LinkedIn is your go-to website for creating and developing an online professional identity and building a useful contacts network. If you have not yet signed up or have joined but are not sure where to go from there, this guide is here to help!
First of all, let’s address a couple of common misconceptions about LinkedIn:
LinkedIn is not for students, right? Wrong! LinkedIn is absolutely geared to helping students find summer internships, year-long placements, graduate roles and more. Very often recruiters will use the platform to search for and reach out to students who they think might make potential candidates. Don’t miss out on being contacted simply because you do not have an up to date profile.
LinkedIn is only for when I’ve got a job. Not really! Establishing a professional profile while you are still a student is vital in today’s competitive environment. As mentioned above, recruiters use LinkedIn to search for potential candidates so assuming you should wait until you have a job means you might miss out on getting a job. Plus your profile page is a great way of showcasing not only your skills and experience but also some of the projects you’ve been working on during your time at university. This gives prospective employers a more detailed understanding of your knowledge and what you have been studying.
So, how do you get started on LinkedIn? Here are some useful tips (see this Slideshare for more info):
1. Your profile photo
- According to LinkedIn Europe, profiles with photos receive 14 times more views than those that don’t.
- Choose a high quality photo that best reflects your professional image (think neutral background, smart dress, smile and so on).
- Don’t use anything a prospective employer may find inappropriate or offensive.
2. Your headline
- Make a clear, brief statement in your headline.
- Remember that you can change it at any time.
- Think about how you can use this statement to make an impact.
3. Your intro statement
- Think carefully about your introduction statement – be clear, direct, and specific.
- Include keywords that reflect your strengths, skills, experience, and goals/objectives.
4. Your experience
- Make sure you include all the details about your education, work experience, internships, placements and any volunteering.
- Try not to describe job roles but focus on what you achieved, learned, developed, and experienced.
- Quantify your experience where possible, e.g. instead of “Raised money for charity”, be more specific: “Raised £2000 in four weeks for XXX charity”.
5. Your skills
- Don’t forget to include your skills and competencies! Adding these will ensure you appear in more searches.
- You can also be endorsed for your skills by other LinkedIn members, which also helps to raise your profile.
6. Final tips
Keep your profile up to date – whether that’s by adding impressive assignment grades, linking to a project you’ve been involved in, or adding details about some work experience – it all helps to showcase who you are and what you can offer.
Personalise your URL – this makes it easier for people to find you.