While waiting in an airport over Christmas I got chatting to a man who was relocating to Australia for a new job. He now works for a large Australian software development company who, he told me, only recruit through LinkedIn. They never advertise roles, instead finding suitable candidates by searching for key skills on their LinkedIn profile.
Having a LinkedIn account can be a great way to build up contacts while at QMUL, and find work experience opportunities alongside your studies and the example above shows just how important it is to get your profile right! Take a look at our top tips below to increase your chances of your LinkedIn profile being seen by a potential employer:
- Make sure you upload a professional picture of yourself – this is definitely not the place for a Facebook-style selfie! Your photo will be the first thing a recruiter will notice, so a professional headshot is recommended – see this LinkedIn article for detailed tips on getting the perfect profile pic.
- Include a headline – this sits beneath your name at the top of your profile, and will be visible in search results, so make it count! This headline section should reflect your current situation – e.g. your career goal, current work status, preferred industry or current job title.
- Keep your profile up to date – update LinkedIn regularly with any new skills you develop (new software, language skills, blogging etc) and anything relevant from your degree such as achievements, grades and involvement in societies.
- Don’t forget the volunteering section – LinkedIn has a specific area for including any voluntary work you have been involved in – this could be charity work, or helping at a local sports club for example. It’s all great experience which employers will be keen to see.
- Grow your connections – LinkedIn is a great way to get your name out there, and it’s important to add connections in order to grow your network of contacts, who may be able to offer you advice or help you find work experience opportunities. Start by connecting with people you know (friends, co-workers from work experience/volunteering), to help build the foundations of your network.
- Add links to relevant media – you can attach publications, articles, analysis etc. via the media section. Use this to your advantage and showcase your work and skills.
- Ask for recommendations – if you’ve gained relevant work experience (whether it’s an internship, work placement, part time job or volunteering), why not add some extra value to your profile by asking for a recommendation from a colleague? A recommendation is a comment written by another LinkedIn member to recognise the work of a colleague, business partner or student. It’s common to send a personalised message to a previous colleague, asking them to provide a short summary which will appear on your profile. Don’t forget to write one back!
For further information, see this excellent LinkedIn article for 10 top ways to improve your profile. Also see this article from last year’s Ultimate Careers Guide 2016 (please note the format of LinkedIn has changed slightly, although the content is still the same).