LinkedIn checklist & guide

To help you become an advanced user of LinkedIn, we made guides which you can use during the process. If you want more information on how to use LinkedIn, follow our training LinkedIn Basic and/or LinkedIn Advanced. These are given regularly during the academic year. Check the Career event and training calendar for dates.

How to create a LinkedIn profile 

1. Join LinkedIn

Visit the website of LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com), and fill in the information to become a member. Fill in your full first name and full last name. Use your personal email instead of your WUR email address (this way, you can still access and get notifications from LinkedIn after graduation).

2. Location, recent job title, company and industry and confirmation email

After becoming a member of LinkedIn, the platform asks you to fill in some information. By filling in your location, the platform algorithm can show you relevant people, positions and companies which live close to you. Furthermore, it requests your most recent job title, company and industry. In case you are a still a student, you can press on the button ‘I’m a student’. Otherwise, fill in the information requested. After filling in all this information, LinkedIn will ask you to verify the email address that you filled in in the first step. So visit your mailbox for confirmation.

3. Community / contacts

LinkedIn suggests if you want to add contact to see who you already know on LinkedIn. You may want to choose for this option, as it is quite useful to get a quick overview (your contacts will not be invited automatically). If you do not prefer to make use of this option, you can connect to your contacts manually later by choosing ‘skip’.

4. Set your settings right

After joining LinkedIn, you will be directed to the homepage. Go to your profile by clicking on ‘Me’ in the taskbar, then on ‘View profile’. Here you will see an overview of your profile, including different sections in which you will be able to fill in information about yourself.

Important: before changing an already existing LI profile: Make sure to adjust your Privacy Settings, so people (your network) do not get notified once you make adjustments. For this, go to privacy settings > visibility > visibility of your LinkedIn activity > Share job changes, education changes and work anniversaries from profile > No. Do not forget to turn this back to yes once you are done with adjusting your profile.

What information to add to your LinkedIn page

1. Intro (Photo, background, headline, postal code)

To edit your introduction, click on the pencil/edit button at the right corner of the first white section. Here, you can fill in all the requested information. Here is an elaboration on some of the most important items:

It is recommended to add a photo to your LinkedIn profile. It will give a clear image about who you are and helps people you already know to identify that this is your LinkedIn profile (so they can connect with you). You can do this by clicking on the oto icon itself For tips on how to make a good photo for LinkedIn, find the tips below this guide.

By adding a background you can personalize your LinkedIn profile. You can add a background by clicking on the camera/pencil icon in the right corner. Choose for an background that relates to your field on interest. For example: it can be a photo of you while working, or a picture with items related to your interest (e.g. food if you study food sciences).

Your headline is visible for everyone and should describe your professional identity. You may want to take a format like this: Function / Current activity (can be student) | Activities | Interests | If applicable: looking for..

An example of a filled in headline can be the following: MSc student Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University & Research | Writing a thesis on environmental policy | GIS | Looking for an internship in sustainable agriculture

It is important to add keywords to your headline that are of interest to you. Recruiters use keywords to search for employees, so by using specific keywords they can find you (faster). So look for often used keywords in your study/work field. You can do this by looking for interesting vacancies and organizations, see what keywords they use in their descriptions and use these when they match you.

Postal code
Add the postal code to your LinkedIn for the area in which you search for jobs/internships. For example, if you live in Wageningen but would like to work in Amsterdam, use a postal code within Amsterdam.

2. Contact info and customizing your LinkedIn URL

When you go back to your page, below your headline you can see the words Contact Info. Click on Contact Info and make sure to put your email address and if you wish your telephone number in it. You can also put your birthday in it, than your network will get notified when you are having your birthday.

If you make a LinkedIn profile, the URL is automatically with a lot of numbers behind your name. To make sure you are found on LinkedIn or Google by just typing your name it is better to skip those numbers. It also looks better if you put the URL of your LinkedIn in your CV. To skip the numbers go to the right side on top and see Edit public profile & URL. Delete the numbers after your name and save the link. So an example of a good short URL is: linkedin.com/in/janedoe. More information on this can be found in the following link: Customize Your Public Profile URL | LinkedIn Help

3. About/Summary

Present yourself here, just like would do in an introduction pitch. Create a description focusing on your skills/experiences that are relevant to positions you want to apply for. So make a summary of your professional identity; a combination of your content-based focus/passion/drive and your talents. At the end, you can also state what kind of internship/job you are looking for and how people can contact you (for example via a personal message or email). It is recommended to write a maximum of 3 paragraphs. Again: make use of keywords that match you and are often searched for.

4. (Work) Experience

In your experience section you can elaborate on your work experiences. Make sure you have a clear function description, in which you describe your tasks and responsibilities clearly (For example by using bullet points, max. 2 paragraphs). You can also make use of photo’s to illustrate your experience.

