4 Fantastic Ways to Spice Up Your LinkedIn Profile (While in College)

Category: Jobs

If you want to improve your chances of getting a great job after you graduate, you need to start creating an optimized LinkedIn profile while in school.

You see, an optimized LinkedIn profile can help recruiters find you when looking to hire interns or new college grads.

Here are four ways to spice up your LinkedIn profile to get noticed:

1. Ask your professors for recommendations highlighting your skills.
One of the best ways to build credibility is to have professional recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.

When asking for recommendations, make sure you’re specific with what type of recommendation you want. If the person knows you’re skilled in a specific area, ask them to mention that in the recommendation.  You don’t want a generic “he/she is a great student” recommendation, but rather one that calls out specific skills you have. Remember, the goal is to show a recruiter about the value you bring to a company.

The more recommendations you have, the more you’ll “stand out” to a potential employer. You just need to start asking to get them.

2. Add media links to show examples of your student projects.
Just because you don’t have a professional portfolio of work yet doesn’t mean you can’t showcase the work you’ve done in college.

Have you ever been published in the college newspaper? Ever interned or donated time to a specific non-profit group? Ever worked on projects for a college organization?

Upload logos of the organizations you’ve worked with and visually show what you’ve done.

You don’t want to just list out your accomplishments like a resume, you want to visually showcase your work on LinkedIn.


  • Create a video talking about a project you’ve worked on
  • Add images or illustrations of some of your achievements in school
  • Upload a PowerPoint into SlideShare and add that link into your LinkedIn profile

Check out these helpful slides to give you some ideas:

Don’t just say it. Display it on your LinkedIn Profile. from LinkedIn

3. Join relevant professional groups and display on your profile.
One of the best ways to build relevant connections and get more eyeballs on your LinkedIn profile is to start networking in LinkedIn groups.

There are thousands of different types of professional groups on LinkedIn so start joining groups where professionals you’d like to work with are hanging out.  Joining a LinkedIn group will display that group logo on your LinkedIn profile and reveal more about your professional interests with recruiters.

The Harvard Business Review group is filled with professionals discussing articles and sharing insight:

Just make sure to add value when joining these LinkedIn groups – don’t spam or simply post links without thoughtful commentary.

4. Strategically add relevant keywords in your professional headline and throughout your LinkedIn profile.
Your LinkedIn headline is what will appear in the LinkedIn stream when a recruiter is searching out potential new employees. You want to be specific about what you’re looking for to attract the right kind of recruiter.

Your professional headline should reveal your career goal or type of profession you’re interested in (e.g. Computer Science Major, Graduating 2014 interested in Tech Startups in San Francisco).

Use relevant keywords throughout your profile; including in the: “Skills & Expertise” section, “Test Scores” section, and “Courses” section.

How are you going to improve your LinkedIn profile? What suggestions do you have for college students?

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How LinkedIn Can Help You Choose the Best College for Your Career

Category: College, Jobs


Are you wondering what colleges to apply to?

Are you curious where alumni at those colleges end up working? Or what career paths are most common?

Well, the LinkedIn College navigation tool provides you real-time data on what college alumni are doing and where they work.

Here is a peek at where U.C.L.A. alumni work (if studied there between 2000 and today):

And if you select a specific company, you can get data on what types of jobs alumni have there. For example, here are the types of roles U.C.L.A. alumni have at Google:

You can also drill-down further by creating filters by location (if interested in knowing what alumni are doing in your area).

For example, U.C.L.A. alumni in San Francisco work at Google, Cisco, Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente, etc. And many alumni in the Bay Area work in engineering, entrepreneurship, research,  sales, and education.

The LinkedIn data is not complete since it is only based on what alumni have revealed about themselves on LinkedIn, but this is still a great tool to see where many alumni work. You can dig even further by seeing the LinkedIn profiles of alumni that work in those occupations in specific areas.

The LinkedIn education section can also help you choose a college based on student/faculty ratio, graduation rate, student population, and % admitted and graduated.

Here are stats from LinkedIn about U.C.L.A.:


You can also get a snapshot of how many students are receiving financial aid – as well as cost to attend each year:

Where you attend college does not dictate what you’ll do or where you’ll work. However, if you’re interested in working in a specific professional field, this college navigation tool can help you choose a school that fits your career goals.

The LinkedIn education tool is still in its infancy so not all data is available on all colleges. And there is a lot more this tool can help you with in the future as you build your alumni network.

How will you use this college navigation tool? How would you like to see this improved?

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5 Ways Students Can Sabotage Their LinkedIn Profile

Category: Jobs

Getting a great job after you graduate college is difficult – especially when your resume is competing against hundreds or thousands of others.

This is why you need to create an optimized LinkedIn profile while in college and begin building meaningful business relationships as early as possible.

And you want to make sure you don’t sabotage your job search on LinkedIn by making these 5 mistakes:

1. You’ll sabotage your job search by lying on your LinkedIn profile.
A recent study found that 70% of college students surveyed would lie on a resume to get the job they want, so just graduating from college can make you a prime suspect of lying on your resume.

Lying on your resume (or on LinkedIn) is not only unethical, but you’ll get fired once the lie is exposed. Recently, Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson lost his job after only four months on the job since he lied about his educational background and Teresa MacBain lost her job at Harvard because she misrepresented her education.

Avoid the guilt and worry by just being upfront and honest on LinkedIn.  Besides, Human Resource professionals will conduct a background check on you – and may conduct a more thorough investigation after you’re hired if they suspect you’ve lied and/or aren’t qualified for the job.

2. You’ll sabotage your job search on LinkedIn by making spelling and/or grammatical mistakes.
It’s easy to make a typo or grammatical error when completing the different sections on your LinkedIn profile.  This is why it’s important to have one or two colleagues proofread your profile for any errors.  Ask him or her to give you suggestions on how you can make your LinkedIn profile even better.  The more people reviewing your profile for errors, the better. You don’t want to make a poor impression online simply because you accidentally misspelled something.

3. You’ll sabotage your job search on LinkedIn by linking to unprofessional social profiles.
At the top of your LinkedIn profile, you can add links to your web content (social profiles, blog, etc.). How do you appear on  social profiles like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or even Yelp? What is your attitude like? What are you sharing?

34% of employers found content that has caused them not to hire a candidate due to social media activity (e.g. making discriminatory comments, evidence of drug use, poor communication skills, bad mouthed previous employers, etc.). Realize that the content you share on public social platforms can hurt your chances of getting your dream job. Be mindful of what you’re doing online and think ahead about the consequences. If you’ve made mistakes, delete those posts if possible.

4. You’ll sabotage your job search on LinkedIn by writing vague descriptions about your job history.
Don’t simply write that you” helped increase sales” or “increased the bottom line” describing your accomplishments.  Be specific and add detail for what you actually did.  How many projects did you complete each month? How much revenue did you help the company make? What percentage of increase did you achieve for a specific metric? Be specific so that recruiters know exactly what you accomplished for the company. Boring and vague LinkedIn job descriptions will hurt your chances of getting recruited.

5. You’ll sabotage your job search on LinkedIn by not having any endorsements or recommendations.
LinkedIn recommends that you have at least two recommendations on your profile (and that is a minimum).  If you want to show companies that you’re a highly driven and productive, make sure to have colleagues (or even college professors) recommending and endorsing your skills on LinkedIn.  Even if you’ve never had a “real” job because you’ve been focused on getting through college, you probably have some professors that can recommend your expertise in a certain field.

Often, you won’t get recommendation unless you ask, so start asking now.  And make sure to return the favor by recommending people you know do excellent work.

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How to Build a Strong Network on LinkedIn (While Still in College)

Category: Jobs

LinkedIn can help you get into your dream job after college by helping you find and network with professionals who work in career fields you’re interested in.

You see, the stronger your network, the more reach you’ll have to connect with others at key organizations you want to work at.  You’ll also have the ability to request introductions to those you don’t know – by asking someone in your network to introduce you.

Here are three powerful ways to build a strong network while in college:

1. Join your college alumni group on LinkedIn to connect with professionals in careers you’re interested in.
If you haven’t joined an LinkedIn college alumni group, you’re missing out.  There are often dozens of alumni groups for each college based on:

  • School (Engineering, Business, Economics, Law)
  • Region (Cities where grads live now)
  • Career field (Alumni who work in specific career fields)
  • Athletics

I just did a quick search to see how many alumni groups existed for UCLA and see 665 at the moment.  This means UCLA alumni can probably build a very strong network very quickly by spending time engaging in a number of relevant groups.

Simply by joining relevant college alumni groups on LinkedIn, you’ll get a chance to meet and build relevant connects with dozens if not hundreds of alumni.  Take the time to build connections especially with those that work in career fields you’re interested in.

These groups can be a great place to ask your career questions and get advice from those who work at companies where you want to work.

2. Use LinkedIn “College Alumni Search” to learn where alumni are working and how many live close to you (so you can possibly meet up for coffee).

Many people don’t know that LinkedIn has a college alumni section to help you quickly find professionals who attended your college.  This search tool is a great way to find alumni based on location, career field, and companies they work at.

In seconds, I found out there are 1,091 alumni that live close to me – and 393 of them work in a similar career field as me.

