Careers Service

LinkedIn Profiles

Creating Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network with hundreds of millions of members. Create an effective LinkedIn profile using the following tips and resources.

Set up your LinkedIn account

To join LinkedIn and create your profile:

  • Go to the LinkedIn sign up page
  • Type your first and last name, your email address, and choose a password.
  • Click ‘Join now’
  • LinkedIn will then prompt you to fill in sections of your profile

LinkedIn has produced a series of YouTube videos aimed at students and graduates. These show you how to set up your LinkedIn account and begin using it for your career.

Include a photo

Project the image you would like to present to employers.

You don’t have to have a professional photo taken but ideally you should look smart, friendly and approachable. LinkedIn profiles with photos receive 21 times more profile views and 9 times more connection requests.

Add a headline

Your headline is the text displayed below your name. Headlines act like a brief personal statement highlighting your skills and career interests. You have 120 characters to market yourself. Emphasise what you are doing now and what you want to do in the future. You can be creative but think about who your audience is.

  • summarise the type of role you're seeking
  • include your area of study and career ambitions
  • include keywords or skills - but only those you actually possess!

More information

LinkedIn will ask you to select an industry for your headline. If you're not sure what industry you're interested in, you can select Higher Education as an option. 

Claim your unique LinkedIn URL

To increase the results that appear when people search for you online, set your LinkedIn profile to 'public' and create a unique URL, eg www.linkedin.com/in/JohnSmith. LinkedIn provide instructions for customising public profile URLs.

Create an About section

The About section is the summary that sits beneath your name and profile picture. It is a very important part of your profile but should be concise.  Don’t repeat the whole of your LinkedIn profile.  Think of it as a ‘pitch’ and highlight what you have to offer potential employers.

  • Don’t only cover what you are currently doing. Include your career goals.
  • Use the first person. You can show some personality on LinkedIn so talk about yourself, rather than writing as if you are describing someone else. Imagine what you’d say one to one with an employer in a few key sentences.
  • Include specific examples of relevant skills, achievements and experience, especially those that show progress towards your career goals or demonstrate your values and interests. You can use the STAR technique to do this.
  • Include keywords and skills relating to the sector you are interested in. As with your headline, think about the terms or phrases someone might use that would help them find you on LinkedIn.
  • Conclude your summary with a ‘call to action’. Include one or two sentences to show what you’d like to achieve with your LinkedIn profile. For example you could state that you’re searching for work experience, or a graduate position, or you want to connect with people in a particular field. Tell potential employers if you are happy for them to contact you about opportunities.
  • Add media, such as videos, photos and documents, websites, and presentations to make your profile more interesting and visually appealing. This can also help evidence your skills.

Complete your Experience and Education sections

Experience

Add any relevant work experience. List jobs (paid or voluntary, part-time or full-time) you’ve had with a brief description of what you were responsible for and what you achieved. If you haven’t got any related experience, list any work experience you’ve had but make sure you highlight the relevant skills you developed. TargetJobs: Skills and Competencies explains common skills graduate employers look for and how to demonstrate them.

As LinkedIn puts all included experience in reverse chronological order (only current positions can be reordered) you might want to think carefully about what you include here. What will the employer see first? Is that the experience would your potential employer be most interested in?

It’s sometimes a good idea to list relevant experience first even if it isn’t your most recent. If you aren’t sure – call in to the Careers Service and ask us - no appointment needed.

Education 

LinkedIn lists your experience ahead of your education in your profile.

LinkedIn will prompt you to fill in the following fields in your education section:

  • School
  • Degree
  • Field of study
  • Grade
  • Activities and societies
  • Time period
  • Description

This relates largely to the US education system and ‘School’ here can mean your university.

We recommend that rather than filling in your ‘Activities and societies’ (unless these are particularly relevant), you instead focus on the ‘Description’ section, where you can highlight your course content if relevant and your transferable skills. You can always add your activities and societies at the end of this section manually.

Your module catalogue can help you identify some of the skills you should gain from your course.

If you aren’t sure how to market your degree and related skills - call in to the Careers Service, and ask us - no appointment needed.

Keep these sections of your profile regularly updated. You can also add media to the experience & education sections if you have anything relevant you’d like to show a potential employer.

Include Skills & Endorsements

You can add up to 50 skills to the Skills & Endorsements section of your profile. Listing relevant skills helps others understand your strengths and match you with potential opportunities.

Once you add your skills, your connections can endorse them. Endorsements allow your connections to confirm that you have a particular skill, adding credibility to your profile.

If you endorse someone else on LinkedIn, it’s likely that they will return the compliment.

Ask for recommendations

You can use LinkedIn to ask for recommendations from your connections, like academics, employers from work experience, part-time jobs etc. These act like references in advance and are valued by employers. There’s no limit to the number of recommendations you can request.

Share and build your profile and make connections

Once you have completed the basics and are happy with your profile, you can share your public profile. Your public profile is a simplified, fully visible version of your complete LinkedIn profile. It will show up in search engines.

You can then expand your connections. You might also want to build up the other sections of your profile.

University LinkedIn provides a range of resources to help students and graduates.

More information

More help

The Careers Service can help you develop and improve your LinkedIn profile.

Attend our careers workshops on LinkedIn. For dates and times, see our Events section.

You can also get one-to-one feedback on your LinkedIn profile – call in to the Careers Service, no appointment needed. We can also offer feedback online via MyCareer - log in and click on Resources to submit your query.

For advice on how to use LinkedIn effectively in your job search, see our How to use LinkedIn for your Career page.