Social Media is something that often comes up in the college search process-- typically in a fearful manner. A recent study from Kaplan Test Prep of about 400 college admissions officers reported that 40 percent said they had visited applicants’ social media pages, a fourfold increase since 2008. This often leaves parents questioning if your son’s Instagram is appropriate or, as a student, if you should take down a certain photo on her Facebook? As LinkedIn becomes a more and more prominent social media platform, it provides an opportunity to reframe you thinking about publishing things about yourself, or your kids, online.
LinkedIn is a platform that is focused on expanding your professional network. The New York Times recently pointed out that colleges have begun to look at LinkedIn profiles as they consider admissions applications. A student can use LinkedIn to stay in touch with teachers, friends, and their professional network from jobs and/or internships. Even more, students can use LinkedIn to connect with the people who inspire you or the people who go to your dream school. You can also connect with admissions reps at your dream school on LinkedIn.
But before you can do this, you need to perfect your profile. So here’s how:
A Unique Headline: Talk about your what. What gets you excited? Why are you passionate about sports or community service? Why do you get so excited about American History or robotics? This is a short statement about your what. A great example would be: Passionate about engineering in the field of renewable technologies. Another option could be: The most detail-oriented person you know
Your Education: Simple enough. Put your school. Once you go to college, there are amazing Alumni tools that will be great for the job search. But for now, people know where you are!
A Purposeful Headshot: Now, we aren’t saying you need a professional headshot in a suit, but no cropped photos from brunch with the family. A straight-on picture where you look and feel good is perfect for your profile picture.
A Creative Summary: Talk about what you like do after school. Where your passions lie and why. Tell a story. This doesn’t need to be super long, but it needs to say something about you as a person.
Add Experience, Organizations, and Projects: Now, when you look at accomplished professionals profiles you often see all their jobs and what they’ve done. It’s unlikely you have been the CEO of Google, or a columnist for the New York Times. That’s totally fine-- you have still done a lot. If you are a leader in a club, put that in the experience section. Or, if you’ve made something amazing in AP Art, put your portfolio in the projects section.
Go for it- create an amazing LinkedIn page and remember to update it on a regular basis.