What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social media network used for professional networking between those in the business hierarchy. Employers can search for job seekers with the skills they require and vice versa. It is becoming one of the most useful tools to use in the job industry today. For example, recruitment platform Jobvite found that 94% of U.S. Companies perform social recruiting and that LinkedIn was named as their dominant recruiting network.
LinkedIn describes what it does in three statements;
- Connect. Find. Be found. – Build your professional identity online and stay in touch with colleagues and classmates.
- Power your career. – Discover professional opportunities, business deals and new ventures.
- Learn and share. – Get the latest news, inspiration and insights. You need to be great at what you do
Creating a profile
Your profile is the first thing the prospective employer will see and gain knowledge from. So like any job interview, you must be presentable.
Photos – LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to upload both a profile and a header photo.
Profile photos should be professional, use a clear and recent smart looking headshot. Remember this is like a job interview, you should portray yourself like you would in front of a possible employer.
Here are some tips to make sure your profile photo is professional looking enough for LinkedIn
- Choose a photo that looks like you. No heavily edited or instagram filtered photos. It needs to reflect how you’d look day to day in work. Hair and make up how you’d usually have it. Glasses if you wear them all the time.
- Make sure your face is visible in the frame, no distant shot. The employer wants to know what you look like. A good idea is cropping the photo from just under the shoulders and letting your face fill up the rest of the frame.
- Wear work appropriate clothes in the photo. Don’t look either underdressed or overdressed for the level of work you want. Solid colours photograph best, no crazy patterns!
- A plain background will make sure you are the focal point and that nothing is distracting the viewer from your face.
Header photos should tie into your theme, for example, if you are a photographer, include some of your recent work.
Summary – This is where you describe yourself. Make it personal and passionate, show the love for what you do and what you want to do. Highlight your key accomplishments that you want the reader to know about. This is the first chance to draw in the potential employer and make them want to know more about you. LinkedInsights have some good examples here. Less is more, don’t overload them with a big paragraph but don’t undersell yourself either.
Location – This should be your current location, or where you are most frequently.
Why is this? Employers will search in certain areas for skilled workers, therefore, if you include your location, you are increasing your chances of being employed in the area.
Username/URL – All your professional profiles should have a unique username/url that are interlinked.
For example, having your professional twitter and professional email address as the same will help others remember it easier. If they know your username on one site, they can search for you on others.
If your name isn’t available as a username there are other ways to create an individual name. Something short and snappy that sticks in someones mind, like tigernach! Or for example, you could include your university in your professional username while you are studying at Leeds Trinity. Such as @JohnSmithLTU or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you use it for everything professional people are more likely to remember your username and who you are.
Contact Information – Phone numbers, email, address. Basic contact details. This should always be up to date and in detail.
Always mention if you’re not available at a number at certain times. If your details are correct and up to date it makes it easier for those trying to contact you.
Social Media – If you link your other social media websites to LinkedIn make sure they are PROFESSIONAL.
Your prospective employer doesn’t want to see photos of your latest night out. Make an impression on them, be interesting. Keep your personal profiles private and secure and your public professional profile impressive.
“But how do I act professional over social media?”
Here are some tips on how to maintain a professional reputation online.
- Make sure posts are statements you would feel comfortable talking to your employer or colleges about. Think how they would react to what was said or how they would feel.
- Don’t use offensive language, be it swear words or offensive views. Re-read what you say and make sure it doesn’t offend anyone in any way.
- Avoid oversharing emotionally, your employers don’t want details about your personal life.
- Don’t make religious or political statements, your opinions are your own and others will differentiate. Keep it neutral.
- Never complain or comment about your workplace online. Complaining about your work or colleagues on social media is announcing to your employers that you’re not a professional person. They will think that you are there to cause disruptions in work morale.
- If you want to be taken seriously online, make sure your spelling and grammar are at a professional level. No one wants to read an email full of typos or slang.
- Like previously mentioned, make sure your profile photo is professional. Untag yourself from any that you deem unprofessional so that employers don’t stumble upon drunken photos!
- Again, like previously mentioned, be uncontroversial and neutral in what you express online.
