Linked profiles are quickly becoming the digital age’s answer to the traditional paper-based CV. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a dynamic online CV.

Graduate recruiters are using LinkedIn to fill jobs and tech savvy job hunters have been using the site to network with other professionals in the field or to ‘follow’ companies they wish to work for.

Edit: I originally wrote this post in 2011 and thought it was time for an update since LinkedIn has gone through a few changes since then. However, in as much as LinkedIn’s look and feel has changed over the last two years,  the basics of creating an All-Star profile still remains the same.

Top 10 tips for a killer LinkedIn graduate profile:

1. Write your headline – LinkedIn automatically puts your current position as your profile headline. Change it. Try to stand out by stating what you have to offer and identifying your unique selling point to attract recruiters. 

Do: “Psychology Graduate, Specialising in Survey Design. Interested in Market Research and Analysis”

Don’t: “Motivated Graduate Looking to Work in Market Research”

2. Choose an appropriate photo – LinkedIn is not Facebook, so having a photo of you holding a glass of wine is a no-no. Neither should you feel that you have to put your passport photo up. Choose a good headshot with a neutral/inoffensive background. You want to be personable and yet professional. People will make assumptions based on your photos so you might as well make it a good one.

3. Use keywords – Use keywords when describing your work. The more industry relevant keywords you have in your profile, the higher you are on a recruiter’s search rankings. This increases the chances of your profile getting noticed. Breakout the keywords in the skills section since this will come up in search as well, extra points if you can rack up endorsements for your skills.

Keywords is not just about industry buzzwords. Often graduates forget that the programming languages, or industry specific tools like Google Analytics, Photoshop, etc. are keywords that should be found on their profile rather than just something like “campaign management”.

4. Only include relevant jobs – If you’re applying to be an accountant for one of the Big 4 you probably don’t need to say you served Big Macs at 16.

5. Complete the summary – Treat it like your short personal advertisement/covering letter. Assert your personality and sell yourself. There’s also a lot of scope to be creative here, why not try embedding a short video clip where you talk about yourself?

6. Highlight what you can do – LinkedIn has introduced a new section where you can add your skills, languages, certifications and publications.  The skills section allows recruiters to search for a particular combination of skills, which you may well have. As above, get endorsements for your skills where you can.

Do: Brag about your achievements

Don’t: Lie or stretch the truth about the number and extent of your skills

You can also make your profile a bit more visual by adding links, Slideshare presentations, videos and images to showcase your work. As in the example below, I have included links to other websites I’ve worked on as well as information about each individual project I’ve been involved in.


7. Get recommendations – If you did an internship and made a great impression on your employers, don’t be afraid to approach them for a recommendation. It basically lends your profile more credibility. Plus, what’s better than a third-party endorsement?

8. Claim your vanity URL – Personalise the web address for your LinkedIn profile. This helps your results especially if employers search for you on Google.

9. Adjust your public profile settings – Go to the settings and select which sections are visible on your public profile. I would recommend having the summary, your current position, skills and education visible. There’s no point in crafting a killer profile and then hiding it under a bushel.

10. Update regularly – Your profile should evolve with you. It’s been a while since I’ve been a fresh graduate so I’ve made sure to update my own LinkedIn profile at appropriate points in my career to reflect the changes. By constantly updating your profile, you’ll have a handy jump-off point whenever you need to update your CV and look for a new challenge. 

9 Responses

  1. Superb advice, Mae. I found numbers 1 and 8 particularly useful!

    With regard to number 3, how would you identify the keywords most relevant and beneficial to include? And is there a formulaic method for incorporating them which wouldn’t seem too contrived?

    1. You’re welcome!

      With regards to keyword research for LinkedIn, try and get a few job profiles together. Bonus points if you’ve got the description of responsibilities. Select ones which are most appropriate for your industry (e.g. jobs you’re already applying for). And then…put the text through a word cloud generator such as Voila! You should be able to get an idea of relevant keywords.

      As for a formula…maybe look at search engine optimised web copy and see how they’ve inserted keywords into the prose.

  2. Dear Maebellyne

    Now consider I had a transcription job during my University time, I study Engineering, (I jumped between jobs at the beginning) and then settled for 5 years and doing University in parallel. Shouldn’t I be mentioning that in my Work experience as an indication that I can multi task, etc,

    1. Hi Muhammad,

      By all means put it on your LinkedIn profile if you think it’s important to your career story. Put any work experience you have which was happening concurrent with your studies to show you have multi-tasking, organisational skills, etc. But choose wisely from the different jobs that you had at the start. If you were jumping between jobs too much and no reason as to why you did it, recruiters might take it as an indication of you being ‘flighty’. Frequent job changes can sometimes look like you were fired or you were unable to retain a job for some reason. For long term jobs, employers generally look for indications that you will stay at their company for a while and so would be worth the investment.

  3. Hi Mae,

    I have just graduated recently and have absolutely no idea what should I write in the summary. Well I have studied accounting in university and would like to explore a diverse accounting/audit/tax/business knowledge and technical skills yet I do not know whether I should write my interest in specialise or generalise related field??

    Any thoughts will be good

    1. Hi Robin,

      Check out for some examples of what people have written in their summary.

      The summary is really your opportunity to tell your personal story. Don’t get too bogged down on whether you need to write about the specific or broad skills you have. Rather, focus on showcasing your personality and passion. Then tell the reader where you’ve come from, what makes you you and what you’re looking for.

      Hope that helps! If you get stuck, you can always drop me an email with your draft and I’m happy to have a look at it 🙂

  4. Hi Mae,

    I am a recent law graduate of University of Miami, but just took the California Bar Exam. I am still awaiting my results (it’s a 3 month turn around), but am wondering how I can represent that I’m interested in jobs in California. I will be relocating to California in July, but am in Florida until then. Also, what would be a good way to show that I’ve taken the Cali Bar Exam? I have it on my resume, but just am not certain with how to go about it on Linkedin. Is this the type of information that should go in my “summary” section? I have yet to write that.

    1. Hi Cole,

      On LinkedIn there’s a section that you can add on your profile called Certifications. That would be the most appropriate section to indicate you’ve taken the Bar. When you go into edit profile, look on the right hand column and you’ll see a Certifications on the list of additional sections you can add.

      Even though you’re still based in Florida, I would change your location on LinkedIn to California now. This way you’ll appear in the results when recruiters search for law graduates in your area. I’d also start following companies on LinkedIn based in Cali as well as start online networking with professionals there.

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