Date posted: 25/05/2020

LinkedIn tips for students and new grads

Let us guide you through the benefits of LinkedIn for students and graduates, and how you can use its features to help kick-start your career.

Become a student affiliate

Discover the accounting and finance world by signing up as a Chartered Accountants ANZ Student Affiliate. It’s free and just takes a few minutes.

Sign Up NowAbout Become a student affiliate

Meet LinkedIn, the professional social network.

Unlike Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the other social channels you might be familiar with, LinkedIn provides you with an opportunity to showcase educational and work achievements with pride.

LinkedIn is the online network through which you can attract recruiters and potential employers, network with your peers and industry leaders, and discover work experience and job opportunities to help you get ahead in your career.

The resume that never sleeps

Your LinkedIn profile – operating as your online resume - is always available to the public, so hiring managers, peers and potential employers around the world can view it whenever they wish (depending on your profile visibility settings of course).

It also increases the visibility of your professional brand and can often be the first result when someone Googles your name.

So how do you go about creating a profile that's both inviting and contains the right kind information to attract the right kind of people?

Here are our 5 tips for how to build your digital resume and use LinkedIn to your advantage.

Tip #1: Pick the right profile photo

First, you should upload an appropriate profile photo. With a profile picture, you are 21 times more likely to be viewed by others on LinkedIn1. A photo makes you more tangible and 'real' to the prospective employer. It should be a friendly headshot to communicate to a potential employer that you understand how to present yourself professionally. If you can't find a good-quality headshot that says 'I'm organised and employable', consider having one taken by a photographer or a friend. A well-lit and properly framed smartphone photo of your smiling face could be the ticket!

Tip #2: Don't skimp on your about section

The "about" section of your LinkedIn profile is a chance for you to stand out and show off your skills and personality. It 'colours in' your job history and lets you demonstrate your career aspirations to your network.

Craft a narrative about your experience, qualifications and goals. Weave in your motivations, achievements and skills, while at the same time demonstrating what makes you unique. LinkedIn gives you up to 2,000 characters for this information.

Check out LinkedIn's own guide on addressing the right topics and hitting the right tone in your "about" summary here.

Tip #3: Stick to sharing relevant experience

Any relevant work experience, internship opportunities or volunteer work that you have participated in should be the first few things you list on your LinkedIn profile. If you have produced any work that is available online (and you have permission to share it), add it to your profile to demonstrate your knowledge and interests to your network. Hiring managers and peers appreciate tangible examples of what you have achieved.

Your extracurricular activities, such as volunteer work, internships or courses, should also be included because they can help to demonstrate that you're self-motivated and have on-the-job skills. Any awards or honours you've received at school or university should also be included to show employers that you have been recognised for your skills and hard work.

It is important to remember that recruiters and employers are looking at your profile to find out what you are doing outside of your studies, so don't be shy about what to include. Your LinkedIn profile provides you with the opportunity to share your achievements, interests and career goals with your network and to stand out in the sea of graduates looking for a job.

Tip #4: Start building your network

As competition for job opportunities can be fierce, it helps to have an inside track on what's available through your network. If you start diligently building your social network today, who knows what opportunities could become available to you down the road. Do you know someone at a firm who can vouch for your skills and work ethic? If you do, ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation, as it can carry a lot of weight with recruiters.

Join LinkedIn Groups that interest you and that could help you grow your network and learn new things. Is there a young professionals group in your area? Or perhaps there's one that focuses on an area of business you'd like to specialise in? Join them! Once you join, make sure your profile is well represented. Start participating in conversations and asking questions - other group members will likely be happy to share their insights with a curious student. When you send a connection request, make sure the request is personalised and references something pertaining to the person you're trying to connect with. For example, "I learnt a lot from your recent webinar, and I was hoping to connect so I could keep up to date with you".

Tip #5: Make the most of the interview preparation tool

54% of jobseekers say that the interview phase is challenging due to two reasons: uncertainty and lack of confidence.[2]  

If you are preparing for a job interview and feel unsure about where to start, LinkedIn’s interview preparation tool can help you feel more confident to put your best professional foot forward.  

Available to free and premium LinkedIn members, the interview preparation tool gives you access to quality videos featuring tips from experts, and an easy way to privately practice and self-evaluate your responses to common interview questions.  

LinkedIn can be a powerful early career development tool. Get out in front of your peers and start building the ultimate profile today!