LinkedIn is described as a social network for professionals and put simply it is the future of job hunting, which is why it deeply surprises me how many students haven’t ventured over to see what all the fuss is about. When I ask my student friends why they don’t have LinkedIn the most popular responses I get are ‘Oh well I don’t really understand it’, ‘I don’t have enough experience’ and ‘What’s the point?’. In this post I aim to address all of these issues, and hopefully encourage you to start a profile or improve the one you already have!
First off – as with all my advice posts I am not claiming to be an expert, nor do I claim to have a perfect profile myself – I just want to share some advice that I’ve found useful!
Get your head in the game
If you were running a race you wouldn’t let your competitor get a head start and this is no different. The sooner you get started on LinkedIn, the sooner you can begin to build up those all important connections.
Have a purpose
Remember the format of LinkedIn is not dissimilar to a CV, so your summary should start with what your intentions are in a clear and concise manner. For example –
- Final year college student studying Business looking for a permanent position as a business analyst in the oil and gas industry.
- Award winning beauty blogger looking to build up connections with a view of collaborating in the future.
- Second year BA (Hons) Fashion Management student looking for a paid summer internship between June and August 2014.
Then you would use the rest of your summary to express skills that relate to your desired position. This is where SEO comes in handy. If you know you want a job as a business analyst you want to mention the words ‘business analyst’ at least 2 or 3 times throughout that summary so recruiters can find you! Try to do it subtly though, don’t just add random words in for the sake of it.
Be the best of the bunch
There is no mistaking it, it is a dog eat dog world out there in the graduate job industry and if you don’t believe in yourself then how can you expect an employer to? One of the best lessons I’ve learnt over the years is that you are just as valuable, if not more so, than anyone else out there. It sounds big headed, even to me, but the truth is once you adopt that mentality that’s half (okay maybe a quarter) of the battle. Mention volunteering experience and any extra curricular activities, remember jobs aren’t the only way to show your experience and skillset.
Don’t be shy about asking people for help on LinkedIn. This can range from a past employer giving you a recommendation to a classmate endorsing you for a skill you’ve demonstrated at uni/college. These are so important to build up as they act as references for potential recruiters, therefore it is worth messaging a few of your connections to help get you started, or to build on your existing ones.
Remember LinkedIn is a social network so don’t just set it, up leave it for a few months and expect something to happen because it doesn’t work like that. Much like Facebook you can share content and write statuses but try to keep it professional. Obviously it goes without saying no photos of you winning last weekend’s beer pong championships, even if you did manage to refrain from passing out ’til you got home.
Indulge in some light stalking
Now when I say stalking please let me clarify I do not mean home visits to potential employers, though that’s one way to get yourself noticed! The great thing about LinkedIn is by searching for those in your desired industry you can find out how they got to where they are now. As a student this is not only a great confident boost if you’ve had some similar experiences, but also a great resource for giving you an idea of some of the skills you need to possess.
A last word…
I’m aware that this post is getting a little text heavy now so here are a few last things you should think about:
- Photo – Have a professional looking photo, no mirror selfies or duck pouts ladies!
- Headline – This is what’s displayed under your name, edit it to highlight your best skills.
- Groups – Join groups related to your interests and careers that you wish to go into.
- Join the community – Ask questions on groups and like photos and status updates.
So there we have it! Did you guys find this helpful? Do you think there are any important things I’ve missed? Feel free to share your questions below!
Ps – Don’t forget to connect with me