LinkedIn upgrades profiles for recent college graduates

In an official blog post today, LinkedIn announced upgraded profile pages to help college graduates and current students stand out from the crowd of job hunters. The upgrade adds specific sections for accomplishments that hiring managers and recruiters can use to find more targeted employees for entry-level positions. This helps a student without an extensive work history or recommendations from previous employers.

Accomplishments include projects, awards, organizations, test scores and courses. Projects could contain anything from recent group projects to extensive research that’s related to a desired field. Honors and awards comprise accolades like landing on the Dean’s list for a semester or graduating summa cum laude. Organizations include on-campus groups, likely academic, and external groups like volunteering for community service. Test scores include an amazing GPA or standardized test scores like the LSAT for students going into law. Course work includes specific courses taken as well as professors. If a hiring manager can connect with a shared experience, like taking the same course from a specific professor, a potential employee has an advantage on the competition.

Students or recent graduates can also rearrange this new content on the revamped profile page to highlight the strongest qualities first. This revision to profiles by LinkedIn comes at a time of bleak prospects for 2011 graduates. According to a recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, unemployment rates for recent graduates jumped from 7.1 percent in May 2011 to 12.1 percent in June 2011. While this spike is always attributed to graduation timing, the increase in 2010 was only 3 percent.

One and a half million 2011 graduates are also competing with the jobless graduates of the previous years. More graduates are forced to rely on temporary part-time and freelance work during economic recovery. Over June, only 18,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy, a figure far lower than the 125,000 jobs required to keep up with U.S. population growth.