If, like me, you’re a student whose graduation seems all too soon – or in fact if you’re anyone else seeking a professional career then you can’t go far wrong with LinkedIn. The business-orientated networking site is a gold mine full of opportunities for anyone seeking work in their desired industry – and that includes postgrads and current students. To be able to use LinkedIn to your advantage however, you must ace your content and make yourself stand out from the hundreds of thousands of others who use it. Below I have complied a few tips I would recommend to anyone hoping to use LinkedIn to their advantage – they secured me my paid internship this year and I don’t doubt they could help you along the way as well
1. Build up your profile
Cram it with information about yourself… But stay relevant. Potential employers love to hear about work experiences, schemes you may have enrolled on and to see examples of your work – to go that extra mile you can add a small portfolio to your profile by attaching it to your bio. If you think something is relevant, it probably is and you can never big yourself up enough; so any experiences you have need to go on there.
Credited as a professional networking site, this is pretty much what LinkedIn is all about. Connect with as many relevant people to you as you can. When I started using LinkedIn I used to be reserved about who I connected with but after using it for well over 2 years I have come to realise that having a lot of connections is much more beneficial, it has outstanding effects on your post views, plus makes you more subjectable to potential employers. You never know who you may connect with and where it may lead! That being said, also be somewhat selective. Try and connect with people within the industry that you want to work in and have interest in (for me, thats PR and comms) that’s how you meet the relevant people that you can stay in touch with.
3. Watch your privacy settings
Something I didn’t know for a very long time was that LinkedIn informs a person when you’ve viewed their profile, which can be interesting initially but (if like me) you’re just a tiny bit nosey, then said person is going to know all about that. So be selective about who and how often you stalk. It’s okay to search someones profile before or just after connecting, but going back to it again and again just makes you look creepy – that’s one to avoid! Or, of course, set your profile to private!
4. Don’t be afraid to ask
LinkedIn is surprisingly full of really helpful people. Just before starting back at University this year I put up a post asking if any of my connections knew of any work experience opportunities going in the North West region, not expecting to hear anything back of course but I thought, what have I got to lose. However after about a week, over 100,000 people had seen my post and i’d had eight offers of work placements, which then of course I had to narrow down. Now, because of that post I sit here typing this today in Manchester at my desk at Digital PR agency Tecmark, where I work one day a week as a paid digital PR intern. Because of one kind stranger and their recommendation I am now working in the job I love, before i’ve even graduated! I also completed various other bits of work experiences, all of which are helping me work towards shaping a great CV which is hopefully going to lead me in to my perfect post grad job! So go ahead and put a post up if you need help getting somewhere, you never know who’s going to be there to help you.
5. Be personal, but not too personal
And finally, it’s okay to put some personal things on LinkedIn but be very selective with what you post. Keep the really personal posts and opinions for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc… And also, make sure you have a filter. Remember that all your views that you voice on LinkedIn are available for any future potential employers to see, so make sure you’re saying the right things!
Let me know if you use LinkedIn, and if you have any more tips i’d love to hear them!