Undergraduate Careers Advice: How to Create a Stand-Out LinkedIn Profile

21 June 2021

With LinkedIn being one of the most important networking platforms for any student, our WBS CareersPlus Team are going to cover what you need to do to make sure your LinkedIn profile stands out.

Especially over the last year, LinkedIn has replaced the face to face job fair approach and is becoming a much more modern way to approach a company rather than sending a cover letter and CV. A quick Google search will tell you that there are over 700 million LinkedIn users worldwide and over 122 million people have received interviews via LinkedIn. Therefore, it is a global network of opportunities. This blog will discuss what you need to create a profile and how to stand out. 

Your profile photo

I once read in a LinkedIn blog that simply having a profile photo results in up to 36x more message responses, 21x more profile views and 9x more connection requests. This is the first thing a recruiter or recipient of a connection request will see so it is important to give a good first impression. Now some of this advice may seem obvious, but you will be surprised how often it can be forgotten.

Avoid: Holiday photos, distractions in the background, casual clothing and sunglasses. Also avoid using a pixilated image or a low-resolution camera. Most of us have a phone with a high-resolution camera or know someone who does, a phone camera will give you a good enough quality image for your LinkedIn profile. 

Try: Wearing business style clothing or something that shows your style in a professional manner, your head and shoulders should be the main part of the photo. Try taking your image in natural lighting and use a simple background so the main focus of the image is you. 

For the cover photo, try to choose an image similar to your career ambitions or current position, for example a photo of Warwick Business School if you are a WBS student.

Your LinkedIn headline

The headline alongside the photo is the second priority after the profile picture. This is because they are the only parts which are seen when you receive an invitation to connect or when recruiters are searching for potential talent. The headline is only 120 characters long, so it is important to be precise, assertive and to include key words relative to your career ambitions.  

Bad headline: ‘Student at the University of Warwick’

There are no key words here, work experience or even the degree title. 

Good headline: ‘Marketing Student who loves technology | Researching eWOM Communications | Interested in the future of retail marketing’

This headline demonstrates key skills and gives important information about the person. Secondly, it avoids the phrase “seeking work opportunities”, which can put off employers and potential contacts replying to the invite message. 

The ‘About Me’ section

This is the modern approach to a speculative cover letter and should give an in-depth insight into your career ambitions, key skills and business-related interests. This is normally 300-350 words and gives an ideal summary to an interested employer and adds a personal touch to the profile. This is the most underused section by students, with some students putting less than one line of information. Therefore, by writing an effective about me section, you will stand out in comparison to other students of similar ability or degree choice. 

Things to consider: 

• Story Vs. Informatic approach - do you want to tell the reviewer a story of your experiences so far or break it down into subsections? Either way can be very effective!

• Technical key words - for example Python | Microsoft Office | Project Management – this highlights key skills not mentioned already from the headline and is picked up by recruitment software. 

• Interests – this can be related, for example digital marketing for a school society or non-related such as a sports team or hobby which can display interpersonal skills such as teamwork, organisation and leadership. 

• Career ambitions – where would you like to go next? Can you demonstrate the key skills you have already that show your competency for this future position?

• Summary should be in first person. This helps to add a more personal touch to the profile. 

The ‘Education’ section

Whether it is A-Levels or a degree it is important to talk about what you have learned and how you can apply it to your career ambitions. For example, during a Business Studies A-Level, did you learn any techniques that could help a business to grow? 

Things to include: 

• Talk about your modules from your pre-university qualifications or degree, what did you learn?

• Include any extra-curricular projects or group work 

• Include any extra-curricular courses such as LinkedIn Learning or Coaching Qualifications

The ‘Experience’ section

The experience section can be paid or voluntary as long as it demonstrates relevant skills related to your career ambitions. For example, as a team captain, you can display communication and leadership skills. There is another section called voluntary if you do however wish to put extra-curricular activities in a separate section. 

Avoid: Writing a full paragraph, the content needs to be easy to read and as clear as possible, instead use three to six bullet points to display information. 

Try: Using the CAR technique. 

• Context: what was your role/position or what is the society to those who are not at the University of Warwick? 

• Action: what did you do at this experience? Break it down into important tasks, for example, leading a team of 6 people or creating a budget template using Microsoft Excel etc.

• Result: Use figures where possible to highlight success. Otherwise you could talk about any additional responsibilities given or in reflection what you learned from the experience. 

LinkedIn is a great tool for networking, finding insightful information about companies and ultimately your next career opportunity! By creating a standout LinkedIn profile, you will increase your chances of making new connections and receiving responses from other members. 

If you’re a current WBS undergraduate, you can access our LinkedIn Webinars and if you’d like to book an appointment with the WBS CareersPlus Team to give you feedback on your LinkedIn profile or networking strategy you can do so here.