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Do I Need a LinkedIn Account?

By Zach Skillings

Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

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Updated: August 22nd, 2023
Do I Need a LinkedIn Account?

If you’re wondering whether or not you need a LinkedIn account, the short answer is yes. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform used by both job-seekers and employers. While the platform probably won’t work miracles for your career, it’s helpful in expanding your network, searching for jobs, and increasing your online presence. In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits of having a LinkedIn and some tips for maximizing your account. Let’s get started!

Also see: WayUp review: Job and internship search for college

Benefits of having a LinkedIn

LinkedIn is essentially the social media platform for the professional world. Not only is it an excellent tool to meet other individuals in your industry, but it’s a great way to search for jobs and share career-related content. Let’s briefly discuss the main benefits of having a LinkedIn account. 

1. Make connections

LinkedIn is built for professional networking, which is an important part of the job search. If you’re a college student or recent graduate looking to launch your career, making connections through LinkedIn can prove very useful. Through the platform, you can reach out to professionals in your field who may be able to point you in the right direction when searching for jobs. You can learn more about companies you’re interested in by contacting employees who currently work there. 

2. Search for jobs

Although its primary purpose is to serve as a networking platform, LinkedIn also doubles as a job board. Through LinkedIn, you can search for jobs around the world. Filters allow you to customize your search according to preferences such as job type, location, and experience level. You can also sign up for job alerts that are delivered directly to your inbox, which we’ll discuss later. 

3. Share content 

Another great feature of LinkedIn is that you can share content with other users. Similar to other social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, you can create posts and view other people’s content. Of course, the content you’re sharing should be professional in nature and related to your career. Feel free to share important work you’ve done, or interesting articles related to your industry. Posting content is a great way to expand your LinkedIn presence and make more connections. 

Tips for maximizing your LinkedIn

Joining LinkedIn doesn’t come with the automatic guarantee that you’ll find a job. But there’s a few things you can do to maximize your account and increase your chances of career development. 

1. Use a nice headshot

Your profile picture is one of the first things that other LinkedIn users will notice about you. As such, you’ll want to make a good first impression by using a high-quality headshot. You should aim to appear professional, friendly, and approachable. Business attire is preferable, and smiling is encouraged. 

2. Build a complete profile

Building a LinkedIn profile is very similar to creating a resume. You should provide a full list of employment history, credentials, skills, special awards, publications, and leadership positions. Getting skill endorsements from supervisors or mentors is a good way to boost your profile. LinkedIn also allows you to write a brief bio. Use this opportunity to provide a short and clear summary of your interests, expertise, and the type of work you do. This bio will appear at the top of your page, so take the time to create a thoughtful and engaging description. And remember to keep your profile up to date as you progress.

3. Reach out to people 

This is the big one. The whole point of LinkedIn is to expand your professional network in the hopes of advancing your career. And doing that requires a bit of initiative on your part. Search for professionals in your field and send them a brief message explaining who you are, where you go to school, and what your career goals are. Your best bet is to reach out to alumni of your school since you share something in common. See if they’re willing to set up a brief phone call or video conference so you can hear their advice. 

If you’re able to set up a meeting, ask them about the steps they took to get where they are now and if they have any tips for someone in your position. If you’re lucky, they may point you in the direction of job openings and other professional opportunities. At the very least, you’ll meet someone new and receive some general career advice. And if they don’t have any job opportunities for you at the moment, they may set you up with something later on. The beauty of networking is that you’re creating a virtual Rolodex of contacts that you can tap into at any point in life. 

4. Set up job alerts

If you’re actively searching for jobs, the most effective method is to set up job alerts. These can be tailored to fit your desired job, location, and experience level. You can choose to receive these alerts on a daily or weekly basis through email, app notifications, or both. This way, you can stay up to date on new positions without having to actively seek out job postings.

5. Actively post  

Another great way to get your name out there is to share content and create posts describing your professional accomplishments. Feel free to share articles you’ve written, videos you’ve recorded, presentations you’ve created, or other content related to your career. Employers and colleagues may see the work you’ve done and reach out to you. You should also update your fellow LinkedIn users whenever you have an accomplishment to share. If you’ve completed an internship, graduated from college, or landed a new job, write a brief post and share it with your network. Active users are more likely to expand their network of connections. 

6. Join groups

You can also expand your network by joining LinkedIn groups. These are online hubs for people with similar interests to share content, post and view jobs, and make business contacts. Being an active participant in a group can help you connect with people in your industry and show recruiters what you’re interested in. By sharing relevant content, you can also drive users to your personal page. 

Related: Top LinkedIn profile tips

Keep in mind…

LinkedIn is really only as useful as you make it. If you simply create an account then sit back and wait for things to happen, you probably won’t have much luck. You’re more likely to see positive results if you actively reach out to people, search for jobs, share content, and keep your profile up to date. And even if you don’t directly land a job through LinkedIn, you’ll probably connect with some great people who can point you in the right direction. So stop wondering, “Do I need a LinkedIn?” and go make one! Happy networking!

Don’t miss: How to find online jobs for college students

Frequently asked questions about having a LinkedIn account

What is the most important part of a LinkedIn profile?

There is no one part that is more important than others. After the photo, the headline (right below your photo and name) is where most people look next. After that, it really comes down to what recruiters are looking for, such as experiences, certificates, and licenses.

What are the biggest mistake people make on their LinkedIn profile?

  The LinkedIn website states that the first two mistakes are either a lack of profile photo or a grainy or badly cropped photos.

Is it OK to not have a LinkedIn profile?

It depends. Having a LinkedIn account is beneficial if you need a resume to apply for a particular job. Since most job openings do require a resume, you most likely will benefit from opening a LinkedIn account.

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