When you are applying for your first job out of college, a bootcamp, or in a new field, you might find it difficult to highlight experiences on your LinkedIn profile because you are so new in your career. But having a strong LinkedIn profile that showcases your background, interests, passions, and projects will help sell employers on learning more about you.
One of the most important elements of a strong LinkedIn is solid basics. Your name should be the same as the one on your resume, so if you go by a nickname, make sure they match, or add your nickname in parenthesis to distinguish. Include a photo of yourself on your page and try to use a professional headshot, if you have one. If you don’t have a professional shot, you should at least use a good photo of yourself that is properly lit and doesn’t have any unprofessional elements included (no red Solo cups and ideally, no other people).
Add a little bio about yourself in your headline:
- What you are studying or what you just studied
- What types of roles you are looking for
- What your passions are
Here is an example:
Finishing my B.S. in Computer Science in May 2019 at the University of X, looking for software engineering positions to combine my interest in machine learning with my love of making a difference.
Update your location to the city that you are looking for jobs in so recruiters know where you want to be and can accurately search for you if they are sourcing new grad candidates for a particular region. Even if you are finishing your degree in a different city, this will help them understand your goals. If you’re not sure where you want to be or are open, list your current location.
In the About section, you can add more info about yourself, your experience, and your goals as well as links to your portfolio, GitHub, Medium page, or blog. This is a good example from one of our fellows’ LinkedIn profile.
The next step is ensuring that your experiences are highlighted. Start by adding your internship experiences. Be sure to link to the actual company, in case potential employers want to do more research, and include the dates that you worked there.
Just like your resume, you want to use strong, action-oriented language and quantify as much as you can to showcase the impact of the work you did. You can take the copy that you have in your resume, but since you don’t have the same space constraints, we recommend elaborating more on LinkedIn. Almost all job applications now ask for your LinkedIn, so most employers will use the profile to get more background on what you did in your internships.
You might not have many (or any) internships to add to your experience section on LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean you should leave it blank. You can add anything that relates to your professional aspirations to this section, which includes student group organizations, on- or off-campus jobs, schoolwork, volunteer work, and personal projects. Just like you would for your internships, explain what you did and how you impacted the student group, event, or project.
Skills, endorsements, and recommendations
LinkedIn now offers official assessments that you can take in order to be certified in specific skills. Adding these badges to your profile show your strength in these topics, which is especially important when employers are deciding whether or not to send you on to the technical challenges. It takes time and effort on their end to send diagnostics, so they want to make sure that is worth it.
You can also add other skills to your profile and ask classmates, friends, former coworkers, and former managers to endorse you for these skills. Employers likely take these with a grain of salt as they are less official than the assessments, but they are still helpful when they are checking to see if you are being truthful. Recommendations are also an excellent source of proof. At the end of your internships or if you have had a particularly close relationship with a professor, you can ask them to write a recommendation on your LinkedIn.
LinkedIn profiles are becoming as important as resumes when you are in the application and interview process for a new job. With the above tips, you should be able to optimize your LinkedIn so that you stand out, even when you do not have a lot of experience.
Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and young professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With our tips and guidance, we’ve seen our fellows application responses triple.
If you want to work with any of our advisors 1-on-1 to get help with your resume, LinkedIn profile, or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow.