Success: LinkedIn Tips for UC Davis Students

LinkedIn is great way to start your career even when you’re still a UC Davis student. In fact the Internet is full of really useful LinkedIn tips for students and recent grads. Here is just a sampling.

LinkedIn itself offers a very instructive section for students called LinkedIn University. Below is a video that explains it all. You should definitely go here first.

US News also has 9 LinkedIn Tips for College Students and Recent Graduates. Here are a few of our favorites:Linkedin Tips for College Students

1. Leverage the LinkedIn Network: LinkedIn’s massive user list (100 million plus) is one of its biggest assets. When you start with LinkedIn, you might have two connections – or you might have 100. But you have access to a network of thousands – you’re just separated by a degree or two. 2nd degree users are the friends of your friends. The 3rd degree level includes all the people whose friends know your friends, and can number in the millions. Growing your network through your connections is easy.
2. Use Introductions to Grow Your Connections: LinkedIn’s introductions feature can help build your network or find a contact at a firm you’re interested in. You can see the connections between you and the person you want to meet, and then use the introduction form to request an introduction. Your connection will decide whether or not to pass it along. No pressure, and no awkward “ask.”

3. Apply For a Job: LinkedIn posts content of interest – including job openings – on your home page. While LinkedIn is not solely a job board, plenty of job hunting and hiring is taking place. Click on a job description and view the company profile, see who works at the firm and view the job poster’s profile. See if you’re connected, or request an introduction. Or, apply for the job by uploading a cover letter and resume. With LinkedIn, you can deliver your credentials right into the job poster’s hands.

4. Join a Group: Networking through LinkedIn groups is a quick and easy way to meet people without requesting an introduction. Groups are formed around industries, college affiliations, clubs and associations; based on your profile, LinkedIn will suggest groups for you. So join in, participate in discussions and you’ll soon feel comfortable asking for career advice or help with your job search.

, Director of Product  Marketing at offers 10 LinkedIn Tips for Students & New Grads. Here are some good ones:

1) Upload an appropriate photo.

Far too many LinkedIn members don’t have a profile photo. It’s their loss, because profiles with one get 14x more views.

It just makes the whole experience real – for you and for other members and employers. I’ve even heard of hiring managers or potential connections using it a first filter – no profile photo? You’re out, before you even got the chance to interview or get connected.

Find (or take!) a high-quality photo of you alone, professionally dressed, facing forward. Nothing inappropriate. No party shots, cartoon avatars, or puppy pics! LinkedIn is not Facebook or Instagram, and it’s definitely not Snapchat.

And don’t be creepy, like this guy…But just as creepy as his profile pic? Not having one at all.

Don’t forget to smile!

2) Write an informative but punchy profile headline.

This is a short, memorable professional ‘slogan.’ It’s the one thing you want a recruiter, hiring manager, or future co-worker to know about you. Tell them what you’re excited about now – and if you can say it succinctly – the great stuff you want to do in the future.

For example: “Honors student seeking marketing position” or “Engineer building game-changing consumer products.”

Need ideas? Check out profiles of co-workers you admire or recent alumni. A great way to find successful grads is LinkedIn’s awesome Alumni Tool. It lets you narrow down alumni of your school by where they work, live, and more. Most alumni will gladly respond to a connection request from a student or new grad who has a shared alma mater.

One other thing: Avoid lame clichés. Don’t be a “code ninja” or an “SEO guru.”

Same goes for buzzwords like “strategic,” “creative,” and “responsible.” They’re on the list of the most overused (and meaningless) on LinkedIn profiles.

3) Don’t cut corners on the Summary statement.

This section is the main place for you to stand out; it colors in and adds a ‘story’ element to your experience and your aspirations.

Think of the Summary like the first few paragraphs of your best-written cover letter: Concise about your experience, qualifications, and goals – and if you can, with a compelling narrative weaved throughout. Describe what motivates you, what you’ve done and are skilled at, and what makes you unique. Be clear and confident (even if you’re really not – only you has to know that!).

