Here's how to make your LinkedIn profile the best & why you need to
Congratulations! You have studied hard and are quite rightly feeling proud of your new qualifications. You want to show off your fresh set of skills and experiences to the rest of the world but aren’t quite sure how to get the message out there. One of the best ways that you can do this is on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a social network created especially to help people like you share their professional profiles. It’s the Internet’s largest professional network with over 467 million members. LinkedIn has been designed specifically to give you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications and talents. On Facebook you build a network of friends, but on LinkedIn you connect with possible employers and other professionals, people who can help you shape your future. A great LinkedIn profile may help you to land the job of your dreams. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a dynamic CV. You’ll be able to update it as often as you want and present your skills, personality and achievements in new and exciting ways.
Ever fancied building your very own professional brand? Well LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to do just that. Even if you’re just starting your career it would make sense to join the 40 million plus students and recent graduates that have LinkedIn profiles. These guys represent LinkedIn’s fastest growing membership sector, which means that more and more employers are turning to LinkedIn to find the employees they want – people like you.
The numbers above are impressive, but understandably, you may still be unsure about the advantages of joining LinkedIn. The points below should help you make up your mind:
Am I the right type of person for LinkedIn?
LinkedIn has a professional and business emphasis, which means that your profile will put you in touch with people at supervision, management and director levels as well as other graduates; this has to be good for your career prospects. There are people on LinkedIn from a wide variety of industry fields. The best way to get a feel for LinkedIn’s scope is to search their network for someone that you know. From there you’ll see a range of other users. You may be surprised how quickly you find people whose occupations or expertise relate to your own.
Can networking through LinkedIn actually benefit my career?
The LinkedIn network is an opportunity to get your profile in front of interested people. In other words, LinkedIn is your chance to shout, “Look at me!” Prospective employers use LinkedIn in three main ways:
a) To post job vacancies
b) To search for talent within the LinkedIn network
c) To review applicants’ suitability before making employment decisions
Why do I need a LinkedIn profile as well as a CV?
It’s really important to share your new qualifications and skills with as many people as possible. LinkedIn allows you to add layers of information that will help your personality stand out in ways that your CV can’t. Examples of how to do this include:
a) Adding striking images or videos of your recent coursework
b) Describing some of the interests you gained during your studies
c) Adding any new skills you learnt during your last course
The other thing you need to remember about the LinkedIn network is that your profile will be packed with key words. These key words will put your profile in front of people whom your paper CV won’t find. Build your LinkedIn profile carefully and you might be surprised who makes contact.
Will LinkedIn help me to get a job?
You need to understand that the world of recruitment is changing; this will have a big impact on today’s job seekers. 49% of Australian employers are now looking for ‘passive candidates’. This means people who are not directly seeking work, but whose profiles are available through networks like LinkedIn.
If you are actively seeking new employment, LinkedIn has a large database of international employment opportunities and searchable job boards.
Make Yourself Look Great
You obviously want your profile to stand out from those of the other 40 million students and graduates. On LinkedIn, creating a profile is just the start; when considering how to enhance yours, there are some important points that shouldn't be missed:
Have a professional profile image
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Not only that, your picture will be the first thing that anyone viewing your profile looks at. You don’t need to wear a suit to look professional but dress as if you were going to the office or to a meeting. Avoid ‘selfies’ or holiday snaps, ask a friend to take the picture for you and don’t forget to smile; nobody wants to connect with Mr Grumpy!
Sell yourself with a great headline
LinkedIn will give you a boring default headline that won’t score high in the search rankings. You can change this headline. For example, “Qualified event manager offering opportunities to help clients to escape from reality.” reads better than “John Smith: Graduate of Upskilled.” You’ll only have 120 characters so be creative.
Building a large network is great but it shouldn’t be your only LinkedIn goal. If you have a clear idea of your future, base your activity and network outreach around that. If you’re not sure, start with your new Upskilled qualification and build your profile from there. Find out where other people who took your course are working, what your tutors are interested in and which companies require your new skills. Working this way will give you an insight into the possibilities that are now in front of you.
Spread the good news
You don’t know exactly what a prospective employer might be looking for. By sharing all of your achievements you might find that they are looking for you! Think about the course you’ve just taken; as well as the academic achievement, consider the new skills you gained. You may have honed your research skills, or learnt how to present to different audiences. Whatever it was, make sure that you include it in your LinkedIn profile.
