Perhaps you’ve heard the term “LinkedIn” from your classmates, your colleagues at work, or maybe by a friend who is job hunting? But just what is this “LinkedIn” they speak of?
Despite LinkedIn being one of the most popular social platforms in the world today, with a third of Australians using it, many still don’t know what LinkedIn is supposed to be used for and how they might benefit from being on it. Now’s your chance to find out exactly how to create that killer profile to land your dream job.
What is LinkedIn, anyway?
LinkedIn is a social networking site for your career. It offers an easy way for you to make yourself visible to current or potential employers, and maintain those all-important professional networks.
Employability Consultant in the University’s Careers and Student Development team, Nicola Evans, says setting up a LinkedIn profile is an absolute must for students entering the workforce.
“The platform is so much more than a job board, it offers you an opportunity to connect and network with professionals all around the globe,” Ms Evans said.
“The functions allows you to develop an online brand which you can use to your advantage to research companies, let companies research you and show off your skills and experience.”
Think of LinkedIn as the online version of a traditional networking event, where you meet other professionals, make important connections and get yourself known by potential employers. On LinkedIn you build “connections” just like you’d add friends on Facebook. You can also converse via private messaging and list all your professional experience, education and achievements in an organised profile to showcase your skills to potential employers.
How can LinkedIn benefit you?
Often students tend to create an account and then abandon LinkedIn altogether, either because they’re focused on their studies (good on you!), or they don’t know how to best utilise it to benefit themselves as a professional.
So why should you be using it?
Job alerts left, right and centre
Once you create a LinkedIn account, you can set email alerts to receive notifications of recommended job opportunities.
Goodbye to paper resumes
With LinkedIn you’re no longer limited to fitting all of your experience on two A4 pages. You can just click the ‘Edit’ button on your profile page and enter in the desired information regarding your experience. The formatting is done for you (but be sure to have correct spelling and grammar).
Connect with professionals and other students
Join professional groups that include like-minded people, or connect with your friends, co-workers, colleagues, classmates, or employers on LinkedIn. It’s never a tough job connecting with them at all. The more connections, the better!
Let others connect with YOU
Many employers look for talented candidates on social networking sites like LinkedIn so if you’ve created a good and detailed professional profile chances are you will attract employers’ attention.
Others can vouch for you
LinkedIn offers a feature where you can get other people to recommend you. It basically means that people you know can vouch for your skills and abilities. The more recommendations you have, the greater the chance of you being noticed and boosting your employability.
Secrets to a great LinkedIn profile
You want to be found by the right people at the right time, right? So, having a professional, eye-catching LinkedIn profile is a sure way of achieving this.
First and foremost: it’s not about you! Write in the first person (as in “I accomplished…”), but remember who your audience is. Consider who you want to read it and what they could take away from it.
Making a great profile isn’t difficult on LinkedIn, but there are some important things you should follow to make sure yours is a stand-out.
Start with a profile pic
Rest easy, you don’t always need a professional headshot, but be sure to go with the cleanest, most professional-looking photo you have. And smile! Remember: that photo may be your first impression with a potential employer.
Have a stand-out headline
Consider listing your specialty and if you want your profile to be searchable, include key words. Best to keep it to about 10 words too.
Fill out the ‘Summary’
Using bullet points, paint a picture of yourself with five of your biggest achievements. And, for any student who want to make their profile stand out a bit more, you can also add media files, like videos. So, if you’re a speaker, presenter, musician or actor, an introduction video could be a great idea.
Fill out as much of the profile as possible
This includes skills, volunteer work, education, etc. Gone are the days where you can’t fit all that interesting stuff onto your resume, because LinkedIn has a place for all of it! These are the kind of things that will paint you as a well-rounded individual.
Keep work history relevant
You don’t need to list every single job you’ve ever had. Instead, only list the things that are relevant to your current career goals.
Add links to your other sites
If you have a work-related blog or online portfolio, make use of the URLs you can have on your profile and link to it. Probably best to leave off your dog’s Facebook profile and any links to cat videos, though. Keep it profesh.
If you prepare yourself as early as possible, you can easily stay ahead of your competition when it comes to landing that perfect job!
Feature image source: Nick Youngson