Learn how to use LinkedIn as a Student (and as a professional) to increase visibility, credibility, and calls from recruiters. Shape your profile to get that interview, internship, and more by following a few simple steps.
How to Use LinkedIn as a College Student - Get Jobs and Internships Fast
CODE OF LINKED
Student networking for internships and first jobs
I drafted this deck to help some misguided students who
applied for an internship in marketing. It seems that few
students, let alone adults, had taken real time to make a
LinkedIn Profile that worked. And by “worked” I mean worked
for their goals – visibility, credibility, connecting, and getting
Those out of college are welcome to use this deck too,
although some of the lessons are geared toward the new job
It’s a place to connect in your professional life.
Conversations are happening everywhere, online and offline
24 hours a day. People join twitter conversations, LinkedIn
discussions, networking events in person and even not in
• Facebook is for friends, brands, and life.
• Twitter is what’s happening right now.
• LinkedIn is for jobs—professional life—so you have
something to say right now and can afford to have a life.
YOUR PERSONAL SOCIAL POLICY
• Be who you are. Which also means identifying yourself and
• Present yourself professionally, not as if you are at the bar.
• Speak in the first person. Your personality matters and you
should own your comments.
• Keep it cool: conversation is ok, debate or incendiary
comments are NOT OK.
• Do not feel the need to respond to critics.
• Correct your mistakes quickly and without reservation.
• Review IBM’s Social Media Guidelines – many firms’
policies have started here.
What does “adding value” mean?
To add value to a social conversation is just as you would in
real life: offer something helpful to the other people, whether
it is an insightful comment, a connection, a referral, or an
offer to speak further.
Expect nothing in return…for the maximum impact.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?
Are you in this to get a job?
Are you in this to make connections?
Are you signing up “because you have to?”
GET YOUR AFFAIRS IN ORDER
Complete Your Profile because it helps
people find you and trust you.
Have your relevant employment history included.
• Complete details for each role. The best
is to have a short summary of the role
and a narrative of accomplishments –
• Be found by Google with a personal
URL and visibility settings.
Skills (Keywords) to be Endorsed.
BE AN ALL STAR WITH A FULL PROFILE
Mistakes People Make
• Not filling in details of what they did.
• Not telling others about key successes,
whatever they are.
• Leaving in irrelevant jobs that don’t focus
on the goal.
• Contact Info: Yes, you want people to
contact you, but be careful about the
personal details or phone #.
• Profile Photo: Yes. Selfie? No. If you can
get these professionally done or find a
good photo with you in decent attire,
please do so. This is not the place for cat
pix, you and your BFF, BF, GF, or pets. And
please no obvious crops of you sans ex.
No computer selfies.
• Headline is critical for students – make this
about your goal, not current title.
FINDING A NEW JOB IS LIKE FINDING A
In many ways, LinkedIn is like setting up an online dating
But you already have a girlfriend (or boyfriend)…you need to
usethe code that says you are available without getting your
boss mad before the break up.
HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE SEEN?
Headline: how do you want to be
seen by the rest of the world?
This is the one thing everyone
Can be Title, or Aspirational, or
Tips from Forbes:
“Succinctly showcase your
specialty, value proposition, or
your ‘so what?’”
“Speak directly to the audience
you want to entice.”
“Be specific” – keywords help.
Be careful with “memorable” and
YOUR HEADER SECTION
Could we improve on this headline?
Her goal is “digital marketing” but the first thing she mentions is “strategic
This causes many people difficulty because it looks like a
resume, but is it? Can I go outside the box?
Yes, yes you can.
Give people a flavor of what else you did. Tell a story rather than list out
bulleted resume points. Expand on the key item that future hiring managers
would look for.
Use the right keywords for your target job.
Does not have to read like third person resume.
Avoid a basic role description unless you just started or can’t disclose details.
• Turn off your feed if you are making tons of
updates to your profile.
• Turn off your feed if you are actively talking to
• You can “defriend” people.
• Spam InMail or Friend Requests from people you
don’t know or are not helpful.
• Details to Avoid: TMI: DOB, mother’s maiden name,
high schools, etc. Hackers and spammers will find
and use this against you.
I NEED A JOB, WHAT DO I DO?
YOU KNOW PEOPLE – CONNECT!
• Use the email contact book connector, but be careful.
• Connect with friends.
• Connect with current colleagues.
