At the conclusion of March Madness, many student-athletes will turn to thinking about what’s next!
According to a recent report by Statista, LinkedIn is the 10th most used social network for teens and young adults. For name, image and likeness conscious student-athletes, it needs to move into their top 5.
Think of LinkedIn as the business side of your social media mullet.
LinkedIn is the social network for business people, and for athletes thinking about NIL, their NIL is the product of their business.
There are great resources with general tips for college students on LinkedIn and all of these tips apply, however below are some specific to student-athletes highlighting key profile sections of LinkedIn:
PROFILE IMAGE: It doesn’t need to look like you are in a Board of Directors meeting or even a glamour shot (Google it if you want to have fun for a few hours), but it should be clean and professional. Cell phone pics do good enough quality here, however this should be a head shot of you vs. sports action picture.
BACKGROUND IMAGE: Add a background image to your page. Your profile information below will show you are a student-athlete so use this space to convey your professional or academic side. It could be a beauty shot of your college campus or an image that represents your interests outside of your sport, or an industry you aspire to be in someday. Tell your whole story, not just your athletic achievement.
ABOUT: Add to the "About" section and don’t skimp on the detail including your accomplishments, interests, volunteer work, academic honors. This is not a time for modesty. Student-athletes might not have as many internships as your student-only peers, so this is where you want to show you were selected team captain by your peers. That has value to a future employer in the same way as an internship.
EXPERIENCE: Add any other jobs or roles you have had, even if a barista at a local coffee shop. That is normal for a high school/college student and shows responsibility. Those roles will come off in a few years, but we will cross that bridge later.
CONNECTIONS: Build up connections. Start with people you know and trust (or people you want to know) and invite them to connect. Professors, peers, high school teachers, coaches, etc. Go to your circle of trust first. Connecting with family members is OK but it's more important to have others.
VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE: Add that section and really fill this out completely with past experiences. Get a mindset like you are applying to colleges (even if you were recruited) and list your volunteer and charitable experiences.
RECOMMENDATIONS: This is slightly more advanced for your later years in college but getting a few good recommendations about your character is helpful. Seek people you trust (not family) for a recommendation to post which you can approve.
INTERESTS: Follow and like pages that fit your interests - business groups, charity groups, sports groups, companies, etc. Just be authentic and connect with interests that represent the professional image you want to convey.
PEOPLE ALSO VIEWED: Check that section on the right of your page. Are these the type of people you want to be associated with? If so, it’s ok to keep that section on your profile page. If not, there is a way to disable that function in the settings.