At some point everyone should have a LinkedIn profile, it’s a great opportunity to broadcast all your experience, give plenty of detail on what you’ve done and even share pieces of your work. With a LinkedIn profile you can share with your potential employer so much more than you can share with a CV, especially if you’re going for the minimalistic but eye-catching approach.
Despite the opportunities on LinkedIn, there are so many profiles out there that have so much potential, yet aren’t given the time and love they need to shine and stand out from the crowd. Everyone’s been there though! When I first started my profile I had nothing on there apart from my name, my photo and my university and course.
Then, over the past couple of years I’ve slowly started to dedicate more time to it and as a result it has grown and I have built up a network of contacts. I’m going to share with you a few of the tips I learnt over the time I’ve built it up, so that hopefully you can make your profile star quality in half the time!
….Within reason, of course. If you are looking for a job in communications and you’ve worked in retail, add it in! You’ve built up customer service skills. If you’re looking to go into business and you worked at the local Fairtrade shop, you may have picked up management skills and book-keeping. If you picked up any transferable skills along the way, whether it’s touch typing, learning how to manage accounts or even another language add it all in, because it shows you are aware of how these placements and experiences have benefitted you and what you’ve gained from them.
So many accounts will just list their job title, place of work and dates, but LinkedIn gives you a whole text box completely free to add in any details you want. Give examples of briefs you’ve worked on, what skills you built in that placement and a little bit about your role there. Others will engage with you and your profile 10x better if they can get a sense of what you’ve actually done and who you are. Think of it more as a conversation. If someone asked what you did while you worked somewhere, what would you say? It’s also a great opportunity to add in all those extra details that might not fit on a CV.
You probably know this already, but you should always try and get a recommendation from any placements. If you’ve only been there a week they may be reluctant, but anything over a month you should get a recommendation from. LinkedIn has a great feature which lets other users, in this case your boss, post a recommendation on your profile. These are great because they are easy to find and read and you immediately know who’s written and what their qualifications are. If you get the opportunity always ask for their recommendation to be posted on LinkedIn and you can always copy it down from there. There’s also a brilliant little feature that lets you ask for a recommendation, so get asking soon after you’ve finished your placements, while you’re still fresh in their memory!
This is again within reason, but whether you only briefly met them at a networking event, or you spoke to them on the phone, pretty much anywhere where you’ve spoken to someone in your industry and mentioned your name, add them on LinkedIn, especially if you’re a student. LinkedIn is a great way to build a network of connections for when you graduate or for in the future whenever you’re looking for experience or a job. People often advertise jobs on there so connecting with anyone you’ve met in your industry is obviously a bonus. If you want to make more of an impression I would also recommend sending them a message, even if it’s just ‘Hi, thank you for connecting with me’. You can ask if they have any tips about getting into the industry, what their company does (or if you’ve researched you could comment on what their company does and if you’re interested in joining). There are so many opportunities to build your network and surround yourself with connections who may prove helpful in the future.
Finally, Share Your Content
I used to only promote my blog posts over Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus (a great SEO opportunity I will go into in more detail in another post) and what a mistake that was. Posting over LinkedIn may not give you as many views as you get through Facebook and Twitter but it’s a great opportunity to share your content with like-minded people and prove your writing skills to potential employers. Obviously if you’re going into economics or something mathsy then proving your writing skills isn’t as important, but if you’re going into communications it’s vital. Through LinkedIn you can not only include a link to your blog in your experience, but you can also share each of your new posts and draw in potential employers, showing an interest in the industry and showcasing those spectacular writing skills.
So give your profile that extra little bit of TLC and you’ll be a shining star amongst all the other profiles. Don’t let those contacts pass you by!