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Locked-In on LinkedIn: The Do’s and Don’ts

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mich chapter.

LinkedIn is so much more than a means of posting your resume online. As recruiting for jobs and internships kicks into high gear, having a LinkedIn is arguably essential for anyone entering today’s workforce. It can be a bit daunting at first, but building your dream profile can be easier than you think. Whether you’re a LinkedIn newbie or just want to make your current page pop, try keeping these dos and don’ts in mind!


DO: Connect with anyone you know

You’ve probably noticed acquaintances or familiar faces popping up on your “People You May Know” tab through connecting a combination of your phone number, email address, and/or Facebook to your account. While you might be nervous to connect with that kid you took calc with freshman year, odds are if this person has a LinkedIn they’re looking to expand their professional network just like you. The more connections you have, the more likely you are to have a connection at a company you’re interested in!


DON’T: Connect with EVERYONE

That being said, avoid accepting connections that you have never met and have no relation to. Just like any social network, there are plenty of spam accounts and people who connect with every account they can find just to build their network. Recruiters can easily spot these fake accounts, and it likely won’t reflect well on you if you’re connected to many of them.


DO: Include a “Summary”

This is an opportunity for you to help highlight for employers what you’re most proud of – your experience section alone may not be able to portray this. You’re given up to 2,000 characters – take advantage of them!


DON’T: Make your headline “Student at University of Michigan”

Think about what sets you apart from the thousands of other students at this school. Do you have a leadership position in an organization? Working with a faculty member on a cool research project? Pursuing a new minor? All of these can make great headlines. If not, consider at least including what you study (ex: “Neuroscience Student at the University of Michigan”). 


DO: Ask for recommendations

Use the “Request a Recommendation tool” to ask current or former bosses to write you a short LinkedIn recommendation for a specific role. Don’t have any prior internship or work experience? Connect with a professor in a course you did well in and ask them for a brief recommendation. This looks especially good if the course was something applicable to the industry you’re interested in!

DON’T: Endorse your friends for everything

It may be tempting to “endorse” your friends for their skills in hopes that they will return the favor, but this can come off as a bit unprofessional to recruiters. You’re better off having a few endorsements from accomplished connections than lots of endorsements from your friends.

DO: Include relevant coursework

Many students don’t think to list their classes under the “Courses” tab, but it can be a great way for recruiters to get a better sense of what you’re interested in. Think about the kinds of roles you’re interested in applying for, and include any courses relevant to those roles.

DON’T: Include every endorsement

While your parents are surely so proud of you for all of your accomplishments, it may not look very professional if they’re endorsing you on your profile. Under “Skills and Endorsements,” click “Manage Endorsements” to hide specific people’s endorsements from your page. Sorry, Dad.

DO: Follow companies and programs that you’re interested in

Think of how many random facts you know about people just because you saw it in your Facebook news feed (Ben from BIO 101 went to Africa? Sari from PSYCH 112 got into law school?). Like Facebook, LinkedIn’s homepage is a newsfeed of sorts with information on your connections as well as companies you follow. You can be well-versed in the industry you’re interested in just from scrolling through your feed!


DON’T: Be dishonest regarding your abilities or accomplishments

Just like with your resume, you should not include any false information or extreme exaggerations on your profile. It’s dishonest, and if you get caught in a lie by a recruiter, you’re toast.


DO: Include a (professional) photo

Having a photo humanizes you and helps recruiters remember your page. Don’t pick a prom photo or frat-party pic; many campus career fairs have professional photo shoots that you can take advantage of while you’re already in professional dress.


DON’T: Forget other visual elements

LinkedIn allows you to add photos and documents into your “Summary” and other sections of your profile. Consider adding a PDF version of your resume, a design project, or any other work you’re proud of.


DO: Clean your profile URL

Edit the URL of your public profile so it isn’t a random string of numbers and letters (example: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccalouiselawson). This is another way to help recruiters remember your profile and makes it look more polished.


DON’T: Be afraid to reach out!

Take advantage of LinkedIn’s cool features like “Find Alumni” to find Michigan grads at companies or programs you’re interested in. Most of them would love to help a fellow Wolverine!

Rebecca Lawson is the Managing Editor (former Editor in Chief) of Her Campus at the University of Michigan. She is a senior in the University of Michigan School of Information's new Bachelor of Science in Information program, and is also pursuing Michigan's Program in Entrepreneurship certificate. After graduation, she will be working as an Associate Consultant for Microsoft in the Seattle area. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @abovethelawson! And be sure to follow our chapter's Twitter and Instagram @hercampusumich!