If you’re in college, searching for a job or internship can feel like a full-time job itself. Take it from me, who spent 3 years job searching weekly before finally landing an offer! There are a ton of things you can do to increase your chances of getting seen by recruiters and hopefully find yourself in a first-round interview, and having an up-to-date LinkedIn should be a priority of yours during every stage of your job search.
Personally, I’ve only ever had one legitimate recruiter contact through LinkedIn, and it was actually a recruiter for LinkedIn. So I wouldn’t recommend using LinkedIn as a way to be found by recruiters necessarily, but rather a way to show recruiters you’re already in contact with that you’re a pretty cool person they should hire.
Almost every online application I’ve ever filled out had an entry box for my LinkedIn URL, so obviously recruiters want to see this, and any extra information you can give them about yourself is an advantage for you! Think of your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your resume (you wouldn’t hand in a year old resume to a recruiter, would you?), and it becomes a lot more obvious why keeping your LinkedIn profile fresh is important.
Update your actual resume first
This is what recruiters are going to look at first, so get this done before you move on to LinkedIn. I update my resume at the beginning of every semester, and check it for old information every couple weeks during the school year. This lets me add in any projects I’ve completed, events I’ve attended (like hackathons), and online classes I’ve finished!
You also want to make sure the information on your resume is the same as the information on your LinkedIn. If your resume says you’re a junior and your LinkedIn says you’re a sophomore, it’s pretty obvious you didn’t take the time to edit your profile before recruiting season!
Use a new profile picture every year or so
I personally made the cringy mistake of using my high school senior photos for my LinkedIn profile picture for almost two years of college, and my profile never felt “me” ish. It’s so easy to ask a friend to take a headshot of you in front of a simple background (like a building wall)! I like to update my picture every year so that if I changed my hair, a recruiter from the career fair will recognize me when looking at my LinkedIn later rather than finding 18 year old me with shoulder length curls.
Make your headline as detailed as possible
Your headline is the text that appears below your name on your profile. You can only put so many characters here before it becomes overwhelming, so being detailed requires getting a bit creative. My headline is “UT Engineering Student | Lifestyle Blogger”. Just having “Engineering” in there gives a recruiter a lot more information than just “UT Student”, and they can always check my profile to find that I’m specifically a Computer Engineering major.
I added “Lifestyle Blogger” because a common theme of my interview conversations is that my blog makes me different than other applicants. I’ve spent entire interviews talking about my blog in various contexts (the interviewer brings it up, not me), so I wanted to make sure that’s a part of my identity from the start!
Create a description within your Education section
LinkedIn has built in sections to add clubs you’re in or awards you’ve received, but I like adding that information to my Education section as well. That makes it easier to see everything I’ve done in college in one spot, and it’s easy to go in and update later!
Some default categories to use are Organizations, Leadership, and Awards. From there, you can add other categories relevant to your major like Published Articles, Conferences Attended, or Research.
Glance over your profile once a month
And even more often during recruiting season! A lot can happen in a month. You might’ve dropped/added a class, finished a side project, or increased your GPA. It takes like, 30 seconds to check for old information.
Feel free to check out my LinkedIn for more organization ideas and connect with me! Good luck to any of y’all currently looking for a job or internship—it’ll be over soon!
Btw, I’m trying to get as much college content out as I can before I graduate this year so pls send me any and all questions you want to see answered or topics you want covered! I’m really excited to start writing about my post-grad transition to working full-time, but my heart still lies in college content!