So there may be a few people out there, or maybe even a lot of people, who may have heard of LinkedIn, but not really sure what to do or how to use it, so I thought I’d give a little helping hand into making the perfect profile and key tips to help you stay in the game!
Illustration: Diego Cornejo
For starters, LinkedIn is a social networking site that is based around business. “LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with 300 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe” (LinkedIn, About Us page, 2014) — impressive! The aim of LinkedIn is for users to create personal profiles about their skills, qualifications and experiences that may be relevant. This will then become public for employers who are searching for the skill set you may have. But to make yourself stand out from the crowd, you need to make sure your profile is professional, so taking time on your profile is essential if you want a successful outcome! Don’t panic though, LinkedIn is very helpful and will take you through a step-by-step guide of your profile and providing you with different areas that can potentially boost your profile. The great thing about LinkedIn is that it allows users to connect to other users and also suggests the ones that have similar interests, hobbies, qualifications or skills. So if you were in the Media workplace, you would want to connect to people who also do media. LinkedIn’s search algorithm means the more connections you have, the higher you will be in the search results.
The Perfect Profile
The key thing is to get your profile sorted first, DO NOT skip the suggested field ares that can be filled with skills unless they do not apply, because setting up your profile first is more important than trying to route through LinkedIn to see how it all works.
So first things first, your profile photo. This needs to be an up-to-date headshot of yourself, make sure it is professional but also smile to show that you are the friendly, welcoming person you say you are.
You can also customise your URL which is a good way to make people remember your public profile, so try to give it a unique and memorable name, even if it is just using your own name, that way then it still looks professional but also easy to find.
LinkedIn provides different areas that can be filled in to cater all people whether you have little experience and lots of qualifications or vice versa.
These will allow you to show case your skills to potential employees, and for the best outcome, include as much as you can and try to include at least one thing in each category if possible, that way then an employer will be more likely to look at your profile than others.
Here’s how you can talk about the important features on your profile…
Summary The summary is written in first person, and is mainly talking about your own characteristics, for example: being outgoing. However make it light, too much information about yourself will sound like you’re waffling, which isn’t professional. Explain how you help others; are you good at working in a team? And mention how others can also help you; I could learn how to schedule a blog, because remember, nobody is perfect. However, don’t focus too much on this, but briefly touch on your hobbies and interests, just to give the employer an idea of what you like to do in your spare time. If you feel like you’re writing too much, this can be a great opportunity for you to include some rich content, for example using slide share to present your hobbies, interests and skills. By using rich content, this can show off your IT knowledge as well as your knowledge of different online platforms which is definitely a bonus on your behalf!
Filling in your employment history is definitely an important step because employers want to know the previous experience you have and if it is relevant so you can transfer previous knowledge over to their work force. Mention the skills you gained from your experience and what your responsibilities were so the employers know that you actually gained skills on the job. The job titles that are mentioned are the most important search fields so make sure you use keywords and that it is spelt correctly.
My LinkedIn Experience
Here is a screen shot of my LinkedIn account and what I have written for my employment experience. Being a student, I have had little employment history, however it is still vital to write down whatever you have experience in. Here I have worked for Bradford Council as part of the Play Team, and my job role is a Multi Activity Coach; I have been in this position for 2 years and 7 months and still work in this role. Even though this job is not relevant to the future job that I want, the skills are, because these can be transferred over and also show my capabilities of learning skills within a working environment.
This is also another excellent factor to mention if you have any volunteer experience and is a really good way to show employers that you have the ‘get up and go’ attitude and that you are willing to donate your skills and time.
“41% of LinkedIn hiring managers consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience when evaluating candidates.” (LinkedIn, 2014)
Skills and Endorsements
This is again essential for showing off what you have learnt, and can also help the employer pick the right candidate that has the right skills to meet the requirements of the job.
Try pick keywords and common phrases such as ‘Leadership’ or ‘Punctual’ so that you can utilise successful search terms.
The employer is mainly looking for what skills you have so you can even include what kind of software you know how to use, even if it’s just Microsoft Word or Microsoft Powerpoint.
