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An introduction to the #1 professional networking platform.
Graduated from school, in the midst of your uni life, or already an alumnus, you might be hunting for internships, jobs, or want to grow your professional network. Although the scenario of applying for jobs might be familiar to all of us, it can be so daunting to actually do that!
No matter the stage of your life, you might also want to look for inspiration, somebody to look up to, or genuinely share your own experience. And let’s be honest, Instagram or VK is not for those purposes.
Luckily for you, there is a whole platform dedicated to growing your network, sharing your own experiences, and exploring what is out there. LinkedIn is a platform that I, personally, have not even heard of when I was just graduating NIS. But so grateful for setting it up early in my university times.
Wait, is it the Facebook for old guys? No, it is not, it is a living resume just like those moving Harry Potter newspaper pictures.
But way cooler. Since it brings you inspiration, valuable connections, and most importantly, jobs and internships.
Let’s set up your LinkedIn account together! If you already have it, use this article as a litmus test!
Do not treat LinkedIn as your Instagram, Facebook, or VK. Or even worse, Snapchat.
Remember, we are formal on this website. No dog filters, excessive retouch, or your own playlist that show your cool taste. People reading your LinkedIn profile should be left with an impression of a highly motivated young mind aspiring to learn, serve their own community, and eagerly share!
Profiles with photos have 14x more views!
You gotta look formal. Dress as you would like to dress for your job and take a photo in front of a background that would not shift focus from you. Your photo should take about ⅔ of the profile pic circle. And remember to smile with your eyes!
Add a cover photo but do not overdo yourself. Keep it simple, clean, and nice. The focus of the viewer should still be on your profile picture.
Why are we doing this?
This only makes the whole experience of getting to know you REAL. You do not want to be a dried-out ink on A4 paper or another grey and soulless account. You are a bright student, so show it to your people!
It is not VK Infinity public page, it is just a headline
The next thing that pops into the visitors' eyes is the headline. It is a very brief description that appears right next to your name in search results. And I mean it when I say it’s very short. It is only 120 characters long! Shorter than a tweet, actually.
Your headline should motivate people to learn more about your background and experience. So, please, do not state your university. There is a whole separate section for that. Instead, indicate who you want to be, where you volunteered or worked, and what was your impact. Have a look at the examples below.
Aspiring C# developer | Built Arduino design helping local agribusiness | Seeking entry-level developer internships
SAT ACT IELTS trainer | 790/800 Math 800/800 Verbal SAT | Experience with teaching 20 students
And in contrast, take a look at the profile headline that is bland and ordinary:
NIS alumnus and NU student
Nauryz meetings participant from NIS Taraz
There is a stark difference between those, isn’t it? And, yes, it is going to be about your professional experience and aspirations only. Do not treat these 120 characters as VK headlines.
Explore and fill out whatever there is
Stating your school name only is not enough. Briefly share your achievements. NIS is such a great place that might have given you an opportunity to study abroad, do research, take part in fairs and volunteer.
But be mindful and do not clutter your profile. Share it all concisely - use bullet points. Nobody has got time to read big messy chunks of text.
Yes, LinkedIn is the place to brag about your scores. But do it only if you nailed your IELTS, SAT, ACT, or GRE/GMAT. By nailed I mean, +8.0 IELTS and +90th percentile on other tests. I believe that it was not the easiest journey for you and you have tips on how to nail it. Share your favorite materials, website, or your study schedule!
Reserve your unique LinkedIn URL
You don’t want your profile link to look like a face smashed onto a keyboard. Reserve a nice looking URL. You can go with your full name.
Your LinkedIn URL can and actually should be indicated on your physical resume, so it has to look neat. It is just as important as your mobile phone number.
Put some more, don’t be shy
After completing your profile, write posts about your experience. Do not just tell, show your achievements. Include photos of your certificates, pictures from meetings, and activities. Even if you did not win any prizes or places, share your impression and tell people who you connected with on those events.
This serves several crucial purposes.
Firstly, it is your own journal that you can go back to anytime to pause and ponder about what you have already accomplished. Sometimes it might get so hectic around you, especially now when you are about to change your environment completely. And you might just lose track or get so overwhelmed with so many things happening all at once. Your past self can inspire you and remind you of your great potential!
Secondly, it is a perfect way to showcase yourself to your future employees and colleagues. You are signaling your high potential, dedication, and seriousness in your intents to get a real job. Perhaps, you do not want to be employed right away but believe me, your LinkedIn profile is a living resume that evolves with you. Investing in your LinkedIn profile pays out when you actually start looking for positions at big corporations or companies when recruiters and headhunters will start noticing you!
Grow your network
Do not be shy to bluntly send connection requests to everybody. Grow your network. While sending a connection request you can also add a very short note, endorsing their career. It might be just as short as a greeting, stating who you are, and why you want to follow this person:
“Hello Aidana, I am a NIS alumnus, learning Python! I am impressed by your career at Google and want to stay updated about your future accomplishments! Wish you all the best!”
Personally, I follow people that work in my dream companies or have studied in my dream universities. Getting to know about their career path helps me with planning my own professional life and inspires me to do my best.
Connect with alumni
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are your alumni or seniors ready to help you out, share their own experiences. You need your seniors just as much as they need you. You might even be their colleagues in the future. And LinkedIn is a great place to start networking with your alumni.
Send a similar note when you request to connect with them. A great example might be:
“Hello, Diana. I see that you are a NIS alumna, just like me, and currently major at NU in Electrical Engineering. I am so thrilled to join the NU community and would love to meet up for a coffee!”
They might already be doing internships at the places you want to intern. Imagine how many insights you can gain from connecting with them! You can ask about how they got into the university, or landed an internship, or started their research. Believe me, we all are eager to share it.
I do understand the struggles you are going through right now. It is indeed confusing at first to shift the cities, education, find new friends and interests, or change workplace industries. But LinkedIn can be the place to guide you and keep record of your achievements and accomplishments!
I would be more than happy to connect with you and check out your LinkedIn profile! Send me a connection request and I will leave a review of your account!
NIS Taraz 2016 alumnus
NU’2020 Econ major & Math minor alumnus
NU’2022 Economics MA candidate