Chances are that being a student, at some point LinkedIn has been brought up in conversation. Either between friends, or in the classroom/lecture theatre etc.
A common comparison of LinkedIn is “Facebook for professionals”. Although this is somewhat true, it is so much more than that.
LinkedIn should be treated like an extension of your CV, a way to branch out and network with friends, colleagues and other professionals to demonstrate your skills and achievements. After all, your CV is typically limited to 1-2 pages whereas your LinkedIn is limitless.
LinkedIn can feel like a foreign world upon signing up. What should you put there? What should you post? Who should you connect with?
In this blog, we will guide you through how to make a professional looking LinkedIn profile, section by section.
Alongside your headline, your photo is one of the first things that people will see, which means potential recruiters will see this first. First impressions are crucial, and on LinkedIn this is no different.
Make sure your profile picture if professional and that it looks like you. You want to be the centre of attention, so avoid having a picture with other people. Keep your head and shoulders in the picture, similar to a school/university ID photo. A smiling picture works great for a profile picture.
Your headline is a little teaser of who you are and what you do. They can be tricky as you don’t have much space to do this, 120 characters to be exact, but they can be powerful if done correctly.
Could you get creative? Imagine you have several seconds to tell someone what you do. Include what you do, either through the exact role or even better, briefly explain that role in an exciting way with a couple of words. But, make sure it is clear. Also include where you work.
As a student, you may want to also include what you are studying; you can include this along with your university, like the following.
“Your course” + “Your University” & “Your role” + “Where you work”
Use Your Ideal Job Throughout
Your LinkedIn profile can be a way to connect with people in your desired field, and for recruiters to look at after being interested in your CV. If you know what your ideal job is, use that language in your profile to demonstrate to potential recruiters and people in your network that you have the knowledge/skills of the industry. To help you do this, have a look at job descriptions and look for relevant topics and skills you could include in your profile.
For example, if you are looking to go into digital marketing, include skills, experience and education relevant to [digital] marketing throughout your profile.
Networking Is The Game
One important thing to remember when creating and using LinkedIn, is that networking is the aim of the platform. Think of it like sending friend requests on Facebook instead these requests are known as ‘Invitations to connect’.
When starting out, start off by connecting with friends and people you know. Soon, as your network grows, begin connecting with people in your desired industry, at your university, who you work with etc.
Interacting on posts can also be a great way to meet and connect with people to expand your network. Don’t be afraid to comment on posts and share your thoughts/opinions. Just make sure they are professional, as anyone can see these.
LinkedIn will also suggest people to connect with, based on your interactions and your current network.
Your summary section is a way to tell people more about yourself once they have landed on your profile. I am guilty of making my summary the same as my headline, but definitely avoid doing this.
You have much more space than your headline to sell yourself. Show your passions, as well as some of your skills, what motivates you and some of your achievements. Be proud of your summary. It is just that, a summary of YOU. This is the part where you can shout about yourself and tell people just how good you are.
Like your CV, your experience section should be filled with all your previous employment. One great thing about this section, is the way it visualises progression up the ranks in a business. So, if you’ve been lucky enough to get a promotion or change of role a previous/current job, show that.
However, unlike your CV, you are not limited in how much detail you can go into in each job description. Below each role you’ve had, include key roles and responsibilities. People viewing your profile can click “see more” to drop down more details, so go into plenty of detail. But make sure it is all relevant and avoid waffling too much.
If you are/have been part of a committee for a university club/society, include this here too! List your role and the responsibilities you had, it could help massively if applying for internships, placements or graduate roles.
Towards the end of the experience section, is the education section. Add your school, college, sixth form, university etc. here and include the qualifications you gained from that institution. If you did any extracurricular activities at any of those, add them too. They will look great at showing what extra stuff you have done; potentially giving you the edge over other candidates.
Showing Off Your Skills
You may have listed your skills in the previous sections of your profile, but the Skills & Endorsements section is a great way to clearly list your skills. Start by adding some of the key skills you have, no lying here. Remember to try list relevant skills to your desired job, as this will make you stand out when recruiters look at your LinkedIn.
LinkedIn will also categorise these skills, such as ‘Interpersonal Skills’, ‘Tools & Technologies’ and ‘Industry Knowledge’, as well as allowing you to list your top skills at the top of this sections.
You can also prove to people that you have these skills, by taking one of LinkedIn’s many skills quizzes. Passing one of these, earns you a badge to show to people viewing you profile you have passed the quiz.
Your connections can also endorse your skills, another way to prove and reinforce your skillset.
At the bottom of your profile, you can add accomplishments. This can be publications, patents, courses, projects, honours and awards, test scores, organization and languages.
This is a perfect way to further show just what you have achieved.
By now, you are hopefully feeling far more confident in making a LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t take long and can really be a great way to effectively extend your CV beyond 2 pages. LinkedIn can also allow you to keep up to date with other people’s achievements, as well as following businesses and their activities.
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