And you want to use keywords and phrases that recruiters might search for. Go with terms that are well known (e.g., ‘product management,’ ‘graphic design,’ ‘data analysis’) but if you have a very specific skill set, don’t be afraid to mention it here.

4) Be smart about your experience.

List the jobs you’ve held and a brief description of what you were responsible for and what you accomplished. You can choose to make it either more or less detailed than your resume. What really matters is that you’re not leaving out critical details about your work history. If you’ve held more than one job somewhere (including a promotion), list all of them with dates so that people can see you progressed and took on more responsibility. You can even add work projects, photos, or videos to specific jobs you list (more on that in #8 below).

And think broadly about your ‘experience.’ Be sure to include volunteer activities if you have them, under “Volunteer Experience & Causes.” 41% of LinkedIn recruiters say they consider it on par with full-time paid work experience. And 20% of hiring managers in the U.S. say they’ve hired someone because of volunteer experience. It’s also a good profile addition because it tells people something unique and personal about you; it reveals your passions and rounds you out as a human being.

5) Complete additional profile sections tailored to career starters.

Don’t have a lot of work experience? Don’t worry! Your profile can still rock.

I mentioned volunteer experience above; you should also list all (relevant) part-time or unpaid work, including contracting or internships, you want people to know about. And you can list organizations you’ve been involved with or support as well.

If you earned a prize or recognition (whether in or out of school), you can list it under “Honors & Awards.” You can also list classes, languages, certifications, or team projects that demonstrate the skills you’ve worked hard to acquire.

Personally, I recommend you include your GPA if it’s north of a 3.3 on a 4.0 scale. Most profiles don’t list test scores – perceived to be a bit showy, not to mention largely irrelevant to ability to perform in a job – but it’s there if you’re thin on actual work experience and are particularly proud of how you scored on stuff like the SAT/ACT, GMAT, LSAT, GRE, etc.

And don’t forget to list all of your education. Include your major(s), minor(s), and any study abroad or summer programs.

Remember: Don’t be shy — LinkedIn is an appropriate place to show off your achievements, experience, courses, and GPA. Let the world know!

Meanwhile the SocialU101 offers, 6 LinkedIn Do’s & Don’t’s for College Students, offers some very important DON’Ts:

1. DON’T be a pushy LinkedIn inviter

Honestly, this topic could take up an entire post by itself. In this case, however, my answer is simple: send LinkedIn requests the same way you would flirt with someone at a party – the goal is to come off confident, but not too obvious. The “over-eager requestor” is a classic example of someone who comes off as too obvious and aggressive.

Over-aggression is counterproductive in two ways. First, college students and entry-level employees usually connect with LinkedIn users to get things from them and cannot reciprocate much back. In the professional world, networking is much more about mutual self-interest – I’ll connect with you because we can both help each other get ahead.  Not so with a college student..  Aggressively requesting an industry professional right after you meet them makes it obvious that you want them to get you a job and furthers this “gimme” perception.

Second and more importantly, meeting someone in person and then requesting to connect in the span of 10 minutes cheats you out of an opportunity to get noticed and prolong your interaction. Requesting someone right after they give you a presentation almost guarantees they forget about you. They are obviously away from their office, so your request to connect will be buried by other emails. If they do accept you on the Linkedin mobile app, the chance they actually view your profile is pretty slim because they are busy getting back to their office or finishing up the presentation. The end goal in sending your request should be twofold – get them to remember you and have them view your profile.

2. DON’T overly rely on LinkedIn job postings 

These postings are open to the entire LinkedIn user population, so the acceptance rate is rather low. With some exceptions, high-paying, highly sought-after jobs don’t get posted there because companies have no problem finding qualified applicants. Even if companies do post good jobs on Linkedin, the chance that a random Linkedin user can rise to the top of the applicant pool is limited. A better approach is using Linkedin to gain footing with higher-ups inside a company and having them be your agent during the hiring process, as I said above in the DO section. However, good luck beating these applicants out as a random Linkedin job posting applicant. I’m not saying you shouldn’t cast a wide net, especially in this economy, but don’t put many eggs in the Linkedin job posting basket. Diversify.

