By Julian Childs, Senior Business Developer
In addition to a strong CV, you need an engaging LinkedIn profile that potential employers and recruiters can look up online before they invite you for an interview. Its purpose is to enable them to feel that they know you a bit better, so write it enthusiastically in order to convey something of your personality, as well as to promote your experience, achievements and ambitions.
Here are my top 10 tips for student job hunters to get up and running with LinkedIn:
1. Always use your First Name and Surname as simply as possible – and do this consistently with your CV, business card, email address and signature. If LinkedIn is a High Street, then your LinkedIn profile is a unique shop from where you sell your services and value under your ‘personal brand’. But variations confuse people and make it harder to identify you.
2. Capture and promote your business proposition as a headline next to your name, making this as unique as possible. For instance, I work as a Career Coach at Regent’s University London, but my headline reads “Careers Expert, Marketer, Networking Dynamo, Opportunity Catalyst” because, at the time of writing, this is the only one out of over 225 million people on LinkedIn, compared to about 205,000 people who describe themselves simply as “Career Coach”.
3. Upload a friendly, smart and professional looking photo of yourself. Colour or mono is fine but do not use holiday snaps, arty poses, cartoons, symbols or avatars.
4. LinkedIn automatically allocates your profile a URL and you should edit this so that it mirrors your personal brand name as closely as possible. Mine, for example, now reads www.linkedin.com/in/julianchilds and by promoting this widely via my business card, email signature and CV, I encourage people to look up my profile and bring me opportunities.
5. The “Summary” section is the place to communicate a powerful, personalised elevator pitch – and you can use the ‘Specialties’ sub-section to make a factual list of areas of expertise and interests in order to show up in search engines.
6. Write a brief description of your responsibilities and achievements under each position in your career path. These will come to life if you can secure a strong recommendation from a senior manager, colleague or client for each role. A small number of strong ‘Recommendations’ are always more impressive than lots of weak ones.
7. Join the largest and most relevant LinkedIn Groups for every field of work that you want to explore. Also, select the ‘Companies’ link from under the ‘Interests’ tab and ‘follow’ target employers for news and contacts. Monitor both these facilities for advertised jobs, and also to identify people and discussions to feed your expertise and assist you with interview preparation.
8. Using the ‘Jobs’ tab you can enter an ideal job title or company to identify relevant vacancies. But these are advertised vacancies and competition will be intense, so it may serve you to seek a personal introduction to the company with a speculative approach in the hope you’ll be considered uniquely on your merits and not in comparison with others.
9. Click the ‘People’ tab and type in your ideal job title, organisation and location to reveal people already doing it – and then research their profiles to see how they got there. Then, maybe you can use your LinkedIn contacts to find someone you know mutually to introduce you, giving you access to the hidden job market.
10. If you want to raise your professional profile to get noticed by a wider audience, consider linking the ‘Update box’ to your Twitter account and then use both channels to occasionally share interesting views, events, quotes and/or articles.
Julian Childs runs a LinkedIn Masterclass that Regent’s University Students and Alumni can attend free of charge. Please contact us for further details.