LinkedIn is different to other social media platforms, it’s main purpose is helping you to build up your professional network. This can be really useful for your career progression. Below I have written seven tips about how you can use this site.
Tip 1: Who to link in with.
Instead of only linking in with your friends and people you know, it’s important to realise that you can link in with people that are in the same professional area as you. You can even link in with people that are in a different professional area. If you don’t know someone, but would like to link in with them, then you could write a quick note to them (this option is offered, but isn’t compulsory).
Tip 2: Exploring career paths.
Use it as a way to explore the career paths you’re interested in. You can use searches to do this – filter the organisations that you are interested in working for. You are also able to view the career history of people in that organisation and you may get an idea of what is valued in that company. Are there a diverse mixture of employees working there? Have people that have moved into roles that you might be interested in, worked in that industry for a long time? Can you see how they have used their transferable skills, if they have moved from one career role to the next?
Tip 3: Linking in with people that have studied at the same place
You can link in with people that have studied at the same institute/college/university as you. There is a filter for this and it’s a way to link in with alumni who are in the area that you want to work in. You can send a message, something like ‘Hi, I noticed you are an alumni of X college and are also working in a field that I’m interested in going into. Do you mind linking in?’
Tip 4: Build up the number of people you’re linked to
Building up the number of people you are linked to means that more people in turn will be able to view your profile. This will help when you are looking for work, whether this is an actual role or freelance work. Recruiters and headhunters use LinkedIn to find candidates for interesting roles they’re trying to fill.
Tip 5: Complete your profile in one go
If you are new to LinkedIn it’s best to complete your profile in one go. A half-filled in profile doesn’t look very good. Set aside some time. Make sure you use a professional photograph. Fill in each section as it comes up. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, or how you would exactly like it first time. It’s something you can come back to, but you’ll want to fill in the essentials. Like the headline, the about section, your career history and your qualifications.
Tip 6: Include bullet points in the work experience section.
Just like the CV, bullet points make each section much more quickly scannable. If your CV and LinkedIn work experience sections are identical, then that’s OK. That’s good even, as then there will be no discrepancies when a potential employer looks at your profile.
Tip 7: The headline and the ‘about’ section.
Underneath your name, there’ll be a short statement, also known as the headline. You’ll also have an about section near the top. As these two areas are some of the first bits that anyone looking at your profile will see, then it’s important to pay some attention to them. Below I give more detail about these two sections.
The headline section of LinkedIn
The headline should be short and should clearly indicate your professional status and what you’re looking for. You can use key words that you think recruiter might use so that you will come up when they are searching for candidates.
Your ‘about’ section
Key words (such as a description of your skills) are really important in the ‘about’ section. You can have a look at several job descriptions for roles you are going for and use the words that typically come up, so that recruiters can find you.
Your ‘about’ section doesn’t have to be too long, but it does need to give a good account of what you have to offer and what you’re looking for.
LinkedIn is used by millions of professionals worldwide. It enables you to present yourself professionally. You can also search for jobs and other opportunities. You’ll also be able to make new contacts, as well as maintain relationships with colleges. It can be used as a platform to research organisations and other professionals nationally and internationally.
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