If you have never heard of it, LinkedIn is probably the best professional development app/social media platform that exists. I hadn’t really been into it until my friend showed how she utilized it my junior year of college. It’s an amazing place to grow and connect with your peers professionally, and also with potential recruiters at all of the top companies!
This post will share all of my LinkedIn tips for college students, but I’ll start by describing what LinkedIn is! Business News Daily stated that LinkedIn is “a social network for the business community.” That just means that it’s basically a Facebook profile that lets you get ahead in whatever industry you happen to be trying to break into!
It’s great for networking with other students/colleagues, seeing what’s up in the business world/global economy, connecting with potential employers, as well as applying to jobs/internships! In this post, I’m going to share more about how to make the most out of LinkedIn and in just 10 easy steps!
How to Make the Most Out of LinkedIn (in 10 Easy Steps!)
My Top 10 Tips for LinkedIn
1. Connect with your peers:
This is an awesome tip because it allows you to not only connect with other students on your campus, but it also allows you to see what clubs they’re in that you can also join! The coolest part to me is that if there currently ISN’T a club that interests you on your campus, this is a wonderful way to find people with similar interests to join yours.
That right there can provide great networking opportunities as well as connections that can help you in the future/in your career. It can also help you in the future when you’re looking for a job. As you can see below, you can search for people and then specify by area, similar connections, and by the company they work for.
I have shamelessly looked at the accounts of students at the top fashion schools and utilized that knowledge to apply to companies they interned for! It was hard being a fashion major at a smaller school because there aren’t an insane amount of opportunities near you. That’s why LinkedIn comes so in handy!
2. Connect with your professors:
This is a super awesome tip because your professors are your gateway to the industry. They’ve likely been in it and/or worked somewhere that you can potentially start your career in! I added all of my professors while in school and it’s how I keep up with them to this day. They also likely share relevant articles to the industry you’re in which can help you navigate the best companies to work for!
An easy way to find some of your professors is to go to the LinkedIn profile of your college and then look for Alumni. It’s likely your professors have that listed in their bios OR you’ll find previous students who are connected with your professors. If you click the “See Alumni” button all those people will pop up! You can also click the “See all ____ employees on LinkedIn” button which will show all the employees on your campus.
3. Connect with previous co-workers/managers:
This one isn’t as important honestly. If you’re friends with them on other social media platforms (which I am), then I feel like this tip isn’t AS important especially if they don’t even have a LinkedIn account! That being said, it is important to stay in contact with them. I was very close with my previous manager when I worked retail and she helped me in a pinch when I needed a letter of recommendation fast.
An easy way to find your previous managers is to search by company and location. If you go back to the search page, filter by those two things! Since I worked at LOFT in Augusta I filtered to Augusta, GA as well as Ann Inc. (our parent company). If you happened to work in McDonald’s in Atlanta, GA I would suggest being a little more clear and trying to narrow down to that exact area.
4. Follow/Keep up with brands you hope to work for:
This is another super important tip! If you want to work for a brand, you need to familiarize yourself with it as well as the people who currently work there (especially hiring managers!!!!). When I was applying for internships AND full-time jobs, I religiously searched for companies and hiring managers on a day to day basis to try and get my profile in front of them.
I’m not going to say this is the reason I got my current full-time role, but I hadn’t heard anything at all from them. A week after I messaged a recruiter, I got an interview! Since I am in the fashion industry, I chose a few specific companies to follow and then I started researching (through LinkedIn) who the main corporate hiring managers are. It lets you get your face and resume in front of them before you start applying to jobs.
As you can see below, I searched for Banana Republic on LinkedIn. I then decided to go more in depth and see the employees that are currently working there. This will show you anyone from corporate employees all the way down to sales associates. This is a foolproof way to get noticed by recruiters and my best advice for college graduates looking for a job.
5. Use it to stay up to date with industry happenings and world events:
This is probably the easiest task. LinkedIn makes it super easy to stay in the know and even allows you to follow different topics. This is one feature I love because seeing real world updates is important. It’s a way to show that you’re involved and that you care about world news outside of whatever bubble you live in! I would suggest not being too radical with any posts you share; however, if it relates to your field go for it!
As you can see on the right hand column (“Add to Feed“), LinkedIn gives you topics and/or people they think you might enjoy seeing on your feed. If you follow these topics, the news related to each will pop up when anything important or pivotal happens! I follow retail of course, but also have ended up adding even more topics I’m interested in.
6. Use it as a second resume (with more info):
Resume’s have to be super cut down with only a few places of previous employment. If you’ve done more than that, it can mess up showing potential employers all the experience you have! I had way more than 3-4 prior experiences to add to my resume, but I only wanted to keep my resume on one page. My LinkedIn profile allowed me to elaborate and also add volunteer experience and skills too!
On the flip side of this, LinkedIn is a great platform to help with getting a job after college with no experience. If you show what you’re interested in, comment on posts recruiters share, and create meaningful interactions, this can all help with your job search! I had to work through high school and college so I was not in this boat, but if you have the degree and the passion even without experience in your field, that will shine through!
You’re also able to list relevant classes, skills, and any volunteer work that you’ve done/completed. The cool thing about this is that you can also add links to articles or previous posts you have. For me, I had done some writing gigs so I put the best samples of my work on my profile!
