Millie's Guide to LinkedIn for International Students
“You know the feeling when you DM your favorite influencer and they “like” or respond to your message? This can happen on LinkedIn too.”
Do you know how to create a LinkedIn profile that stands out? If you are interested in setting yourself up for career success while still in high school, get started with our top tips on how to get the most out of this powerful professional networking tool early on.
Tip 1: Start early.
If you think LinkedIn is only for old people, think again! According to the latest LinkedIn statistics, 51% of US college graduates are on LinkedIn, as well as there are 46 million students globally. A great way to get started is to include a professional photo, school, skills (e.g. public speaking, programming languages), and volunteer work. Start early to familiarize yourself with the platform and start building your network, not last minute when you are graduating and need a job.
“there are 46 million students on LinkedIn globally”
Tip 2: Be a power user by following and engaging with your top 20 favorite influencers and companies.
Did you know that LinkedIn incentivizes its more active users by showing them a greater number of potential connections and networking opportunities? For instance, let’s say 2 people search “Spotify Data Scientist.” The active user will see more search results with the name and full information whereas the less active user will see a lot of anonymous results (headline showing as “LinkedIn member” as opposed to the person’s name)
In order to maximize the benefit of LinkedIn, you need to increase your daily activity. In addition to connecting with all your contacts (your parents, your school teachers, friends, relatives, you name it!), it’s also important to follow your favorite business influencers (e.g. Bill Gates, Barack Obama), and businesses (e.g. Spotify, Tesla) and engage with them via comments, likes, and shares. This will not only increase your industry knowledge but will also boost your LinkedIn user score.
Mark Cuban sharing news about companies from Shark Tank.
“Don’t waste space discussing things that are listed further down on your profile.”
Tip 3: Add a summary of who you are in the ‘About’ section.
There are 700 million users and 50 million companies from over 200 countries, and 20 million open jobs are listed. Needless to say, LinkedIn is an incredible place to network, but it also means that you need to make your profile stand out. Don’t waste space discussing things that are listed further down on your profile; be clear and succinct about who you are, what you are interested in, and what you want the world to know about you. The ‘About’ section is also a good place to state what you’re looking for, such as volunteering or internship opportunities in a specific field.
Oscar, one of Millie’s former interns’ about section
Tip 4: Provide a descriptive, clear explanation of what your school, awards, and organizations represent.
As an international student, your activities will likely be from overseas. As a result, it may not be as easy for a future employer, mentor, or connection to understand, so it's always extremely helpful to provide a short description of what the activity entails.
“The biggest stationary hackathon in Europe” helps the reader to understand the scale of the competition and therefore your skillset.
Tip 5: Reach out to 20 people, and ask a specific question that takes them less than 5 minutes to answer.
You know the feeling when you DM your favorite influencers on Instagram and they “like” or respond to your message? This can happen on LinkedIn too.
This is the hardest but also the most rewarding part because you need to be comfortable and confident reaching out. Now you are part of this amazing professional network, we recommend that you find 20 people that you would like to get to know (but don’t already know) and ask them to connect and have a zoom call! You will be surprised how many will actually say yes if you apply the following technique:
- Asking too broad a question, such as "How do I get into data science?", will often be ignored–not because they want to ignore it, but because they don't know where to start answering it!
- Craft a friendly, tailored message when asking to connect. If you want to build digital relationships with your role models, make your questions specific. Ask a question that you estimate will take less than 5 minutes for them to answer.
- If you get on that 30-minute call, great. Make sure to have 5-10 specific questions prepared.
“Have a question ready that takes 5 minutes to answer.”