Here I have included any software that I am comfortable using and know enough about the software to be able to use if asked. I have also added skills that I have gained previously from work experiences and things I have learnt through my education studies.
For this section, you need to make sure that you put your educational details in chronological order. Include your highschool, sixthform/college and university if applicable, and enter the dates you attended. It also allows you to add any grades, subjects, activities, societies and a description, so fill in what you feel is necessary.
Here is an example of my LinkedIn Education Field:
My LinkedIn Education
The small logo to the right of my university is the Leeds Trinity University logo and means that other students that also attend Leeds Trinity will be able to see my profile and are able to connect to my profile, but I’ll go into more detail about connections later.
Certificates are also a little boost for your profile, and it is ok if you do not have any, because not everybody can access courses to gain a certificate.
BUT, if you do have any certificates, be sure to add them to this field; LinkedIn will ask for the title, certificate number, date received and other certificate related questions so fill out as much as you can. This again is another way of showing off your expertise to impress employers.
My LinkedIn Certificates
On my LinkedIn profile, I have added my First Aid Trained certificate so employers know that I have achieved a very important certificate. I also have the dates so that they know when it will run out and where I gained my certificate, which is with my current job with Bradford Council.
Projects are also a good thing to add to your profile, because it can include projects within work, within education and/or spare time. This will show potential employers that you can get involved and can portray a good work ethic, even if the project was not work related.
LinkedIn will ask you the name of the project, when the project was done but also includes team members, and you can add other people who were involved in the project, which is useful if they also have a LinkedIn profile.
If you have been part of a project, be sure to write this down to add an extra wow-factor to your profile!
My LinkedIn Projects
Here is the project that I decided to show case. This was an art project that me and my sister did in our spare time because we really enjoy painting and drawing, so took this one step further to have our work displayed in a gallery. This shows that we had ambition to have our work seen by others and also shows enthusiasm which will impress potential employers.
Additional information should only be brief but include things like hobbies and interests, again a little like the summary, however these will only be brief, set phrases, so just jot down all the interests you can think of. Here’s an example of what my Additional Information field looks like…
My LinkedIn Additional Information
Well I did say I’d come back to them! Connections are essential and you should connect with people you know such as fellow students, clients or work colleagues.
You can ask somebody to connect with you by sending an invitation to connect to your profile and act similar to friend requests or follows on Facebook and Twitter, however, these connections carry your professional profile. This will allow you to keep up to date with profiles that you have connected to and vice versa.
Connections are split into 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
- 1st degree – A direct connection through the acceptance of an invitation to connect profiles, normally people you know and trust.
- 2nd degree – People that are connected to your 1st-degree connections and will have a 2nd degree icon hovering near their profile.
- 3rd connection – People who are connected to the 2nd-degree connections and will have a 3rd degree icon hovering near their profile.
Again, the more connections, the more popular your profile is and will appear higher up when searched.
As well as information about yourself, make sure you post at least twice a week a new status update about recent topics or share relevant articles. This is easier when you have downloaded the app on to your mobile phone so you can do this on the go without having to hunt down a computer. This will show Google and LinkedIn that you’re keeping up to date and can help improve your search engine optimisation. (SEO)
Also search for group topics on subjects you are interested in so that you can contribute yourself ; this can get your name seen, even if it is just a ‘like’. Also join the groups that you feel are relevant because LinkedIn will include more people in your searches depending on how many people are in the group, which is a great way of meeting new people and connecting with more contacts!
So to sum it up for you, make sure all your information and details are correct, no telling fibs because that will not get you anywhere!
Proof read what you have written and make sure it all makes sense, take a sensible profile photo that should be a headshot, showing a friendly smile to show that you’re still human!
Add as much information as you possibly can, showing off what you have is a good to reel in employers!
And remember…. connections are key.
That’s all for now, hope I have helped any troubles, comment below or like if this helped!
Bye for now bloggers!
https://www.linkedin.com/about-us?trk=hb_ft_about https://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/87/~/customizing-your-public-profile-url https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140327151938-19713953-7-linkedin-profile-tips-and-tricks-in-2014-that-make-a-difference