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How to Set Up a LinkedIn Account As a Student

The LinkedIn app download screen on an iPhone.

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

Before I delve into what exactly LinkedIn is, the purpose it serves, and how to set it up as a student, I want you to think about the social media platforms that reigned prevalent about a decade or two ago.

I’m sure that the first social networking apps that come to mind are Vine, MySpace, and Facebook amongst many others. Nearly a decade later, social media platforms like TikTok have amassed billions of active users.

However, over the course of this decade, a niche social media platform has risen to prominence, reaching 900 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

This platform is LinkedIn, and my goal is that after reading this article you rush to the site, create your account and make the most of everything LinkedIn has to offer.

What is LinkedIn?

If you ask some of my closest friends at Cornell what LinkedIn means to me, they may tell you that LinkedIn and I are yin and yang, cosmo and wanda, two peas in a pod.

In the three years that I’ve been an undergraduate student, I’ve been able to fully maximize LinkedIn and establish a phenomenal professional network.

What drew me to the platform? For starters, LinkedIn is both a business and employment-focused platform that is used through mobile applications and websites. It launched on May 5, 2003 and its primary functions are to offer professional networking and career development services. Additionally, LinkedIn allows job seekers to post their resumes and CVs while employers post job openings and opportunities. 

Additionally, LinkedIn is called LinkedIn because users invite individuals to become professionally “linked in” to them, in turn forming business connections and resulting in invited users becoming linked to their invitees.

I quickly realized that the platform is not just for full-time working professionals, but is also of great use to students – high school and undergraduate alike – for getting volunteer and internship opportunities during school. 

This leads me into the next portion of this article: why should YOU use LinkedIn?

Build your brand

As students (whether that be high school, undergraduate or graduate), LinkedIn plays a vital role in developing our digital footprints as well as our personal brands, especially as it pertains to our professional social media presence.

The platform serves to build a permanent profile for you on a popular professional networking site. LinkedIn’s 900 million+ professional profiles is good news for you and I. It means that we have an unlimited supply of job opportunities and potential network connections.


The platform gives us as students the opportunity to connect with other undergraduate students at your school, and other schools across the globe. Not to mention there are vast opportunities to establish professional relationships with firm/company HR directors, recruiting coordinators and professionals you meet at business conferences, etc.

It is through these relationships that opportunities for full-time employment, internships and professional advancement can come about. As my mama says, it’s good to know people who know people, and LinkedIn proves this statement true by making professional networking easy.

Plethora of job information at your disposal

This makes job searching so much easier! LinkedIn enables users to search for specialized positions which as a student ranges from internships (summer and winter) to professional leadership programs. 

Best Ways for Students to Use LinkedIn

How to set up your LinkedIn

To sign up on LinkedIn and make your profile, navigate to this page and join using your true first and last name, your email address and a password. You will then have the opportunity to decide if you prefer the platform’s free version or would like to opt into a premium subscription for $29.99/month. 

I suggest testing out the premium membership option through their one month free-trial offering to get an idea of the additional service offerings such as profile views, free inMails and featured applicant status.

However, the basic membership is still a great place to start with regard to first-time use of the platform!

Tips for creating a stellar LinkedIn profile

Last but not least, I want to share with you four tips and tricks for creating and personalizing your profile.

1. Add ALL of your professional experiences. In other words, never leave your profile blank! Whether that be volunteer work, an internship (both paid and unpaid), externship, freelance work, apprenticeship, career preparation program, a firm insights program, a fellowship, etc.

The essence of LinkedIn is to connect with people who share the same/similar interests, passions and professional experiences, just as much as it is to facilitate connections between those with vastly different experiences, passions and interests.

By listing all of your relevant experiences, you are able to demonstrate your professional track record, present your qualifications and indicate your credibility. More often than not, this can take the form of your traditional resume.

However, keep in mind that the best way to gain profile traction is to use keywords in your description that are relevant to your career interests and target profession.

2. Make note of ALL your skills. Every relevant skill counts, no matter how big or small they may seem. LinkedIn allows you to list up to 50, and these skills are meant to be indicative of your distinctive abilities and ideal candidacy. Ensure that these skills are as accurate as possible because they significantly affect search results for potential employers, recruiters and relevant profile visitors.

3. Ensure you have a professional photo for your profile.

If you don’t have one already, try to get headshot photos taken! Some colleges and career preparation programs offer them for free through business orgs, career services, etc. If not, no worries.

You can take your headshot photo by yourself. All you need is a neutral background, bright enough lighting, a camera (which can even be on your phone) and business casual or professional clothing – at least from the waist up – depending on what you own clothes wise.

4. Make sure you have a strong, effective profile summary.

Your LinkedIn profile summary should be thorough, yet concise. Think of it as your elevator pitch, or your response if someone asks you to tell them about yourself. With a limit of 2600 characters, you want to ensure that you are engaging potential employers. Below is a template you can use.

I am a __________ (your class year, e.g. sophomore) at/in _________ (your school, college or university) pursuing a degree in _________ (your major/education track; include minors and concentrations if you have any), and am interested in internship opportunities in the field of ___________  (the field you’re interested in, e.g. investment banking) to gain vast exposure and extensive knowledge in the ______ (the specific industry you’re interested in, e.g. engineering) realm. I believe that my interests in _____ (the same career field you mentioned previously) and depth of experience in ________ (the specific industry sector again) make me a valuable asset to firms that specialize in the aforementioned industries. Please feel free to connect with me or contact me by email at ______ (your email address). 


In conclusion, Aubrey Drake Graham, known to most as Drake, once said “21 can you do something for me?” In that same light, I too ask for each and every one of you reading this article to do something for me.

Create that LinkedIn account expeditiously! If you already have one, make the necessary adjustments to your profile – using my tips – to attract top recruiters and leading industry professionals.

All in all, if there’s one thing I want you to grasp from this article it’s this: LinkedIn is only as effective as you make it to be! Last but not least, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn! 

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Author: Chloe Adeleke

Hey everyone! My name is Chloe Adeleke and I am a sophomore at Cornell University. I attend the Dyson School, majoring in Applied Economics and Management with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Finance. My career goals include becoming an investment banking analyst upon graduating and creating my own foundation to raise capital for ESG related initiatives in third world countries. I'm looking forward to writing more blogs for you all and I hope you enjoy reading!