3. DON’T be shy!

Join groups you’re interested in and follow companies that intrigue you. When you join groups, you expand your searchable network to all group members, which is an obvious plus. Also, by posting in groups, you encourage others to interact with you and view your profile, inflating your Linkedin footprint. Following companies give you talking points with interviewers and keeps you up-to-date with company news. Linkedin passed 150 million users in February of this year so being a shy and inactive user makes you part of a crowd of 150,000,000. So, stand out, be active, and leverage this amazing social network.

Finally Supercompressor,com (who is fond of shouting in ALL CAPS) tells you the 16 WAYS YOU’RE USING LINKEDIN WRONG. Here are just a few:

Your headline makes no sense

Aside from your name and photo, the first thing people are going to see is your professional headline. “Entrepreneur at Large Who Does Social Media Jiu Jitsu” is not an accurate career description. No one is coming to LinkedIn to bask in your wit. Being vague won’t get you anywhere either—embrace your speciality! Instead of just putting “Marketing,” put “Feline Marketer and Social Media Cat Expert,” if that’s what you are bringing to the table.

You haven’t made a custom URL

This accomplishes a few things: first off, having your profile link as “,” instead of “ looks more professional. It will also make it all the easier for people to find you, which on LinkedIn is what you should be going for. Lastly, it will give you the opportunity to give others your profile address out loud while networking in real life. People still do that, right?

Your summary sucks

What’s the biggest turn-off Ceren sees on LinkedIn pages? “Having a really weird summary. For example, when an individual talks about themselves in the third person and says how awesome they are and how lucky any company would be to get them, that to me says they might not get along with people and could posses a diva personality.”

Your summary is your elevator pitch. Once you have someone’s attention, you have a few seconds to convince someone you are valuable. Think of it as a succinct, applicable cover letter. Be conversational, but keep the focus on your career.

You copied and pasted your resume

For all intents and purposes, LinkedIn should be your resume on steroids. You have an opportunity to hyperlink to your work, references, and previous employers. You can highlight big projects you’ve worked on, and shed some light on what you’ve achieved. Include certifications, references, all of your education, and anything else that can make your profile more robust.

Bonus: LinkedIn has a built-in Resume Maker that can help adapt your skillfully-made profile into a streamlined resume.

You’re not using buzzwords

One thing Ceren stressed was the importance of keywords in a profile. Recruiters and employers are trained to quickly scan through multiple resumes/profiles to efficiently pick out candidates who have the right stuff. Obviously, these keywords will vary greatly from industry to industry, but you can use the resumes/profiles of proven professionals in your desired career field as a guiding light.

Using buzzwords and SEO is also key in the area of automated scanning, where companies use computers to file through resumes and profiles, picking up the ones that include the aforementioned keywords.

You’re connecting with the wrong people

Does having a large number of connections matter? Not at all,” Ceren said. “For a recruiter, like me, yes. But not to job hunters.”  Bottom line: connect with the people who matter in your industry. Don’t worry about collecting connections like Facebook likes. LinkedIn is not a popularity contest.

When you do connect, you’re doing it the hard way

One of the most annoying parts about connecting with people on LinkedIn is having to answer a quick questionnaire proving that you actually know them from school, work, or mutual friends. There is a way around this. Instead of requesting a connection with someone on their profile page, request a connection on the search page. For whatever reason, this bypasses the interrogation process. You can also source your connections from your email address bookby going to the “Connections” tab and selecting “Add Connections.” Also, disable notifications (it’s all in your privacy tab) for your unimportant activity, so your connections aren’t getting an email every time you add a minor update.