LinkedIn is a free online social network for the world of work. It's a great tool for connecting with other professionals and helps you to gain an insight into the conversations that are happening in different industries and for finding jobs. Increasing numbers of employers check potential candidates' social media when recruiting and use social media to promote their vacancies.
It's also increasingly used by recruiters to find student and graduate talent. Creating a good profile is essential to enable potential employers to find you.
These simple steps can help you create a professional LinkedIn presence and increase your visibility to employers:
1. Check out LinkedIn's resources for students on how to build a strong student profile, make connections and research employers.
2. Create a profile
Your LinkedIn profile is more than a CV – it's a dynamic snapshot of your knowledge, experience and skills.
Including these elements in your profille will ensure that you have a better chance of being discovered:
Profiles that include pictures get 14 times more views than those without. First impressions count. Remember that you are presenting yourself to other professionals and potential employers, so choose a clear, sharp picture with a neutal background and don't forget to smile!
Use your current role e.g. media arts student or your career goal e.g. aspiring communications professional.
Think of this section as your elevator pitch. Make sure it has impact by keeping it short and succinct. Include your strenghts, interests and career goals and include some keywords related to the industry and job role you're interested in to increase your search potential.
This is what makes you stand out. Include work experience, part-time jobs, volunteer work and the skills you've gained from them. Include keywords when describing your responsibilities and examples of your achievements. Add links or documents to showcase your writing, design work or projects you've completed.
These are like mini references. Look for quality here and not quantity. Ask your tutors, or the managers you've worked for to give you a recommendation.
3. Build a network
Building your network will increase your chances of being found on LinkedIn by employers and also increase the opportunities you might be exposed to.
It is encouraged to start while you are at university. This is potentially the first time you meet people who have the same professional interests and passions as you, people you might work with in future, so start by connecting with your class mates and tutors.
Groups are a good way to connect with likeminded people and gain insight into the industry you are interested in. Start with Alumni groups and follow companies and influencers to stay on top of what is happening within the sector. Furthermmore, it can also help you explore and find out about jobs and career paths you may not have discovered.
4. Find jobs
Most jobs are found through someone you know, so build your connections. It is also helpful to browse the student internship and jobs portal on LinkedIn where you can find entry level positions. Check regularly for job postings and when you view a relevant job, LinkedIn may suggest other similar jobs.
If you connect with groups and companies, you will stay up to date with their latest news, which could help you prepare for job applications and job interviews.
LinkedIn is also popular amongst recruiters, so ensure that your profile is maintained, engage with your connections, and following groups can help recruiters discover you.
5. Get careers advice
There is also an option to seek careers advice from professionals in the sector or role you are interested in. You can find this via your dashboard which is within the section where you edit your profile. You are then able to set your preferences and explain what you would like to get advice on. LinkedIn will provide you with some 'industry leaders', who have agreed to provide advice, that match your requirements.
- The Careers & Employability Service run LinkedIn Day several times a year, where we host workshops, check profiles and provide one to one profile checks. Check our events list to see if one is coming up.
- You can also have your LinkedIn profile checked by a Careers Consultant at any point by booking an appointment.