Note: do not make use of the automatic fill in for your headline when adding a current experience, but personalize your own headline.

5. Education

Make sure you have a clear description of your educational activities, for example your specialization, thesis title, relevant courses, the name of your ACT project (and role during the project). Make sure it is max. 2 paragraph again. You can also make use of photo’s to illustrate your experience.

Note: Again, do not make use of the automatic fill in for your headline when adding a current experience, but personalize your own headline.

6. Licenses & Certifications

In this section you can add certifications that you obtained. For example, your degrees. You do not need to fill in all the blank spaces. For educational certificates (like your degree), you can enter that credentials that do not expire.

7. Volunteer experience

Mention those activities that are not educational or work related. For example, here can be listed board membership, and/or a committee in study- or student association. Like your work experience, write a short description in which you explain your tasks, responsibilities and/or results achieved. Make sure it is max. 2 paragraph again. You can also make use of photo’s to illustrate your experience.

8. Skills, Endorsements and Accomplishments

By adding skills to your profile, others can see in what kind of activities you are good at. Select a top 3 skills set that you have. For this, make sure you match personal skills with vacancies you like. Use keywords that are also mentioned in the vacancies.

By getting endorsed on your skill(s), others show that you are indeed an expert in that skill. Also endorse others in their skills, by navigating to their profile and look for their skills list (and press on the + icon when you would like to endorse for that skill).

Add different aspects to your LinkedIn profile: publications, patents, courses, projects, honors and awards, test scores, languages, and organizations. Fill in the requested information.


Networking on LinkedIn

1. Post updates

To increase your visibility on LinkedIn, you can posts updates regularly. Post and share different things, such as: an interesting update, quote, article or news item related to your field on interest/study field. To stand out between other posts, make use of pictures, video’s, and hashtags in your post and tag others or companies/institutions to make it more visible. This will make sure your post is more attractive.

2. Search for #hashtags and like posts

In the search bar on LinkedIn, you can search on posts that include # topics. For example: #wageningen. All topics and posts that include this hashtag will appear. You can like these posts if you want. Once you use the #Wageningen yourself, your post will then also appear here. You can also follow topics of your interest, when you click on the “follow” button.

3. Connect with people

Connect with people to increase your network. In the upper taskbar, you can click on ‘My network’. Here, you will see an overview of different people, groups and organizations with whom you might want to ‘connect’. You can add people to your network by clicking on ‘connect’ next to their profile. Start connecting with people you know well (other students, family, friends) and continue adding people that are valuable to your network, but don’t know them in person.

When you do not know someone
If you do not know someone, but would like to add them to your network (for example, because they have an interesting job or you would like to follow their career path), send them a personalized message in which you motivate shortly why you would like to add them to your network. You can do this by clicking on ‘Add a note’ after you clicked on ‘connect’.

Receiving invites
You can also accept the invites from people you do not know. For example, it might be useful to connect with recruiters. Keep in mind that you are not obligated to accept an invite. If it does not feel right to accept an invite (for example if you have nothing in common and the person did not send you an personalized message) you can also reject an invitation. Be aware of commercial invitations / people that invite you for selling business / commercial reasons, you may also want to reject these invites.

4. Folllow Companies

You can follow companies that are of interest for you. This way, you are informed when they share an update or when they have a position available for example. You can search for interesting companies on multiple ways: Search for companies of interest by searching for the company name in the search bar on the home page (and click on follow). Or search for companies of interest by searching for your field of interest in the search bar on the home page, and filter on companies.

5. Join Groups

Once you start following people, companies or join groups, they will be listed at the section 'Interests' on your profile.

Groups include people with similar interests. By joining groups you can gain knowledge by learning from the information that is shared in the group.

Also, you can increase your network with relevant professionals (because LinkedIn considers members of a common group as your 2nd degree connections). An advantage of this is that you are able to connect with these people. By default on LinkedIn, you cannot send messages to people you don’t know. But if you share a group, this option becomes available. You can join groups by: searching for your field of interest in the search bar at the homepage and filter on ‘groups’.

