Handshake and LinkedIn for STEM Students

By Emma Giarracco

Handshake and LinkedIn can be an important part of your career journey. Learning what these resources are and using them effectively can help set you apart.

The value of networking

Handshake and LinkedIn are both tools for networking. Networking is beneficial for two main reasons: it allows you to find and connect with people whose career paths inspire you and inform you about opportunities available, it also allows you to build relationships that yield valuable advice and potential job referrals. Oftentimes, networking is seriously underutilized by students interested in STEM because of the traditional personalities research attracts. Going the extra mile to make a connection can help differentate you and an equally qualified and intelligent candidate to land a position you are especially excited about.

LinkedIn: Building a Great Student Profile

Write an informative profile headline

The headline of your profile should be short, memorable and professional. An example might be “Honors student seeking research position.” If you are unsure what to write, check out the profiles of your peers in the same areas as you or recent alumni.

Pick an appropriate photo

A high quality photo is required for LinkedIn. The photo does not have to be professionally taken, but it should be a nice headshot. Emory offers headshots at the career fair each fall. A photo can also be taken by a friend with a clean background and a nice shirt.

Show off your education

Include all your schools, majors/minors, study abroad programs or certificates. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with alumni of shared institutions. Be proud of who you are! LinkedIn is an appropriate platform to list honors, GPA, and/or test scores.

Develop a professional summary

A professional summary is a small personal statement similar to the first few paragraphs of a good cover letter. Present your interests, qualifications and professional aspirations and support them with relevant work and extracurriculars.

Fill Skills & Expertise with keywords

These keywords should match the ones in the job listings of positions you are interested in. See the resume section of this website for examples of good key words, or look at the profiles of people who have the kinds of roles you want.

Update your status regularly

This is helpful to build your professional image. Mention projects, articles you find interesting or events your attending to create your digital brand. Recruiters and potential interviewers often read your feed.

Show your connectedness

Join industry and university groups. Emory chemistry has a LinkedIn group that is great for connecting with alumni.

Collect diverse recommendations

Strong profiles are built through having at least one recommendation for each position a person has help. It is most impressive if these recommendations come from people who have directly managed you.

Claim your unique LinkedIn URL

Set your LinkedIn to public and create a unique URL that you can list at the bottom of your resume. Mine is for example.

Share you work

Upload projects you are proud of completing! As long as it is ok with your research mentor, share your poster presentation or post links to any publications.


Handshake is an Emory specific career website that allows you to find internships, work-study positions, research opportunities and find out about events that may be interesting to you. Many different companies will hold info sessions for upcoming internships that allow you to connect with the recruiter in a smaller context and learn about the program and what kind of applicants they are looking for. Handshake also allows you to create a profile-using the same suggestions as above-where recruiters can directly message you. The career fair is advertised every year on Handshake and sends reminders so you don’t miss out on important opportunities to land an exciting summer experience.

Connecting with recruiters

Connecting with recruiters is best acheived through authentic, customized and concise communication. Be professional and thoughoutful in the way you reach out. When you message someone, remind him/her/them where you met or expalin why you want to connect. In the message, focus on highlighting the things you have in common or specific aspects of his/her/their experience you want to discuss. Always proofread your message before sending it and keep it short and sweet. After you have connected with someone, learned from them or received mentorship always remember to say thank you!