• Connect with Professors and TAs.
• Connect with summer job people, when appropriate.
SHOULD YOU AVOID PEOPLE?
• People you don’t know (although some can be helpful, so
look at their profiles)…they may want to email you but
can’t without Inmail.
• People with very little in their profiles.
• People that don’t seem related to you or your goals and
you don’t know.
• People you know, but don’t like or should not have access
to your network.
• Use the “Ignore” button and use “I don’t know”
CONNECTING WITH RECRUITERS
• Handling Recruiters:
• Turn off your connection updates before
• If you’re looking, turn off your feed share.
• Good to connect with because they have many
connections. More connections increases your
• Be helpful to them and always respond unless
they are clearly sending spam. You never know
how they can help.
HELP YOUR FRIENDS HELP YOU
• Endorse Others’ Skills (but don’t mass endorse!)
• Recommend Others so they will Recommend
You. Only do this for people you actually know
very well. It is ok to do this with partners or
• Share or Comment or Like others’ feeds if you
feel it is appropriate.
You can search for alums in various places
• People Search
• Your college’s alumni and career center
Why is LinkedIn possibly better?
Use both Career Center Search and LinkedIn University
together. People rarely update their Alumni profile, but they
do keep LinkedIn fairly up to date.
HOW TO REACH OUT
GETTING IN TOUCH
Some people forget they added phone numbers and direct emails. Some
people want you to call them. Check here first.
InMail is the key benefit for a paid account.
•No response after 7 days and you get the InMail back.
•Your reputation MATTERS. Write a well targeted message or
your ranking will suffer.
You get scored by
recipients who can
“Reject” or “Spam”
so make sure your
message is highly
targeted and can
USING GROUPS FOR PROFIT
• Joining groups helps reduce distance between you and your targets.
• It also helps you message people you don’t know.
• And you can join or start useful discussions.
• “Maximum” of 50 Groups.
• Avoid joining too many if you can. Or prune if no longer needed.
Be sure to go into
Settings for each
group (or on the Main
Group Settings) to
adjust emails your
receive. Up to you
how to handle these.
Members to Message
you because it
increases chances of
a real connection and
allows you to connect
with them more
Main discussion. Best
way to start one is to
a ask a real question
You can like each
reply or comment on
it. These will show up
DON’T BE A LOW LIFE SPAMMER
People on larger or open
groups will share their white
papers and other selfish
things. You can share or
Better to ask questions
when sharing, posting
STARTING OR SHARING A
Put the URL Here
and a preview will
Thumbnail image if
it is not relevant.
Ask the question
GROUPS: WHAT TO DO
AND NOT DO
1. Post a discussion about
your work or expertise
and expect people to
hand you a job.
2. Share irrelevant articles
to groups without
asking a good question.
3. Sharing irrelevant items
on the Alum group.
1. Ask great questions
relevant to the group.
2. Join a thread.
3. Look for jobs in the
Discussions or Job
4. Connect with fellow
Do not post
discussions like this.
responses that are
She has interesting
skills and goals, but
this is the wrong
place to find those
interested in them.
What could she do
MORE DISCUSSION DON’TS
Could this question
This question is
interesting to me, but
notice it took me 23
days to see it. What
could she have done
23 days ago to find
Please do not do this
in the Alumni group.
This is better as a
Shared update to
your network or a
relevant group. Since
it doesn’t ask a
question, this is a
terrible group share.
Always turn off Activity Broadcasts when you do editing to your profile
because it will do two things:
1. Send everyone you know a long list of irritating changes.
2. Tip off colleagues and bosses you might be looking for a new job – most
people heavily edit their profile when looking or leaving.
Best to allow
people to see your
profile headline so
they tag you back.
You can be
you may end up
You can choose to add this module to your profile. It is probably better to
have it to show viewers your connections to increase social proof.
THIS ISN’T A RESUME…
Always have a professional looking photo. The more people you allow to see
the photo, the better response you will have – seeing a face increases trust.
These settings are related to emails and notifications. I’ll show you a few key items here,
but most of these are up to you. LinkedIn can generate TONS of email if you let it, so
LinkedIn will email you
messages AND put them in
your LI inbox. I prefer only
to receive emails for actual
Edit all of your groups at
Watch out! These can come
fast and furious.
Generally, you want to let
anyone invite to connect.
It’s up to you on whether or
not to accept.