- Only follow/friend people you know and trust. Associate yourself on social media with those of good character and that steer clear of online dramatics. If you have problems with what someone is posting, privately ask them to stop and / or unfriend/unfollow/block them if they cannot do what you ask.
Current Position – If you are studying or working. This gives the employer an idea of what you’re doing at the moment.
For example, “Currently studying English and Media at Leeds Trinity University” tells the employer that I am currently working towards a degree, thus would like to gain knowledge of working in a professional environment through placements rather than full time work which would intervene with my studies.
Education – Include past to present relevant education.
When talking about secondary school, only mention grades in the number you have achieved, for example “Achieved 6 GCSE’s graded A – C” “Distinction in National BTEC Diploma” . If they want to know more about these grades they can contact you for further information.
Include the fact that you are studying an undergraduate degree and mention projects you have achieved a high grade in, include final pieces of work if you have produced something. For example, if you worked for a TV Production, include the work you achieved.
Multimedia – This links into what I’ve mentioned above. Employers love to see creativity and loathe to see big blocks of black text on a white background.
LinkedIn allows you to share photos, videos, presentations and many more forms of multimedia. So take advantage of this! Show yourself off! Include the best creative work you have to offer. Or photos of you working in your company. Anything that gives the viewer a visual idea of what you do or what you have to offer. This is your chance to impress them.
Employment History – Where you have worked.
This should be a summary of all past jobs worked and what they entailed. Remember to use key words that employers will be looking for. For example, if you are wanting to work as an editor and are proficient at using Final Cut Pro, make sure you include this in your description. If your employers are also on LinkedIn, make sure that it links to their page. This will help employers see the type of company that hired you beforehand, see if it’s relevant.
Always include your job title, the prospective employer would like to know what you were employed as beforehand.
Connections – You can connect your profile with those that you have worked for and worked with.
This is important as it increases the amount of people that can find you throughout the website, they can contact colleagues if they so wished for an insight of your work ethic or contact clients and see if you achieved what was asked of you. Make sure those that you connect with are happy with your work! It’s useful to remain in contact with past colleagues and employers as they may bare you in mind when a new opportunity arises.
Groups – LinkedIn groups are visible in your profile and show what your interests are. But they are also useful as a resource to converse with professionals in the industry who have similar interests and skills as you. Think of it as a support group, if you run into a problem, someone there will have dealt with a similar issue and can give you in help. You can also help others too.
Recommendations – Like when an employer reads a CV, they want to hear what other people think you.
This encourages people when they read your profile, if they hear positive reviews from others, they will be more inclined to contact you. Ask in person or write a personal email and express how their recommendation would benefit you both. Make sure you get good recommendations! Help others also, if you can vouch for someone they’re likely to support you back.
Languages – If you speak more than one language make sure to include this in your profile, this makes you more attractive to international employers. Include your fluency level too, make sure you’re upfront about how much you can understand.
Skills – This is one of the most important parts of your profile, employers will search for those that hold the skills that you have included in your profile so make sure you have listed everything you hold. Skills such as being suffiencent in using Microsoft office, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro or if you are able to use industry standard cameras such as a Canon or a Sony NX5.
Overall, your profile should be organised, make sure your descriptions are easily read. This means no large blocks of text, use bullet points and lists to enforce yourself. Short and simple statements make more of an impression than a long winded introduction. If your profile is visually appealing and straightforward, you’re more likely to draw in someone viewing it, thus they will learn more about you.
Word Count – 1755
Foote, A. (2013). 3 Stunningly Good LinkedIn Profile SUMMARIES. [online] LINKEDINSIGHTS.COM. Available at: http://www.linkedinsights.com/3-stunningly-good-linkedin-profile-summaries/ [Accessed 20 Oct. 2015].
Kasper, K. (2012). Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey Finds Over 90% of Employers Will Use Social Recruiting in 2012. [online] Jobvite. Available at: http://www.jobvite.com/press-releases/2012/jobvite-social-recruiting-survey-finds-90-employers-will-use-social-recruiting-2012/ [Accessed 20 Oct. 2015].
Linkedin.com, (2015). What is LinkedIn? | LinkedIn. [online] Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/static?key=what_is_linkedin [Accessed 20 Oct. 2015].