For College Students, LinkedIn FOMO Is Real—These Tips Will Help

This is a paywalled Wall Street Journal so we will post a few excerpts and invite you to click on the full article here.

Stop worrying about work experience and connections; follow these 11 guidelines to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is growing in popularity among Gen Z, and it’s setting off a wave of envy and fear of missing out for some college students who worry they’re behind—even if they aren’t yet in the workforce.

“Looking at everyone else’s LinkedIn stresses me out,” said Nick Saunders, a sophomore environmental-engineering major at North Carolina State University.

Getting LinkedIn right is important as more recruiters turn to the platform to find potential hires amid a huge upheaval in the labor market. New hires made through LinkedIn more than doubled in the past quarter, compared with the prior-year period. But if LinkedIn is causing a feeling of inadequacy, as other social networks often do, there are ways to conquer the FOMO. Below, I compiled a set of tips for college students to make their profiles stand out. 

What Students Can Do

Consultants who advise students say they shouldn’t worry too much about connections or work experience: Employers don’t expect them to have much of either. There are other ways to stand out. Here’s what they say students should—and shouldn’t—do on LinkedIn.

Include both a profile photo and background photo. This is one of the most important things anyone can do. Having a photo makes your profile 21 times more likely to be viewed, according to Ada Yu, director of product management at LinkedIn.

A creative background photo can also help you stand out. Alan Katzman, chief executive officer of Social Assurity, a consulting firm that helps students build digital portfolios for college and career applications, encourages students to choose a background image that matches their interests.

Read the whole piece with additional advice at the Wall Street Journal site.


Julie Jargon is the Family & Tech columnist at The Wall Street Journal, writing weekly about the impact of technology on family life. During her years as a beat reporter, she covered restaurant and food companies such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, Papa John’s and Kraft.

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