As a current student or recent graduate it’s highly likely that you have already created a LinkedIn profile. Probably because your parent / tutor / careers advisor told you to make one. But you probably aren’t quite sure why you’ve done it, or what to do with it now you’ve got it. You’re fairly sure you’re not supposed to update your status with what you had for breakfast but apart from what not to do, you aren’t sure what to do.
Here are five reasons for creating a strong profile and keeping it up to date:
Professional Online Presence:
1) Employers and recruiters like to check you out and a LinkedIn profile is a great place to start. Hopefully your Facebook and Twitter feeds are nicely locked down so your personal life remains personal. But your LinkedIn profile is the perfect place to present a public, professional online persona. A profile detailing your university course, together with any work experience and a list of skills is a great way to add credibility to your CV.
Little Black Book
2) You know the saying “it’s not what you know it’s who you know”? Well LinkedIn is the modern way to keep a track on all the people you meet along the way. Since I have been using LinkedIn I have been approached on a number of occasions by connections from previous employments who have wanted to use my services in my new role. In one case the person was an acquaintance who never would have known what I was doing so LinkedIn was the source of a real business lead. On another occasion I was able to contact a connection, who I had completed a project with, for some advice which proved to be invaluable. I doubt I would have had the confidence to contact her directly via email but doing so under the umbrella of LinkedIn seemed like a much warmer approach – go on, give it a go!
Get Head Hunted
3) We all know that recruiters use LinkedIn to head hunt and fill roles. And as an undergraduate or relatively inexperienced recent graduate you may feel that this isn’t relevant to you. But here at Step we increasingly use LinkedIn to identify students from universities and even courses requested by our host companies. Your degree is a valuable asset so flaunt it!
4) Once you’ve secured an interview, LinkedIn is a great resource to stalk (sorry, research) your interviewer. Increasingly companies are looking for you to show more insight than simply quoting back the information on the company website. The more connected you are on LinkedIn, the more information you can gain access to. If you know the background of your interviewer, how long they’ve been with the business, what they’ve studied at university etc, it gives you more to connect with in the interview. It will also help you to see them as a person and not just a name, hopefully putting you at ease in the interview.
5) The groups on LinkedIn are a great place to research your chosen career and learn more about the hottest topics so that you can appear more knowledgeable in your interview and in your role. They can be great places to go to for advice and are also a way to be more credible and extend your network.
So now I’ve convinced you of the benefits of being on LinkedIn, here are some simple steps to follow to get started:
- Take a professional photo and set up your profile
- Link in with your university tutors, employability tutors, class mates, family friends, uncles, aunts, cousins, colleagues, bosses, recruitment consultants and your Step Account Manager
- Add some skills to your profile to help you get noticed.
- Start endorsing others. Hopefully they will reciprocate with endorsements to build your profile.
- Get involved!
Here’s a great example of the power of LinkedIn!