6. Recommendations

Your profile will be shown more to recruiters when you receive 3 recommendations and give 3 recommendations to others. Recommendations serve as proof of your credibility: others claim as well that you are indeed skilled in the qualifications that you claim to have on your LinkedIn profile. It is a commendation written by a LinkedIn member who is already in your network to recognize your work. So by writing a recommendation for someone, you enhance someone’s credibility. Make a personalized request for a recommendation and if you find it difficult you can always say that you can also make a recommendation for that person as well. Asking for recommendations Go to Add profile section on top of your LinkedIn profile next to your contact information. Go to Additional information – Request a recommendation. For more information: The Etiquette in LinkedIn Recommendations | LinkedIn Writing a recommendation for someone else It is important to write a good recommendation, as it will be read by other LinkedIn users. For more information: How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Recommendation in Under 2 Min | LinkedIn

Searching for internships/jobs via LinkedIn

1. Using the ‘Jobs’ icon in the taskbar

When clicking on the Jobs icon in the taskbar, a search field will apear. You can search for internships/jobs by searching for key words, a job title, a company etc, AND by searching for a position in a certain area.
Or you can see all positions in the area by only searching on location. You can filter the vacancies by using different filters, such as the experience level. Also, you can filter on certain companies.

Job alert
If you have found interesting vacancies via a certain search, you may want to be kept informed about new vacancies that appear from this search. You can do this by setting a job alert. You can find this in the right corner of the vacancy overview (below your search area and the filters).

2. Search positions via organizations

If you already know organizations in which you would like to work, you may want to search for vacancies at these organizations only. Seach for the company name in the search bar at the home page. Click on ‘jobs’ at the company page. Here, you can also turn on a job alert for company vacancies. WUR alumni/people working at the organization: At the company page, you can also click on people (below Jobs). An overview of all the people who work at the company will be given. You can filter here on WUR alumni. It might be interesting to do this, as you can see how these alumni got to their position (you can view their career path on their LinkedIn profile or send them a message and ask them about this).

3. Find positions via people

It may be interesting to come into contact with people who you have similar interest with or who work at a company you would like to work at. You can search for such people in 3 ways:

Via Connections
Search for an intersting company by using the search field via the Jobs icon in the taskbar (step 1). Here, look for possible connections you have that work at this company. If you have any connections who work(ed) here, it will be shown below the vancancies.

Via People
Repeat the same steps as above (find positions via connections), but instead of searching for similar connections you can use the filters mentioned in step 1. Filter on ‘people’ (within the first filter option) and a list with all the people who work at this company will appear. If someone has an interesting function, you may want to connect with this person or look/ask about the career path which resulted in this function.

Via Alumni
Filter on People – all filters – fill in Education Wageningen University & Research – in the search bar typ the name of your study and see all the people who are studying or graduated from that study. You can see where they work now, what kind of job and that might give some inspiration as well.  

4. Using the filter #Opentowork

By using a filter called #open to work, you can show other LinkedIn members that you are searching for a position. Turn on this filter by navigating to ‘Open to’ below your headline > Finding a new job > Choose who sees you’re open > All LinkedIn members. Furthermore, you can fill in your job preferences in this field.


Additional tips

Tips for taking a good picture

Make sure your face is clearly visible. To focus on your face, it is advised to take the picture in which the area from your shoulders/chest to the top of your head can be seen. Consequently, it is best to take a picture from the front.          

Wear formal clothes, for example clothes that you would wear for a job interview.

Hair and makeup
Try to keep your hair and makeup neutral, as it may draw the attention too much from your face.         

Facial expression
Try to keep your facial expressions professional. With this, the following is meant: in western countries it is advised to look friendly and confident on your LinkedIn picture (you can smile), while other countries around the world prefer a photo in which neutral facial expressions are the standard. Either way, when making the photo, try to pretend you are walking into a great job interview and imagine how your face would look like (and stick to that facial expression).

It is wise to make sure your background is neutral. For example, you may want to take a picture in front of a wall or have a blurred background. As students from Wageningen University & Research often apply for positions that have links to sustainability, you might want to consider taking a picture in front of a tree/bush, so that the background color is mainly green (which is often linked to as a color for sustainability).

Being alone in the picture
Try to include a picture in which you are alone. This way, there can be no confusion about who the LinkedIn profile belongs to.        

You may want to stick to natural daylight, as it can give you ‘a fresh look’. Furthermore, this makes sure you are clearly visible on the picture. For this, you may want to take a picture in front of a window or outside.       

Taking the picture
Ask someone else to take the picture for you. Selfies are not very professional and by letting someone else take a picture for you, you are able to focus on your facial expressions.

Are you in doubt if your picture is suitable for your LinkedIn profile? You can have your picture checked at the following website: https://www.snappr.co/photo-analyzer/

Creating your profile in another language

To make sure people are able to read about your experiences, it can be very helpful to have your profile in multiple languages (for example, another language than your native language). How you can do this is stated in the following link: Create or Delete a Profile in Another Language | LinkedIn Help

Premium profile (not needed)

For you to use LinkedIn well, you do not need to pay for a premium account on LinkedIn. You can just use the free version. The paid feature of LinkedIn has some extra features, but those are not really needed to create a good account/use LinkedIn.