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Getting Started on LinkedIn

In today’s world, social media is no longer just a platform for sharing fun photos and staying connected with friends. It’s also a strong tool for professional networking and personal branding. Among these social media platforms, LinkedIn stands out as a go-to platform for career-minded individuals, including high school students, college students, and beyond. Whether you are still exploring career options, searching for internships, or aiming to build your professional network, LinkedIn can be a valuable asset. Read on to see how you can get started on LinkedIn effectively!


Creating Your Profile


1. Choose a Profile Picture:


Your profile picture is the first thing people notice when they visit or scroll past your LinkedIn profile, so it’s crucial to make sure you have a good picture. Here’s what to consider: 


  • Professionalism: Choose a photo where you are dressed professionally. This doesn’t necessarily mean suit and tie (although it can) but opt for attire you would wear to a job interview or a professional event.

  • Visibility: Your face should be clearly visible, so avoid using group photos, images where you are far away, etc.

  • Background: Select a simple background that doesn’t distract from your face. A plain wall or neutral outdoor setting works well.

  • Quality: Use a high-resolution image to ensure clarity and sharpness. Sometimes, blurry or pixelated photos can give off an unprofessional vibe.


When in doubt, use your AO photo! It is made to be a good picture for our website, but also fits this criteria very well!



2. Crafting a Good Headline:


Your headline is like a mini elevator pitch that summarizes who you are and what you do (or are looking to do). Here’s how you can go about creating an effective headline:


  • Clarity: Clearly state your current role or your career objective(s). 

    • Ex: “Aspiring Graphic Designer”, “Computer Science Student at Boston College”, etc. 

  • Keywords: Include relevant keywords related to your skills, interests, and industry. This will make your profile more discoverable in LinkedIn searches and amongst recruiters. 


See the image below for a good example of a headline from AO Student, Marisol Rodriguez’s LinkedIn: 



3. Writing Your Summary:


Your summary gives you the chance to tell your story and showcase a bit of your personality, as well as your passions. Here are some tips for writing an interesting summary:


  • Introduction: Start with a short introduction about yourself, including a possible current role you hold, academic status, etc.

  • Career Goals: Share your career aspirations, and what motivates you professionally

  • Highlights: Highlight your main key and relevant skills, achievements, and experiences. You can use bullet points or short paragraphs for easy readability

  • Call to Action: Many people like to end with a call to action. This might be inviting people to connect with you, visit your portfolio website, or reach out for collaboration opportunities


The point of your summary is to give the reader a clear understanding of who you are, what you’re passionate about, what you bring to the table, and what you are hoping to achieve in the future.


See the image below for a good example of a summary from AO Student, Sergio Acosta’s LinkedIn:



4. Adding Your Education and Experience:


Education: 


When adding your education, consider including the following details:


  • School/University Name: Clearly state the name of your high school or university

  • Degree: Mention your degree program and/or major(s) and minors (if applicable) 

  • Graduation Date: Specify your expected graduation date, or the year that you graduated

  • Relevant Activities and Societies: Optionally, you might choose to include relevant societies related to your field of interest


Experience(s): 


When listing your experiences, consider including the following details: 


  • Job Title: Clearly state your position or role

  • Company/Organization: Mention the name of the company or organization where you worked, or alternatively, in the volunteer section, volunteered

  • Duration: Specify the duration of your experience (this is the start and end dates) 

  • Responsibilities/Achievements: Describe your responsibilities and accomplishments in each role. Use action verbs and quantifiable metrics whenever possible. It’s important to note these should stay as concise as possible, as you never want to have usually more than 4-5 bullet points per position. 

  • Skills: Added bonus if you can connect the skills section of your LinkedIn to your current or past positions. These skills can be endorsed by other students, peers, mentors, mentees, bosses, etc. 


See the image below for a good example of a strong experience and education section with skills connected to each role from AO Student, Elijah Paiz’s LinkedIn



5. Building Your Network:


Connecting with Peers:


Start your invitations out by connecting with classmates, friends, teachers, and alumni from your school or university. Here’s some tips to connect with people:


  • Personalize an Invitation: When sending connection requests, you can choose to personalize your message by mentioning how you know the person (typically you do this with alumni or teachers) or why you’d like to connect with them

  • Follow-Up: After connecting, consider sending a follow-up message to the person to send appreciation and continue or start a conversation with them


Engaging with Content: 


Engage with content on LinkedIn by liking, commenting, and sharing posts that are relevant to your career interests or goals. Here’s why engagement is important on the platform: 


  • Networking: Commenting on posts allows you to start conversations with other users and expand your network

  • Knowledge Sharing: Sharing insight, posts, and articles demonstrates your expertise, interests, and experience with material to your connections

  • Visibility: Engaging with other users’ content increases your visibility on the platform and it helps to establish yourself an an active member of the community, which leads LinkedIn to favor your profile in recommending it via its algorithm 


Many students are intimidated by the idea of sending LinkedIn connection requests, I’m here to say you should never be afraid to send a connection request! Connections are one of the most important parts of not only professional life but day-to-day life. Understandably, sending connection requests can be daunting at first, but remember everyone has felt this way. Knowing connections, the weight they hold, and their importance should overpower this fear!


6. Customizing Your URL and Settings:


Customizing your LinkedIn URL makes it easier to share your profile and appears more professional. Here’s how you can customize it:


  • Edit Public Profile Settings: Go to your profile settings and look for the option to edit your public profile settings

  • Customize URL: Choose a URL that includes your name or a variation of it that is not complex. Avoid using numbers of random characters if possible


Privacy Settings:


Review your privacy settings to control who can see your profile information and activity. Here are some key privacy settings to consider: 


  • Activity Broadcasts: Decide if you want LinkedIn to notify your network when you make profile changes, or if you engage with any content

  • Profile Visibility: Choose if you want your profile to be visible to everyone, only connections, or only people who are logged in


By following these steps, as an AO student, you can create a compelling LinkedIn profile that effectively showcases your skills, experiences, and aspirations. Remember, LinkedIn is not just a platform for job hunting—it's a valuable tool for building professional connections, exploring career opportunities, and establishing your personal brand in today’s digital age. If you are looking to further develop your LinkedIn or chat about your professional goals, don’t forget you can also schedule a meeting with Olivia!


As always, please feel free to reach out to me as a fellow AO student and resource with questions! Want to connect with me on LinkedIn and check some of these examples out on my personal page? Click here!


Wishing you luck on your profile building!

–Shelby Seybold, Boston College Junior, AO Class of 2025 



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