3 Tips for College Students to Build a Professional Online Presence

Online presence for college studentsMany assume the millennial generation is born knowing how to do everything online. The truth, however, is that building an online professional persona can be daunting, even for the most technologically-savvy millennials.

You are not alone if this online presence thing feels new and a little overwhelming. It seems building an online presence comes up among college students at every event I attend.

Here are some of the comments I hear often; see if the sound familiar:

  • Yeah I started a LinkedIn profile but I have no idea what to do with it.”
  • “I’m not sure how much employers actually check Facebook.”
  • “I’m in college so I feel like I don’t have any experience to put online.”
  • “I know I should have a website or something but I’m just terrible with all that stuff.”

The fact remains, however: building your online presence is not just a “nice” extra thing to do. It is the thing to do. Here are three things you should do right now to get started:

1) Start a LinkedIn Profile

Do this now, if you haven’t already. It’s free and easy to build. If you have questions, there are plenty of blog posts out there with advice on how to build an effective profile.

For even the most technologically challenged, getting started is the hard part. Once you get going, the process comes pretty naturally.

2) Develop Your Profile

Having a bare LinkedIn profile is not just as good as not having one at all. Take an hour or so and create the entire thing (it’s actually pretty fun, especially with all the new features).

Check out Lindsey Pollack’s tips for what to add on your LinkedIn profile as a college student/recent grad.

You have more skills that you realize, even if you haven’t had a lot of work experience. List your education, awards, leadership experiences, internships, and any additional work (e.g. volunteer) you are doing in your desired field.

Then, make an appointment with the career counselor at your college and ask her to review your LinkedIn profile just as she would a resume. Ask lots of people for feedback and continue to tweak it as you grow.

You can see my LinkedIn here.

3) Create a Personal Landing Page

Having a website in your name (e.g. isaadney.com) will make you stand out (note: I use WordPress).

However, thinking about developing an entire website can feel daunting at first, so to start, consider creating a simple about.me page. I tried it out a few nights ago so I could share it with you if it was any good, and I was amazed at how easy it is and how professional it looks.

When creating yours, keep it simple and focus on the apps and links that best represent your professional goals (i.e. blog, online portfolio, artwork, publications, online articles, etc.). Only add social media channels that you keep professional (e.g. LinkedIn).

I also recommend considering using your Twitter (or perhaps creating a second one) for sharing news in your industry and interacting with professionals you admire.

Creating your online presence can actually be really fun, and will pay off when it comes time to finding internships and jobs. Just try it and see.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at FirstJobOutofCollege.com!


Isa AdneyAbout the Author: Isa Adney is the author of Community College Success and speaks to college students around the country. Grab the first chapter of her book for free on her Facebook page and keep in touch with her on Twitter! 


Image courtesy of hackcollege.com… thank you!



This entry was posted in LinkedIn, Networking, Social Media and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.