Your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn.com is a professional social networking site. Recruiters and employers use LinkedIn to find potential hires and share their job postings, and many professionals who receive an email from you will look you up on LinkedIn before responding. 

Your LinkedIn profile is a prime opportunity to showcase your experience and skills to future employers, and to professionals you contact for informational interviews. It’s also a place to build your professional network and apply for jobs.

LinkedIn Overview
Deeper dive: How to build an excellent profile

5 Key Elements (start with these)

Adding a picture ensures connections that you are a real person. Use a clear photo with a neutral background and without any other people. Dress like you would for a networking event in your field.

Your headline is what defines you. It says who you are, and what makes you someone that someone would want to hire. Customize it to highlight your career aspirations and interests. Remember that searches read keywords from the headline.

Example headlines:

  • Business Student at Seattle Pacific University | Aspiring Marketing Intern
  • Emerging Computer Science Professional Passionate About Using Technology for Social Change
  • Emerging Communications Professional | Editor-in-chief of The Falcon

Give an overview of yourself in 1-3 paragraphs. Tell a short backstory about what you’re interested in and why. The final paragraph should say what you’re currently looking for.

Example:

I am a second-year student at Seattle Pacific University studying Early Childhood Education. As a childcare provider for years, I've always had a passion for working with young children and planning activities.

In my first two years at SPU, I have furthered my understanding of education, communication, sociology, psychology through my coursework. I've also deepened my experience lesson planning for preschool children at my summer job as a Pre-K teacher at a daycare.

I am currently looking for an internship as a preschool teacher. If you have a position opening or would like to chat, please reach out to me at mai.melaney@example.com.

Including your education history will connect you to alumni, as well as ensure that you appear in searches where you meet educational requirements. Include any relevant details that could differentiate you, like a high GPA (3.5 +), leadership in a student organization, or any honors or awards.

Highlight the relevant jobs, internships, unpaid work, and volunteer experiences where you’ve built your professional skills. Copy the bullets directly from the Experience section(s) of your resume. Fill out each section of the “Add experience” form on your LinkedIn profile. If the organization has a presence on LinkedIn, select it in the dropdown menu so the logo shows up. 

Tips for an advanced profile
  • Customize your LinkedIn URL (ideally the same as your name, and you can use a dash in the middle)
  • Add websites, articles that show the work you’ve done in any section (Experience, Education, Featured)
  • Ask for Recommendations from former bosses, coaches, or professors to enhance your credibility
  • Pin your top 3 skills in Skills and Endorsements section
  • Connect to at least 2 groups or companies
  • Try to reach at least 30 connections. After that, LinkedIn will show you more people when you search the Alumni Tool and elsewhere.

See another LinkedIn Profile example broken down here.

How to use LinkedIn effectively
Meet with professionals

Reach out for informational interviews with professionals in fields that interest you! It's only the best way to learn about fields; it's the best way to get jobs and internships, since 4 out of 5 jobs aren't posted online.

  • Find alums through the LinkedIn Alumni Tool. (In the search bar, type Seattle Pacific University, then click Alumni. Type company names/keywords that interest you in the search bar.)
  • Find others by searching the company you're interested in (e.g. Seattle Children's). Then click on People and search the type of role you're interested in (e.g. Pediatric Nurse).

Hi [Name], I'm a [junior computer science] major at SPU. I'm interested in [cloud gaming], and would love to learn more about your work at [Microsoft]. Would you be willing to have a 20-minute phone or Zoom conversation so I can hear more about your career path? Thanks for your time & consideration! [Your name]

  • Have a message like the one above ready in advance (note it's a 300-character limit).
  • Click "Connect" on the person's profile.
  • Click "Add a note".
  • Paste in your message & click "Send".
  • When the person responds to you, you should get a message in your LinkedIn Message Inbox and your email connected to your LinkedIn account.
Use LinkedIn proactively to become more visible in your field!

Don’t just sit back and wait for recruiters to contact you. LinkedIn is a great way to start building your network with people in the position to hire you.

The best way to do this: make comments on the posts of professionals you admire. In the search bar, look for things relevant to your field of interest (e.g. ppp loans), and you’ll see people who have recently posted about this. Comment on their posts and tag them. Use hashtags.

Apply for jobs & get insider tips
  • Apply for jobs directly on LinkedIn
  • Message your connections for tips on applying to their organizations. E.g. Hi David, I'm applying for a staff accountant job at JetBlue. Could you please give me any suggestions on how to get through the screening process?