Making a LinkedIn is like raising a child. You should only get one when you’re ready for one. If you get one too early, you can find yourself overexerted and overwhelmed by the regret of your decision.
In my first year, I prematurely gave birth to my LinkedIn, and I now regret my decision. LinkedIn is meant to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,” but if you have no professional experience, it is exceedingly difficult to be productive or successful.
Granted, if you have many professional qualifications from high school, LinkedIn may not be a terrible experience for a first-year. To the rest, I recommend getting a LinkedIn as a second-year with more experience.
Mainly, lack of experience is the greatest reason to not immediately jump into making a LinkedIn.
When you create an account, you are prompted to input previous professional experience into your profile, and if you had taken a look at other LinkedIn profiles, one might quickly realize that “babysitting” or “dog walker” might not be as reputable as “Solutions Design Engineering Intern at Amazon Robotics.”
This slight comparison, as small or great as it may be, gradually wears on your own mental health as you explore the other well curated profiles that populate the website.
This small interaction might happen more and more based off of LinkedIn’s home page, which showcases material that your own network interacts with.
The more job acceptance speeches reading “It is with great enthusiasm that I accept my internship at …” you see, the greater the insecurity you may feel at your own lack of experience.
As a first-year, with so many exciting and new experiences, these encounters should not be an experience worth going through.
Experience is gained gradually over the course of many years as opposed to the five seconds scrolling through someone’s profile.
Someone’s profile, which lists the highlights of their professional career, is not an indicator to the amount of work and effort that they have personally invested, but as a first-year, this may not be as apparent.
The lack of material that is in your biography could make you feel worse as you view the many accolades that someone has accumulated.
While this could be a factor that pushes you to apply to more jobs, the drive to develop yourself professionally should be intrinsic, and the lack of material on your LinkedIn profile is not going to be the motivating factor of whether or not you land that summer internship.
There are many things to be stressed about during your first year, and the lack of experience in your LinkedIn should not be one of them.
You can avoid these stressors entirely by not creating a LinkedIn in your first year. The benefits that you may gain from having a LinkedIn, such as seeing job openings and companies to work for, can also be gained at the career fair and CareerBuzz.
Additionally, the object of focus of your professional attention should be focused on your resume as opposed to your LinkedIn as the most important aspect of recruitment.
Either of these options would give you a personalized sense of what a job or company is like as opposed to the automated, mass message that is broadcasted on LinkedIn.
You can gain more confidence in yourself by getting involved with organizations on campus which will make the experience of creating a profile significantly less stressful.
Ultimately, raising a child can be an incredibly painful experience, but if you know what you’re getting yourself into, it will be a lot better.