section. Your connections will have the opportunity to endorse you for these key words, and prospective employers may search to see whether your skills are relevant to the types of positions within their company.

Request recommendations

Consider asking employers, professors, and colleagues to write positive recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. Having this authentic, personal addition will add legitimacy to your skills. Recommendations also provide context of your work ethic, professionalism, and ability so that you can impress future employers!

Get started today with building your LinkedIn profile. Add your IB experience with one click and connect with your IB class. 

Contributing author Kari Lorentson is writing about the experience of IB graduates at universities around the world. Lorentson studies at American University and previously attended Fishers High School. Contact her at [email protected].