What College Seniors Need to Know About LinkedIn

Students in MarketingMel's "Gettting Professional With LinkedIn" workshop at Milligan College.

Students in MarketingMel’s “Gettting Professional With LinkedIn” workshop at Milligan College.

LinkedIn is one social media platform woefully underused by college students. Recently I was invited to present a LinkedIn workshop to a group of Milligan College Juniors and Seniors. The students who attended came on their own time so the classroom was full of soon-to-be graduates who were eager to learn.  It was a two-part session with the first hour sharing information and questions about LinkedIn and the second being hands-on creation of individual student profiles. Students brought their laptops.  Each student brought their resume to class in order to have it handy for the LinkedIn profile creation. First we extensively reviewed the demographics of LinkedIn which leans heavily male 25-54. Income levels skew $100,000+ and the typical LinkedIn user checks in around 8 AM and 5pm, before and after work. Clearly, these are the business professionals who will be making the hiring decisions for these students in the future. Here are a few of the tips I shared with the college students.

  1. Professional Photo: Probably one of the most critical elements of LinkedIn is the good, professional head shot. The school provided a professional photographer. Then each student had a professional head shot made to upload for their profile creation during the hands-on portion.
  2. Professional attire: All students were advised to look professional for the photo. In other words wear clothes appropriate for a job interview.
  3. Use LinkedIn to find potential job leads: LinkedIn has an excellent internal search engine specifically for jobs. We used this as an example in class to look for “marketing jobs in Johnson City, TN” as an example.
  4. Join Groups and ask pertinent questions: I showed the students how I used an actual LinkedIn group, the Public Relations and Communications Job Community, to crowdsource in helping me prepare for the talk with them. We received 25 very helpful comments on using LinkedIn to find a job that I shared with the class.
  5. Updates: Post regular updates on LinkedIn that will be of use to your business audience.
  6. Get references: When we went to the hands-on portion of the workshop I invited students to connect with ten people, then seek out a written reference and  give someone they know a written reference. (In LinkedIn as in life, what goes around comes around.)

What tips would you share from your LinkedIn experiences? What recommendations would you make to help seniors in college as they prepare to enter the workforce? Do you have a need for a similar workshop at your college, university or place of business? If so, please contact me via this web site.

View the prezi created by MarketingMel intern Alex Quillin for the workshop:



  • Jessica says:

    Mel this is amazing! I wish there were “two of you” so you’d have the time to go to every college and give this presentation. Soon-to-be graduates need you!

    • maryellen says:

      Thanks Jessica. I really appreciate your kind words and I actually have some ideas about helping out college students on a larger scale with mentoring programs. I appreciate your encouragement.

  • These college students are so fortunate to have you do this valuable training . I have found Linkedin to be very valuable for professional interactions.

    Connecting with folks here lead to unexpected perks, not just jobs! I’m hosting season 2 of the Anxiety Summit in November and a research grant writer from an Irish university invited me to connect with her. I responded, saying I’d love to interview one of the lead researchers at the university. She connected me with Dr Ted Dinan and last week we had a fabulous interview on the role of the gut, microbiome, pyschobiotics on anxiety!

  • Sue Painter says:

    These tips are great for other folks besides college kids, too. Thanks for such a professional and useful presentation.

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