LinkedIn as we know is an online directory of professionals and companies. As it is claimed that 80% of jobs are not advertised, it makes sense that we should all have a well put together and professional looking LinkedIn page.
LinkedIn is a great way to improve your networking skills and keep in touch with any business contacts you make. It’s Facebook for the business world, allowing you to show your experience, education, skills and goals for your career.
Here are some tips to help you get started with your LinkedIn profile.
Put your face to your name
Your profile picture should be a professional looking headshot. Remember this is not Facebook so don’t crop a random holiday snap. Take the time to make your profile as polished and professional as possible.
At the top of your profile there is a small space to describe what you do or what you have to offer. You can just pop in your official title here – Recent Graduate, Bachelor of Arts Undergraduate, HR Specialist, Marketing Executive etc. However, it is more beneficial to write a short paragraph using descriptive keywords that will make you as marketable as possible, and will help prospective employers find you. Keep in mind employers use LinkedIn like you and I use Google. It is a search engine to help them find people with the skills they need.
Just like with your CV it is imperative that you proofread thoroughly before posting information. Why not play it safe and copy your text into word and do a spell check.
Help employers find you
Include keywords. When prospective employers use LinkedIn, they use certain industry-specific key words. These are the terms that will help you show up in their search results. Think of words and phrases people might use to search for someone with your background or experience. Visit the careers section of some companies you are interested in and pick common keywords around that job or industry sector.
This is a really useful tool on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. They can be from your college lecturers, a mentor, a former employer, even another student from your class. A well-written, glowing recommendation from a peer can be more beneficial that a generic, impersonal one from a high-ranking CEO!
Think of all the people you have worked and collaborated with who have benefited from your skillset or the advice you gave. Did you lead projects, help peers through difficult subject matter, hit all your assignment deadlines or sit on a club/society committee? There will always be someone you can approach.
There are groups on every topic and industry you can imagine and by joining a group you are building your network and relationships with people who are doing similar work or have similar interests as you.
Are you finished?
This is LinkedIn’s definition of a 100% Complete Profile:
— Your industry and location
— An up-to-date current position (with a description)
— Two past positions
— Your education
— Your skills (minimum of 3)
— A profile photo
— At least 50 connections (not all in one day as you may be written off as a spam account)
As a student still in college, it may be impossible to tick all of these. Aim for as many as you can and over time, you will achieve all of the above.
Now you are ready to go.