Give Your LinkedIn Profile Some Swag

LinkedIn Profile for College Students and Recent Grads

Your LinkedIn profile should tell a story. But most people on LinkedIn are missing parts of their story, which makes for a confusing self-portrait. You might feel you don’t have any experience, connections, or valuable things to say on something as professional as LinkedIn.

Styling Your Profile

Here are 10 tips that will help you overcome this feeling and create a solid LinkedIn profile before you start connecting with people and/or using it as a job search tool:

  1. Upload a smiling photo of just you. No group photos please. Make sure it’s high resolution, that you are wearing a professional outfit (no revealing tops, girls), and it (preferably) has a solid background.
  2. Style your profile based upon someone’s you admire—maybe someone high up in your industry.
  3. Get your profile to 100%. That means filling in all sections of your profile and asking for recommendations!
  4. Your title (the phrase that appears under your name) can be anything you want. It doesn’t need to be an actual job title. Use this as an opportunity to brand yourself. You might want to consider something like “aspiring legal professional” or “recent graduate looking for work in public relations.” These descriptive phrases are keyword-heavy and, let’s admit it, truthful.
  5. Also, make sure your summary and specialties are keyword-rich and include the types of positions you are seeking.
  6. Don’t know what to put under work history? I promise you have something to say here! Include volunteer work, extracurricular activities, internships, college jobs, freelance work, etc. If you don’t have any of this, make it happen!
  7. Make sure to list all of your experience. LinkedIn uses your work history to recommend connections to you. And their recommendations are usually excellent!
  8. Join groups related to your industry and career interests. This helps complete your “story” and offers something your resume doesn’t. The logo of each group will show up toward the bottom of your profile, so it makes it a little prettier.   
  9. Get recommended by a few people. Aim for one at each position you’ve been in. You can even get recommendations from professors. Having recommendations sets you apart from otherLinkedIn and shows you have the savvy to ask someone for this favor.
  10. Make sure to keep your profile up to date with each new job, award, etc. that you receive.

Finding Connections

You may think you don’t know anybody important. But here’s a list of connections you probably already have:

  • College career center staff
  • Parents and other relatives
  • Friends
  • Internship managers and colleagues
  • Former bosses
  • Connections from volunteering

LinkedIn also includes a function where it scans your email and Facebook accounts for contacts you have that are also on LinkedIn. Definitely take advantage of this!


Hopefully, these easy-to-implement tips help you claim your fame on LinkedIn! One final but very important suggestion is to claim your public profile URL. Add your first and last name to the end of the standard prefix (e.g., And add your initial if your name is common. Once this is done, add the URL to your resume and other social media profiles, too.

What strategies have you used to give your LinkedIn Profile some swag? Share with us in the comment box below!

About the Author: Michelle Barbeau

Michelle Barbeau graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2006 with a B.A. in English and minor in Professional Writing. She is currently in graduate school working toward a Masters in Rhetoric and Writing. Michelle has worked as an editor and writer for four years and teaches Freshman Composition at a local university. She also considers herself an authority in resume writing and acing the GRE, and provides free resume critiques to potential clients. To learn more about Michelle's resume critiques and read more of her insightful career expertise, check out her career advice blog.

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