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Students can use LinkedIn to begin career preparation


Thursday, May 22, 2014

LinkedIn may be considered a Web site for working professionals, but even students can reap the benefits of this social network. If you're preparing for college, it may be a good idea to create your own LinkedIn profile. While it might be years before you have enough education and experience to round out your account, getting started now could pay off.

Outfit the profile with the basics
The first thing you need to do is set up your profile. LinkedIn will ask for straightforward information, such as where you are going to school and what you're studying, but you will also be asked to fill in particulars regarding your skills, motivation and career objectives. This can be intimidating, especially if you've only recently begun your higher education, so take some time to clearly think about where you see yourself in the future.

You'll also want to add a headshot so your page looks complete. You might want to take an updated photo yourself if you don't have a suitable one. LinkedIn recommends using a plain background and wearing a nice shirt to cap off your professional appearance.

Make connections with professionals
As a student, you probably haven't spent much time working in formal job settings. However, that does not mean you don't already have a network of people who can help you. Start by looking up profiles of family members or close family friends. You might also connect with educators or school counselors with whom you've had a close relationship, as well as any past or current employers. Remember, you aren't asking these connections for anything in return. At this stage, you are just seeking ways to round out your profile and keep these professionals aware of your accomplishments.

Keep track of academic progress
It is important to continue updating your profile throughout your time in college. Successfully completing courses relevant to your field of interest, finishing impressive projects that could be referenced in future interviews and other academic achievements are all worth noting. In the course of a busy student life, it's easy to lose sight of some of these honors, so update your profile at regular intervals throughout the school year. This is also a great way to ensure your connections are receiving notifications about your educational and career pursuits.

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Students can use LinkedIn to begin career preparation
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