WHICH MESSAGES DO YOU WANT?
These settings can block as well as discourage people who want to connect or message
you using the LI system.
Will block or allow
Introductions and InMail.
Stick with the default.
These appear on your
profile as ways to
Groups, Companies, and Application Settings allow you to adjust
• Group Emails, Display Order on your profile, and permission for Group members to
• Companies you follow (or no longer want to follow)
• Applications: you may login using LI or allow third party tools (like Hootsuite) to
access your account. You may block these Apps here.
You should periodically
review these to ensure
as few Apps as possible
can access your
You can also check if
GENERAL ACCOUNT SETTINGS
You should review each of these. I recommend opting out of Advertising.
I do recommend you modify your security settings to SSL and two-factor
authentication to prevent hacking.
Edit using this
Click here to edit.
PROFILE EDIT MODE
Your profile is what you show to other people and tell them your professional story. It
is searchable by recruiters, managers, colleagues, etc. It can close a deal or make
people walk away. So carefully write, proof, and spellcheck it.
Click any pencil icon to edit
Grab this to move this
Section above or below.
Upload or link
• Name: fail this and you lose.
• Headline: make this your aspiration or main skillset
• Location: if you can, use a metro area because this will allow more people to find you.
• Industry: choose “Student” or “Education” or your target industry.
• Contact Info: if you are showing this your info will appear.
• Summary: CRITICAL to all profiles. This is your elevator pitch. Take a look at other profiles to
see what you want to emulate. I recommend 2 paragraphs about what you want to do and what
you have done (successes).
• Skills & Expertise (Endorsements): keyword list of skills. Once you list these, your friends can
• Publications: did you write a professional paper, book, presentation?
• Experience: list these in reverse chronological order.
• Add Presentation: you can add documents or links here to demonstrate your work.
• Organizations: other organizations you belong to. Preferably professional, but can include clubs
• Volunteer Experience & Causes: optional module which allows you to detail volunteer work or
political involvement. You may want to be very careful with politics here so unless you are
heavily involved in a cause or plan to enter politics, it may be best to not list political issues here.
• Education: you should list all colleges you attended with dates, your major(s), minor(s), and any
awards here. As a student, you may wish to move this module below your Summary.
• Additional Info: you can list a few interests not otherwise listed. Most people put a few
short words: “World travel, history, Tough Mudder”
• Honors & Awards: any awards or other honors not otherwise posted.
WRITING ABOUT EXPERIENCE
Writing about your experiences is similar to writing for your resume.
Except that it isn’t. The best profiles add to the printed resume
because they tell more of the story. Start with your resume points and
expand from there.
• Resume paste (I don’t recommend this)
• Company Summary: some people will post a short summary of
what their firm does. That doesn’t tell your story very well, so use
this only as a place holder if you must.
• Responsibility Summary: use this for new roles or an internship. You
can edit it later to reflect your results.
• Story + Projects/Success: the best profiles tell a quick story about
your role and include highlights of key projects and success metrics.
Use full sentences, avoiding the dreaded bullet.
LEWIS HOWES – LINKEDIN PRO
Check out his
profile and how he
message in each
RECOMMENDATIONS ARE SOCIAL PROOF
As a Student who needs an internship or is entering the full time workforce – even if it is in
academia—you need recommendations. Recommendations are social proof that other people
already like you and are willing to endorse you as a professional in your field. You can be
recommended for just about any Section of your profile. All you have to do is ask.
• Profiles with recommendations are more likely to be contacted by recruiters.
• Before the job offer, managers will check your offered references as well as check your profile for
Get started here.
There is also a Recommendation Manager which you can access using the above method or via
Make sure you ask people who know your abilities well. Make a list with email addresses and send
them a note via LinkedIn asking them to recommend you for a job where they managed you or
worked with you. Professors can recommend your coursework on your Education Section.
It’s good practice to write them a short blurb or remind them of how great that project or paper went.
SKILLS & ENDORSEMENTS
badges that allow you to
list your skills for
recruiters to search for
you. They also allow
friends to endorse you
as having those skills.
Most people will have 5-
20 endorsements per
skill. Remember to only
claim skills you have.
