LinkedIn

Photo of male student talking with a recruiter at a career fair.
LinkedIn Do’s and Don’ts


LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so professionalism is not only encouraged, it is expected.  Be sure to check out these excellent brief tutorials on how to get the most from LinkedIn. Here is a brief list of what you can/should do with LinkedIn and what you can’t/shouldn’t do to help you maneuver in the professional waters. 

  • Do set up your profile, following LinkedIn recommendations.  This will help you get the most out of your LinkedIn account.  This is a free site; there is no need for students or recent grads to upgrade to a paid profile unless they plan to use it as entrepreneurs.
  • Do upload a professional photograph, a headshot that looks business-like.
  • Do write a personal headline (that line of text under your name).  This is the first thing people see in your Profile. It follows your name in search hit lists. It's your brand.
  • Do use your “elevator pitch.”  Use it in the Summary section to engage readers. You've got 5-10 seconds to capture their attention. The more meaningful your summary is, the more time you'll get from readers.
  • Do opt to shorten your LinkedIn public profile URL when you set up your profile initially.
  • Do point out your related skills in Skills section.  Think of it as your personal search engine optimizer. It is an avenue to refine the ways people find and remember you. This searchable section is where that list of industry buzzwords from your résumé belongs, and to display particular abilities and interests, the personal values you bring to your professional performance, or even a note of humor or passion.
  • Do consider reordering the sections to put your best qualifications toward the top of your profile.
  • Do use correct spelling and punctuation in all your posts!!  Would you submit a résumé with typos and text-speak abbreviations?  ("LOL IDK it mite B fun.")  Of course not! Do not do it here. 
  • Do ask and answer questions.  Thoughtful questions and useful answers build your credibility.  The best ones give people a reason to look at your Profile.  Make a point of answering questions in your field to establish your expertise, raise your visibility, and most important, to build social capital with people in your network.
  • Do use LinkedIn for Students.  This offers a variety of tips, user guides (for the new and experienced user) and tutorials on how to use LinkedIn.  
  • Don’t use your LinkedIn connections to sell, spam, or otherwise try to profit financially.  Not only is this against the LinkedIn Terms of Use, it can irreparably damage your credibility with your contacts and your network.  It’s not worth it!