This college alumni tool is a gold mine for helping you connect and find alumni that you can relate with on many levels.  Take advantage of this tool and start building some key business relationships.

Tip: Focus on building relationships with alumni who live close to you so that you might have opportunities to meet-up at some point.

3. Connect with consultants and professionals who write articles that help you learn more about your targeted industry.

It’s important to be strategic in how you connect with others on LinkedIn.  You might find value in connecting with anyone (to increase your reach), but it’s most important to connect with those professionals that bring you value and those that you might be able to help as well.

If you’re focused on getting into a specific career field, make sure you’re reading blogs and articles from those professionals who work in it.  Read their articles and leave thoughtful comments regularly so that he/she gets to know a little bit about you.  So when you finally do reach out to connect on LinkedIn, he/she knows who you are and a connection will be made.

Tip: Make sure to always write a thoughtful note when making an introduction. You could thank the person for their articles and/or help with your future career plans.

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How to Use LinkedIn to Get Your Resume into the Right Hands

Category: Jobs

Applying for jobs through a job search engine (e.g. Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com) or blindly emailing in resumes to human resource departments is almost worthless. You might as well just print out your resume and stick directly into a shredder.

Busy recruiters at top companies get hundreds of resumes every week – if not thousands.  It doesn’t matter how perfect you are for the job, your resume is just not likely to get seen by the right person.  It’s a numbers game and you’re probably just one resume in a thousand.

This is why you need a strategic approach to get your resume and/or online LinkedIn profile reviewed by the right person.

Let me share with you 5 creative ways to use LinkedIn to bypass the HR email inbox and get noticed:

1. Study the company LinkedIn profile to find employee list.
Once you’ve identified the job you want, go to the LinkedIn Company search page and find the company you want to apply to.

If you’re applying for a company that has offices in multiple locations, use the advanced LinkedIn search features to find the offices closest to you (and those offices where you have 1st and second degree connections if possible).

When you arrive at the company profile page, look on the right-hand side to see the “How You’re Connected” box and click on the “See all” link.

2. Use LinkedIn advanced people search to identify employees who work on the team you want to work on (and recruiters hiring for that position).

Once you’ve identified the company and see the full list of employees, use LinkedIn advanced search to find people who work in the business unit you’re interested in.  You could avoid the first step by going straight to this “people search” section, but I find it easier to start with company and location search first.

When conducting searches,  try relevant keyword queries based on the person who might be involved in hiring for the position you want.

Here are a few queries to try:

  • [Business Unit] + [Title]  (e.g. Marketing Director, Marketing V.P.)
  • [Business Unit] + Recruitment (e.g. Sales Recruitment, Sales recruiter)
  • Recruiter

You can also find people you’re closely connected with at that company by finding relevant “Groups” you share with employees.

3. Get noticed by viewing recruiter profiles regularly.

Recruiters and those hiring use LinkedIn all the time to find potential candidates.  One way to get noticed by them is to make sure you’re visiting the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile and those senior leaders that work in the department you’re aiming to work in.

You see, simply by visiting those key LinkedIn profiles means that they can see you in the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section.  And recruiters usually have LinkedIn premium versions so they can see everyone who is viewing their profile.

Just make sure you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profile so that you’re profile matches the type of employee they are looking to hire.  Also make sure you have  privacy settings that allow others to know who you are when viewing their profile.

TIP: If you want recruiters to view your LinkedIn profile, you need to view them first.

4. Send a brief and polite message to the recruiter or hiring director.

Your first impression with a recruiter or hiring manager is key. You want your first message to be clear, concise, and nice.

Remember hiring managers are very busy and receive lots of email.  Just send them a brief note on LinkedIn informing them of your interest in the position they are hiring for.

Here is a template you can use:


Remember to be respectful of his/her time. Don’t bug them with another message if you don’t hear back. The point is that you’ve established contact and let them know your interest.

Most of the time, recruiters are looking to build their LinkedIn connections, so they will probably connect with you. And then you’ll have more 2cnd degree connections at the company you might be able to reach out to with questions.

5. Mail in your resume to the hiring manager.

Now that you’ve identified the hiring manager, you know the name of the person to send your resume to. Most people don’t use snail mail anymore, so that’s why you’ll break through the email clutter and get a physical copy of your resume on the desk of the hiring manager.

Key takeaways:

  • Use LinkedIn to find employees at the company where you want to work
  • View and study profiles of hiring managers and recruiters
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile to highlight the applicable skills and experiences that fit the job you want
  • Be clear, concise, and polite in your LinkedIn messages
  • Don’t bug anyone – just share your interest and build connections

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