Linkedin is a professional social networking site where employers, businesses and employees can stay in touch and network with each other. It also acts as an on-line CV and is often used in recruitment and job search.
We recommend as well as a hard copy CV that you use your time in the University to build and complete your Linked In Profile. When you leave, your profile should be comprehensive and match your CV.
Although Linkedin is not necessarily going to get you a job on its own, there are many different ways to search for a job and it’s just one part of your on-line presence and job search strategy. Having a professional and comprehensive profile will be beneficial if employers search for you on-line. It’s no longer enough to have a solid CV, students now need a professional on-line presence.
This page will take you through the different elements of Linkedin and give you an idea on how to make the most of your profile.
Building a Strong Profile
To ensure employers get a good, strong impression from your Linkedin profile. It is important that you:
- Use a professional photo – A photo of you, alone, looking professional, with a plain background. Do not post photos with friends, at social events or any cartoons.
- Add your experience – As you move through University, be aware of the experience you are getting, any voluntary work, part-time work or experience where you have contributed, worked as a team or organised events is worth adding.
- Create a headline that sells you – The headline should in a nutshell state what you are currently doing or looking for. A good example of this is your name, followed by your current position (If It’s relevant) and possibly your career goals. If you do not have a current position do not just put 'student’ and don’t leave it blank. A good example is “Media Student/Student ambassador seeking work in the PR industry”. This clearly tells the employer what you are doing and what you are aiming for. If you apply for jobs please be aware that you may need to customise this to the job you are applying for, to highlight the most relevant skills you have for that position.
- Create a keyword rich summary that sells you – The summary is similar to a personal statement on a CV, the difference is 'keywords’. Keywords are words that are picked up by the Linkedin search engine when employers are searching for candidates. For example, a student who has experience in live sound engineering or using a particular computer programme such as Photoshop should put these words in their summary. In this case the employer would most likely search for things like 'sound engineer’ or 'graphic designer’ or may use more industry specific technical terms. Do not put skills on here that you do not have, you will only need to provide good evidence of them. Make sure your summary is typo free, focused and specific to your skills, goals and achievements.
- Get recommendations – Recommendations are a great way to show potential employers what others think of you. Don’t be afraid to ask your lecturer, part-time work boss, volunteering colleagues or freelance associates for recommendations. When asking for recommendations try and personalise your message and always be polite and personable.
- Use linkedin in conjunction with other social media and CVs. – You can customise your Linkedin Personal URL so that it is close to your name. You can do this by editing your URL under your profile photo and add this link to your hard copy CV. You can also connect your Twitter account to your profile. However, be aware of this as it’s not always seen as good practice, tweeting three times a day about what you are doing is not good for your professional image. If you do connect it, we recommend you use a separate professional Twitter account and tweet sparingly with industry relevant content.
LinkedIn for UK Students
linkedIn for UK Students: Top 5 Profile To Do’s
Take a look at the LinkedIn for Students webpages here: students.linkedin.com/uk
Research Career Paths
Linkedin can be used to research into specific career areas. It can give you an insight into how to get into certain industries, who are the employers and how did employees get to where they are now.
- Select an industry that you are interested in – You can do this just by searching a word of interest in Linkedin’s search facility. For example, you could search for 'Teacher’ or 'Television’ or more specific like 'Forensic Chemist’. The results of this search will show all the profiles containing these keywords. You can filter the results further to suit your needs. Once you have found individuals that show a career path you are interested in, take a look at their previous experience, how they got to where they are now and take notice of the groups they are a member of. As you grow your connections you will be able to access the careers information of more and more people.
- Join groups – By joining groups relevant to industries you are interested in you get an insight into what the hot topics are and the individuals involved. You will find news items, event announcements and discussions.
- Research and target companies – By using Linkedin’s company search facility you can find companies in your sector. Use the search filter to select location, company size and industry sector. From this you can see what the company does, who works for the company and take advantage of the useful 'insights’ section (Bottom Right), which suggests other companies that are similar that others have viewed. Not all companies will be on Linkedin, but you will find most major companies will be.
Connecting with People
Building your professional network is important. While you are in University, take your time and add people relevant to your interests and sector.
- Who you know – A good pace to start is through the people you know. Begin by thinking of who you know, friends, family, lecturers and any people who have worked with in the past. Upload your contacts by adding connections, and select the people who you think may be worth connecting with.
- Groups – If you are just about to graduate, connect with the University Linkedin alumni group and any other relevant industry groups. By joining these groups you can instantly connect with people without the usual restrictions.
- Face to face – Once you have met people professionally in person it is useful to add them on Linkedin to follow this up.
- How you ask people to connect – Do not just add people, a personalised message is always the best way to connect. Be honest, personable and polite about why you would like to connect.
Preparing for Interviews
Through social media and Linkedin you can gain an insight into a company that was previously not possible. You can find out about the culture, its employees and its ethos.
- Company culture – You can find out about the companies ethos, mission statement and what they are involved in by searching for employee and company profiles. Also use external sites such a Twitter, Google and blogs to research this. Visit Using social media in your job search to explore this further.
- Industry news in the company you are applying for – By joining relevant groups, you can see what are the current issues and what is the most up to date information relating to the company. Obviously external websites also apply here. Visit Using social media in your job search to explore this further.
- Individuals employee profiles – Use the company search to find out about current and past employees. Information such as their employment history, their current role and what they are tweeting about can be very useful.
Related links & Info
LinkedIn Jobs – Search for jobs on LinkedIn, and read advice from thought leaders, view presentations, see examples, find experts, and browse other resources on finding a job.
Jobs & Careers Linkedin article – 5 Reasons Linkedin is a 2013 essential.
– Using social media in your job search – Looks at all types of social media and how your online presence can influence your employability.
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