Another person can add
a skill to your profile by
A level 99 LinkedIn User. You cannot defeat him…
ASK AND ANSWER TO BUILD A REP
HOW TO BUILD AUTHORITY
What most SEO experts and Lewis Howe suggest is that you
build authority on the web in a variety of ways. Socially, on
linkedin, reddit, quora, etc. as well as by having some sort of
publication like a blog/website related to your field.
If you’re a student, you may have budding ideas about things
and you should write intelligently about it. You may also have
unique knowledge from a research project – share it! If you
haven’t done anything yet, just get out there and write about
the areas you want. Offer to interview people in the field if
they don’t have much of an internet presence.
Quora is a good place to find people you can help. There are plenty of bad
questions, but quite a few are excellent and you can link back to you in the
answer. The same rules about Adding Value apply.
• Find questions you
can answer or
• Ask insightful
• Avoid getting involved
in discussions that you
• Collect knowledge and
keywords for the roles
you are targeting.
Great question for
Add an answer.
Add links back to
your own work
Click on related
questions to keep
Even if question is
old, the people
following it will still
see your update.
#BOOTYCALL IS NOT THE HASHTAG YOU WERE
Bad: I said negative thing
about ActOn. At least I asked
her to email me to keep it
I provided value.
WHEN YOU SAY BAD THINGS…
Bad things happen.
Saying negative things about others invariably leads one of
them to ask you why or to start saying bad things about you.
This tells everyone on the planet (or who pay attention to
you) that you did something not so nice. Even if what you
said is true or you feel passionately, DO NOT DO THIS.
called me out.
He tried to get
me involved in
HOW TO SAY BAD THINGS WELL
I want to support
Marketo but also
they may not be
able to afford
Marketo. I also
want to tell them
to avoid Act-On
without saying it.
He got so many
he thought it was
Good response on
Kimi’s part, but
generally DO NOT
“ON THE WEB, YOU ARE WHAT YOU
-DAVID MEERMAN SCOTT
If you don’t believe anything
else in this presentation,
watch social media master,
David Meerman Scott talk
about how he helped his
daughter get into an Ivy
CONTROL WHAT THEY CAN SEE
As you get closer to looking for
full time employment at major
and even small firms, you need
to consider the reputation
you’ve been building across the
internet with your use of
Facebook, Twitter, Websites, and
LinkedIn. Firms do conduct
background checks and HR and
hiring managers do use Google
to check out your tracks. The
best thing to do is create your
reputation so others who look
for you find only what you want
them to find.
Reputation is virtuous cycle –
once you have a key reputation
item in place, you can direct
other sites to each other and the
(RE)BUILDING YOUR ONLINE REP
• Buy at least one domain with your name in it. Full name if possible or good
variations. (eg. “yourname.com” or “yournamemiddleinitial.com”)
• Own your name on about.me, twitter, pinterest, tumblr.
• Write a short bio and link back to your main site.
• If you’ve been tweeting dumb stuff on your account. STOP. Start tweeting about
things relevant to your studies, job hunt, topics you like, papers you’ve written,
topics your target hiring firms might like. The earlier you start, the less likely it is
your old tweets will be seen.
• You can also try to delete old tweets, but they may still appear in Google.
• Consider separating your personal tweets into one account that you keep secret and
cut off from search. Then use a pro account for public tweets.
• It’s ok to be fun with your tweets because employers do want to work with fun
people. Exercise discretion. Many powerful people have been brought down by a
poorly chosen public tweet..
• Build a Blog on your Personal Site. Plenty of good advice on this elsewhere.
• Establish a Google+ Persona and Pages that point to your site. This establishes
better ranking in Google.
• Choose keywords and your name you want to rank for. Write relevant content. It will
take 4-16 weeks for you to show up in the top results.
• Facebook – check the privacy settings. Avoid connecting with bad influences or even
work colleagues too early.
• You do not have to provide an employer access to any account as it goes against the
providers’ policies and may violate State laws. So do not do so.
RESULTS OF PERSONAL SEO
#5 – just below
Marketo and just
above #1 consultant,
This is after 2 years of work,
offering FREE content without
asking for anything.
I have made more professional
contacts doing this than I did
MAKE THE RIGHT KIND OF NAME FOR
YOURSELF & FIND EMPLOYERS
•Finish your profile.
•Join relevant Groups.
•Sign up for Twitter
•Sign Up for Quora
•Ask previous managers and professors to recommend you.
Even if it is for dishwasher, others’ want to know someone
was willing to make a recommendation.
Join the conversation!