7. Use it to apply for jobs/internships:
What’s the whole reason you made a LinkedIn? TO GET A JOB. So why not use this opportunity to search for some?! They offer the option for brands to post listings as well as for people to apply to those listings! Consider LinkedIn the middle man. The company posts the open position, then you can apply for it!
The greatest feature that LinkedIn offers is a “quick apply” feature that saves your inputted info on your account and sends it over to the recruiter with a click of a button! This is one reason you want to make sure your profile is in tip top shape. If you use the quick apply feature and have grammatical errors all over the place, no one will take you seriously!
I recommend just copying and pasting straight from your resume. Sometimes you need to adjust bullet points and such, but that’s easier than trying to re-type it all again! The less manual editing the better. I also have a whole post about How to Create a Killer Resume that you can read (here)!
You can see the jobs tab at the top of the screen which is where you’ll click. The cool thing about this is once you’ve been using LinkedIn for a while, they’ll start matching you with jobs that fit your previous searches and follows. This is especially awesome when you’ve spent months searching for a specific job type (aka what I did).
8. Use a close-up photo of you (SMILING) and looking professional for your profile:
This is now a cosmetic tip. Nobody wants to hire a mean-looking, solemn faced person who dresses unprofessionally. They want someone who is happy and excited to work/be there! Don’t make it too overkill though and be sure that it still looks professional. For men, I suggest a photo in a nice button up and/or blazer with a tie. For women, you can really do whatever you choose as long as it’s business casual!
Make sure to use a professional photo (or a head shot type photo) for your profile. For the banner photo, use something that speaks to who you are (nothing obscene or controversial obviously)!
For me, my blog is a huge part of what I do/my contribution to fashion so I have my logo as my header. I DID have my blog logo as my header, but now I just use the generic LinkedIn cover photo. I think this a safe tip UNLESS you own your own company.
9. For your title, always use your most current job OR that you’re a student and add your major:
For me, I have my current job position listed as my title. It’s a really important position with a very amazing company and I want to display that. To update on this, when I was looking for an internship my last semester on campus, I changed it to the title of my major! I had it as “Fashion Merchandising/Apparel Design at Georgia Southern University.” This is a good tip to use because it’s the first thing a recruiter will see!
When it comes to your bio, if you’re looking for an internship, put that! If you’re seeking a full-time position, put that! If you have experience in a certain field that will help you in your job search, PUT THAT. Whatever you do, just make sure that it sounds professional and concise. Start with what your major is, what type of position you’re looking for, and end it by speaking to what experience/skills you have!
As you can see, in mine I stated my current year in school, my major, my experience, as well as skills I have gained from classes and blogging. These few sentences help jobs to immediately know your essence and level of skill! Mine was pretty established at that point, but always make sure to update it with any new experiences you’re able to gain in the industry or by yourself.
10. Make sure to list your skills:
There are two kinds of skills: soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are simple ones such as customer service and retail. Hard skills are ones involving programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop (basically anything you had to take a class for or that you don’t know from just existing in life). You need to make sure that you list hard skills on both your LinkedIn profile as well as your resume!
On your resume, you should only list hard skills in a separate section; however, since this is LinkedIn, it’s totally fine to list your soft skills as well. I only suggest adding skills to your resume at all if you don’t have as much (or any) experience. Companies want to see where you’ve worked and what experience you have over the skills you’ve acquired!
The great thing about LinkedIn though is that listing soft skills doesn’t hurt you at all! Another great feature is that our connections (the people you add and interact with) can also “endorse” these attributes/skills and prove their credibility. I don’t know how much weight this holds with companies, but it surely can’t hurt!
LinkedIn Profile for Fresh Graduates – Example
I wanted to also add a mini section to this post about what a LinkedIn profile looks like for fresh and new graduates. This is really important especially if you haven’t secured a job post-graduation. The things to really focus on here are your experience, your title, and your profile summary.
Name: Amanda Johnson (Full Name – No nickname unless you only go by that)
Title: Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Merchandising/Apparel Design
Location: Atlanta, Georgia (Can help recruiters in that area find you)
I am currently a recent graduate of *insert college*. I hold a Bachelor of *insert degree* in *insert degree* with a minor in *insert minor*. I have experience in *insert experience* from *insert where you gained experience from (school, YouTube, working, etc)*. I was also able to gain experience in *insert relevant field/topic* and expand upon my proficiency with *insert system* through my internships with *insert companies previously worked for* this past year.
- Add at least three of your most relevant jobs/internships.
- If you don’t have any prior experience, add any club titles you held (i.e. president, treasurer, secretary), any campus involvement (i.e. sororities, fraternities, clubs), or any relevant volunteer experience.
- Add relevant skills to the bottom of your profile.
- Add relevant coursework/courses that you’ve completed in school.
- Add any honors or awards to your profile (i.e. honors, symposiums, etc.).
Well I hope this post showed you my How to Get the Most Out Of LinkedIn (10 Easy Steps!)! These are all of my LinkedIn tips for 2020 and they should be just the thing you need to get a job. I only found out about LinkedIn a few years ago and only started seriously pursuing it as a method of job hunting about two years ago.
These are a lot of LinkedIn tips for job seekers that I curated and hope they’re able to help! This tips helped me to score my dream position (read more about that here) and I know it’ll help you to do the same! If you’d like to look at my profile or sign up, use the (link) here. If you already have one, connect with me!
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