LinkedIn: How to make it work for you
Since its foundation in 2003, LinkedIn has been helping professionals from all over the world get in touch and expand their horizons.
The beauty of LinkedIn is that it lets prospective employers find you, but that does not mean that you should be passive about your job search. LinkedIn can be used proactively to improve your chances of getting hired or of giving a new direction to your career. Check these top tips on how you can use this online platform to make it work to your advantage.
Making your CV stand out online
Many young graduates worry about how their CV will be assessed by the employers, especially considering that most graduates have limited working experience. The key is to focus on the quality of the information provided, making it meaningful and specific to the needs of employers in your industry sector.
Don't just use LinkedIn as an online space where you can upload your CV: this tool offers you a unique opportunity to speak to potential employers in ways that a CV can't. LinkedIn allows you to use a more flexible approach to how you present yourself to employers, so make sure your profile is personable and don't be afraid of using a first person narrative. Use this tool to showcase not only your talents but also your personal interests. You can do this by listing hobbies that say something meaningful about who you are and what you are after or mentioning any volunteer organisations you support or have been involved with. This will portray you as a committed and well-rounded individual. And of course, make sure your profile is searchable (through the use of carefully chosen keywords) and 100% complete, including a professional picture and full contact details.
The power of extended professional networks
Networking is the basic premise upon which LinkedIn was built. Build your network by sending contact requests to previous supervisors, senior colleagues, lecturers, or internship managers. Having a solid network of contacts will add credibility to your profile and boost your chances of being hired. But contacts alone are not enough to get you noticed: once again, you need to be proactive and write thoughtful, detailed recommendations for people in your network, asking them to leave a reference on your profile too.
A word of caution: although it's all about networking, do not include links to your profile in other social networks. Keep your professional identity separate from your personal life.
Don't overlook the LinkedIn groups feature. Once your profile is complete, join several industry and location-specific groups and stay active in them by taking part in discussions on a regular basis. This shows your commitment to your chosen career and demonstrates you are a valuable addition to any team. Sharing industry or company news feeds could also boost your employment prospects.