Tips for Grads: Leveraging LinkedIn for your Job Search

Tips for Grads: Leveraging LinkedIn for your Job Search

Career Development 
By Kirby Livingston, PhD student

In 2020, a strong online presence is critical for any job search. However, not many graduate students have the time, expertise, or extra funds to design and maintain a personal website. For most, LinkedIn is an easy and effective place to start building your professional online presence and expanding your network.

In her recent workshop, Gina Jenkins, career coach and Associate Director of Career & Leadership Development at the School of Business, recommended that your profile be dynamic rather than static, and the first step to making your profile work for you is to know your career objectives. Depending on where you are in your job search, you’ll want to emphasize different features of LinkedIn.

Actively looking for a job

  • If you are actively on the job market, utilize the summary at the top of your profile to provide a clear picture of what you are looking for, who you want to meet, and realistic timing for starting a job.
  • Tailor your profile to the types of positions that you are pursuing. You can look at the experience and skills on profiles of people working in similar jobs to help you decide what to list.

Passively looking for a job

  • Expose yourself to new connections and conversations. Make sure your contact information (at least your email) is public.
  • Use LinkedIn to search for jobs and connect with people for informational interviews. You can even search the site for members who graduated from your program and are employed in careers you are interested in.

Not yet looking for a job

  • Adjust the summary to focus on your current employment.
  • Use your network to keep you informed on your current job/activities by connecting with colleagues and leaders in your field.

If you would like more information on using LinkedIn and other platforms for personal branding and your job search, check out these recordings of Gina Jenkins’ LinkedIn workshop and Don Stanley’s workshop, How Graduate Students can Build a Personal Brand.

GradConnections Weekly is looking for fresh perspectives on the graduate student experience.
If you have advice, counsel, or tips for UW grad students, you’re invited to write a guest column for “Tips for Grads.”
If you’re interested, check out our infographic for details and email to let us know.