This is the third post in our series which will be responding to your careers questions. If you haven’t checked it out already have a read of our two other posts ‘What work experience do I need & how do I get it?’ and ‘How do I write a great CV’
Our third careers question post comes from Abhichandra, a second year student who asked us ‘How can I use LinkedIn?’ Read on for our top 10 tips and advice
LinkedIn started back in 2002 and currently has over 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than 2 members per second, making it one of the most popular social networks.
LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic is students and recent college graduates, currently standing at 40 million users. So how do you use it to its fullest potential?
Here are our top 10 tips, and links to additional articles we have found to help you.
1. Create a positive online image
First impressions count! With over 87% of recruiters using LinkedIn to find talent and do more research on candidates, presenting yourself professionally online has never been more important. So take control of your online image.
Did you know that by having a professional photograph you are 14 times more likely to have your profile viewed? You should always aim to complete as much of your profile as possible. Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
2. This is your online ‘CV’
Unlike a traditional paper-based CV, you are not limited to 2 pages on your LinkedIn profile. This is your opportunity to both tell and show potential employers all of the great and relevant things you have done. This is a perfect space to showcase creativity and show your potential to employers.
As well as including details about your work history and education, you can also use your profile to showcase your work. An example could be to include links to websites you’re involved with or have created. Or if you’ve produced any relevant multimedia content such as photography or videos you could link to those in your profile too. Alternatively you could also include photographs of activities you have been involved in – how about that great fundraiser you did last summer? Any photographic proof you have to ‘show’ you doing something, could also be nice to include.
3. Get recommendations for your work
So you tell employers about all of the great experience and numerous skills you have, but how do you prove it? Having someone endorse you and your work can be extremely powerful. Recommendations are an excellent way to do just that.
4. Networking and building a network of contacts
In almost any role, you will require the ability to meet with new people and build relationships quickly.
- Clarify your career goals and help you make career decisions
- Gain valuable information about your chosen sector
- Find opportunities, such as internships, work shadowing or even job vacancies
- Develop key employability skills such as communication
- Build your confidence
- Meet like-minded people and make new friends!
So how do you get started on LinkedIn?
Connect with people you know well to begin with then grow from there. If your network of contacts is small at first, consider joining some of Careers Network’s groups.
When you meet new people at a networking event or jobs fair, be sure to ask for their business card or at the very least make a note of their name and company. What better way to keep in contact with those great connections that you made, than by connecting with them on LinkedIn?
Once you get back home, why not send them a connection request? Its good practice to include a personalised message to say how great it was to meet them and how you would like to keep in touch.
Careers Network runs a number of events and workshops throughout the year to help you develop your networking skills. These include employer-led events, which not only give an insight into what graduate recruiters are looking for but also allow you to network directly with companies that you could be applying to in the future.
Some graduate recruiters will assess your networking skills as part of their recruitment process, such as during a ‘networking lunch’ as part of an assessment– so it’s a good idea to start practising.
Search networking events on Careers Connect or visit Careers Network’s events pages.
5. Generating Ideas
Whether you are unsure of what to do with your degree, want to move into another industry or progress within your current organisation, the Alumni search function on LinkedIn can be a really handy tool.
Find alumni from your University; see where they work and what they do. You can delve further by searching for key words such as ‘history’ for example. This will bring up all history Alumni allowing you to see where they are now, and by looking at their profiles, how they got there. This can help you generate some different ideas and approaches to your career direction.
Some of you may be familiar with the Alumni tool. However with LinkedIn’s new interface the way in which we search has changed. Learn how to use the new search function.
6. Research companies to build commercial awareness
Commercial awareness can be summarised as an interest in business and an understanding of the wider environment in which an organisation operates: its customers, competitors and suppliers.
LinkedIn can be used as a tool to help you understand more about the company /sector in which you want to work. By connecting with companies and following them on LinkedIn you can find out the following to build your commercial awareness:
- How the company / sector operates
- Customer and market awareness
- Current ’big issues’ faced by the company/sector
- Read their press releases
- Keep up to date with any job vacancies they post
7. Interact with companies directly
Interacting with companies directly by liking and commenting on their posts can get you noticed, especially if you are job hunting. Make sure your comments are relevant and written professionally. This is your first impression, make it count.
8. Writing articles
Writing articles on LinkedIn can be a great way to engage an audience and start conversations. It gives you the opportunity to have your say and share your knowledge. Publishing articles can help to reach a wider audience and help you build those all-important connections. How to write a LinkedIn article if you’re not a writer.
Join relevant discussion groups and actively engage to build connections. Your profile is 5 times more likely to get noticed and viewed if you make valuable contributions to discussions.
Creating and joining LinkedIn groups is important to find people to connect with. Participating in groups, and especially creating your own, can give you lots of new leads. You should join groups related to your industry as well as regional groups as a way to connect with other businesses in your region. Groups are a place to find new information and learn more, as well as to find new connections.
10. Job Search
More and more recruiters and organisations are turning to LinkedIn to advertise job vacancies, and why wouldn’t they when there is a captive audience of over 467 Million professional members!Job vacancies can be found via this link: Find job vacancies on LinkedIn.
– Tanya-Louise Rose, Applications Adviser, College of Arts and Law
** sources: https://press.linkedin.com/about-linkedin?#