Are you a university student? If so, chances are you’ve heard the word LinkedIn thrown about in conversation with lecturers and classmates. If you’re already well-versed in the world of LinkedIn, well done! However, if you’re like me and have been avoiding the site in the hopes of ignoring the big fat question that is your future career prospects, then now might be the time to start paying attention.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest career networking site – and if you’re not involved, you may be limiting your career options in the future.
While it’s free and simple to sign up, LinkedIn has a reputation among students as being a bit daunting. This is particularly true for students who don’t currently have any work or industry experience. And while having some experience can only be a good thing – experience is not the end-all of your LinkedIn profile.
Having a LinkedIn profile is all about being visible, networking, and making a good first impression on employers – it helps build your personal brand. Around 91% of employers now use social media to find potential hires, and a large percentage of this is through LinkedIn’s networking and recruitment services.
Getting started is easy
Getting started on LinkedIn is pretty easy, but most students – myself included – don’t go far beyond signing up and adding basic information such as your education, contact information, and a simple headline. If you’re guilty of signing up and then immediately forgetting about your account, you’re not alone – a lot of people assume that just being on LinkedIn is enough to differentiate them from the crowd.
But content is important – and there are a few basic things you can be doing to lift your LinkedIn game.
Your pic’s important
Don’t underestimate the importance of a profile photo. Firstly, you do actually need to have one. A LinkedIn profile without a picture often looks unfinished or lazy. Employers may also assume that you’re not currently active online, or committed to your job search – neither of which are helpful when trying to make a good first impression. You should also put a bit of thought into what photo to use. The safest option is to post a headshot, easily recognisable and tastefully done –you may have to take a million selfies, but getting that one perfect photo is important if you want to make a good first impression.
Buzz headlines and summaries
When creating your profile, you also have the option to write a headline and summary – and it’s a good idea to do this. When considering what to write, think about keywords. LinkedIn uses complex algorithms much like Google, and the more often you use a keyword, the higher you appear in the search results.
When writing, think about unique industry words and terms, and how you want to present yourself. You may have to do a little bit of research – look at the words used in other LinkedIn profiles as well as job advertisements in your field. This will give you a good understanding of the types of words you should be using.
Your headline should be short, sharp, and intriguing – this is your chance to stand out.
Your summary on the other hand, can be a lot longer and more detailed. Think of your summary like your best cover letter. It’s a chance to show off your skills and experience while also giving potential employers a better understanding of your passions, motivations and personality.
If you’re a Curtin student wanting some extra feedback on your headline or summary, you can always take advantage of Careers, Employment & Leadership drop in service in Curtin Connect.