Okay so there will be some things you did at school or during training that you want to forget, but you should consider enhancing the education section of your profile by adding insights into relevant projects, research titles or study modules. The more detail you give the better. You should of course always highlight excellent results.
Boast about your skills and boost the ones you list
You’re allowed up to 32 skills on your LinkedIn profile. This may seem too many but each skill is a searchable key word that relates to your field of interest and you should add as many as possible. You won’t have to think of 32 all on your own; LinkedIn will help you. For example, if you know that you’re good at communication, LinkedIn will use a drop-down list to give you other related suggestions.
One thing that will make your profile stand out is recommendations from other people in your network. Don’t be afraid to ask, start with people you know or have studied with, and be friendly. You could try offering a recommendation to someone else in return. LinkedIn requires three recommendations to complete your profile but don’t feel that you have to get them all at once.
Endorsements for skills can be added by anyone in your network. Try asking friends and colleagues and offer to do the same for them. You worked hard to gain those skills; endorsements will help you to show them off.
Customise your profile URL
You won’t be able to remember your default LinkedIn URL and it won’t look very professional. It would be far better to customise it to something more natural; the most effective choice would be your name or company name, for example: www.linkedin.com/in/Upskilled.
Become an Active LinkedIn User
Build your network
There are a lot of people using LinkedIn and sorting through them to find contacts may seem daunting. LinkedIn will suggest searching your existing networks and this is a good starting place, but you should also consider your education network. Connect with other Upskilled graduates, especially those who have completed the same courses as you. Get communicating with these guys and find out where they are working and what they are doing. Next, think of LinkedIn as a careers exhibition, and head for the contacts who represented your interests. Look for companies and individuals who are already doing the things that you’re interested in. You can use LinkedIn’s ‘Add Connections’ feature to help you find old and new contacts but be careful not to include absolutely everybody in a rush to get connected. You should try to find:
Your friends or fellow graduates will be the first people you welcome to your network and will probably be the most supportive. Talk to them and share ideas with them.
For this you need to find industry experts. Again, a good place to start would be with people you know who are already working or training in your career sector, don’t rule out your friends and family.
Your network will grow more quickly if you connect with people whose own networks are large. Reaching out to these guys is important but don’t just look at the numbers.
Engage with your network
Just like in any relationship, if you want your professional network to be effective, you need to make sure you are communicating. These LinkedIn ideas might help you:
a) Join discussion boards and take part in discussions. We all like chatting and people are more likely to link up with you if they know a little bit about you.
b) Find and join interesting LinkedIn Groups. In these, you’ll find like-minded people to offer help and advice.
c) Just like you do in your other networks, make yourself look interesting by posting stimulating news and snippets on your profile.
d) Your network is like a pet that needs feeding. Set a regular time to update your profile, communicate with your contacts and make connections. Don’t let your enthusiasm wane.
Even if you’re not currently job seeking it can be useful to see which skills and experience employers in your sector are looking for. LinkedIn job alerts are an ideal way to do this.
Study Up on Company Profiles
Reading company profiles may not sound interesting but you’ll be surprised how useful their information is. It may even help you to decide on a new course of study. If you find a company you like the look of, read the articles that they share to gain an understanding of their company values.
What to Avoid
As with every social media, LinkedIn has some tempting pitfalls. Failing to avoid these may cause you problems in the future:
Don't tell lies
Never be tempted to make yourself look better by lying. By gaining qualifications you’ve already started to build your very own brand. Don’t spoil that brand by being untruthful.
Don't be unprofessional
Don’t treat LinkedIn like your other social media. Drunken posts and holiday snaps are out. Imagine the boss of your dream job reading your profile. They might be!
Don't forget to update
Don’t see your profile as a ‘once-only’ job. Your latest set of qualifications might be the first step on your career ladder but they certainly won’t be the last. Set a monthly update reminder and stick to it!
Don't take advantage
Nobody likes a ‘taker’. Returning favours like advice, recommendations and skills endorsements will stand you in good stead in the future.
You’ve taken the first steps by getting your qualifications. You’ve worked hard; now let your LinkedIn profile and network become the key to your dream career. Follow our advice and take some time over building your profile. Select your network carefully and become an active user. Your dynamic LinkedIn profile could lead to exciting opportunities. Don’t waste the efforts you have made so far. Who will you connect with today?
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