How do you ask? Well, believe it or not, LinkedIn isn’t just for business owners and recruiters – it’s for graduates like you who are looking to kickstart their careers and make themselves more employable.
So, if you haven’t already, sign-up and create a free account and follow our simple steps to optimise your profile.
Who are you attracting?
Before you set out on your journey to create the best LinkedIn profile out there, make sure you outline who you want to target.
You should follow and connect with industries and businesses you aim to start your future with. Try to highlight your skills and previous experiences, that accompany the industry you wish to work in.
We understand that deciding what you want to do after your studies isn’t an easy decision, for some graduates, it’s the last thing they want to worry about. That’s fine! If you’re struggling here, try and think about what your options are and what industries and careers you could or potentially would want to pursue.
Pick a profile pic
This might seem like an obvious thing to include, but it’s probably more important than you think. By having a profile picture you’re 14 times more likely to be seen by others, which could be the difference from you being invited to an interview, to you being overlooked.
When choosing a profile photo consider the following…
Use a picture that’s actually you and not your favourite celebrity or your cute pet dog
Make sure the photo of you is an updated one. Your face, although still beautiful, might have changed over the years
Keep it professional and look presentable
Consider your facial expression – smile to look more approachable or snap a more serious pose if it suits the industry that you’re getting into to
Be the only person in the photo – potential employers or recruiters shouldn’t have to play a game of Where’s Wally, as they try to distinguish who you are from a group of you and your mates
Be smart with your chosen picture, it’s a representation of who you are and is usually the first part of your profile that people see.
Personalise your URL
You might have noticed that your LinkedIn profile has a default URL. This usually includes your name, with a whole bunch of random numbers thrown in at the end - this isn’t very useful.
To make your URL more SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly and rank higher on Google, you should change your URL structure. This will make your profile more likely to be seen by potential employers and recruiters.
You can do this by going onto your profile and selecting ‘Edit public profile & URL’. Change your URL to something like http://linkedin.com/in/joebloggs.
What’s your status?
Make it clear to others what your professional status is. If you’re not working in your desired industry yet, make it obvious that you’re a student. Recruiters like ourselves love to find students who are open to job opportunities.
You can do this in the box below your intro that says open to job opportunities.
Include keywords and SEO
Include keywords throughout your profile to help optimise SEO. What are keywords you might ask? They are simply the common words that people use when they are searching for a specific thing in their browser.
So, if you’re looking to get into web development, for example, include relevant words that you would associate with the industry. Implement these keywords throughout the various sections of your profile, in the header, summary, skills, experience etc.
Come up with a headline
Your headline is one of the first things people see when they look at your LinkedIn profile, so make it stand out and unique to you.
You’ll notice that under your name there will be room to include some text. At this point, the text will just show your current or last position that you had, which looks a bit bland.
The LinkedIn algorithm loves the words used in profile headlines and takes them into consideration when ranking people. Be sure to add some flavour to your headline by including a description of who you are, where you’re from and what you’re aspiring to.
Write a short summary about yourself
Your summary is the perfect way to get your personality across, whilst demonstrating your interest and knowledge of the industry you want to step into.
This is essentially a bulkier version of your headline and you should try and treat it like your own personal sales pitch.
Spend some time on this and expand on who you are and what you hope to achieve. Don’t forget to include keywords, to increase the chances of your profile of being spotted by a recruiter or potential employer.
Creating your summary couldn’t be any easier…
- Go on your profile
- Select Add profile section
- Click About and the plus button by Summary
- Write the best summary ever with the 2,000 characters (350-400 words) at your disposal
- Click save
- Continue reading this blog
Provide your contact information
Simply add your contact information, email, phone number, social media, etc. This will make it easier for people within your industry to get in touch with you.
You might want to create a separate email for people to contact you with, and for job opportunity notifications. This will make it easier for you to track your opportunities, ensuring they don’t get lost in your old email account - the one you haven’t looked at in years.
Do the same for your social media platforms. Create professional profiles or tidy up your current accounts, because employers and recruiters may check them when considering you for a role. A couple of regrettable tweets or unflattering Instagram pics could make you seem less employable.
List your skills and get endorsements
Outline a shortlist of your skills that are relevant to the career you want to or are thinking about getting into. This only needs to be a list of five skills.
You can then get people to endorse the skills you have, to give them more credibility. You could ask a lecturer, employer or co-worker to do this for you.
Simply add your skills by clicking on add profile section before selecting skills.
Acknowledge your accomplishments
Display everything that makes you great, it will help you stand out from the crowd.
This can be anything from awards you’ve earned, courses you’ve completed, to the various languages you may speak.
You might have projects or published work that you’re particularly proud of, that relate to the industry you’re hoping to get into. This may be work that you’ve done at university, work experience or in your own time. Show this off in your profile!
Don’t be shy about showing off how amazing you are. Remember, you’re trying to boost your credibility and give potential employers a glimpse of what you’re capable of. This is also useful if the career path you’re planning on taking involves freelance work.
Head over to add profile section, select accomplishments and then fill out the drop-down options.
Bolster your background
Let people know which university, colleges and schools you attended. Along with this, mention any societies, clubs and extracurricular activities you were involved in during your time in education.
Showcase any work experience or volunteer work that you’ve completed, recruiters and employers see this as a valuable attribute.
To do this go to the background, which falls under add profile section.
Get written recommendations
At some point in your life, you may have had to provide a job reference for your employer. Getting a written recommendation is basically the same thing.
Go out of your way to ask for personal recommendations from previous employers, co-workers, lecturers or people from any experience and volunteer work that you’ve done.
If you can collate a few of these, even if it’s just one or two, it could set you apart and make your profile more credible.
Rearrange your profile
A great feature of LinkedIn is that it allows you to rearrange and prioritise the different sections of your profile. If you have just won an award for example, you might want this to appear higher up on your profile.
You can rearrange your profile by going into edit mode, hovering over the title of each section and dragging and dropping the sections accordingly – it’s as easy as that.
Start looking at joining groups related to the industry or niche that you’re interested in. Once you’ve done this, try to participate in a few of these groups to help get your profile noticed by others within the industry. Your profile is five times more likely to be viewed by others if you join and are active in a group.
Build your network
Now that your profile is looking pretty good, start building your network by making connections.
When you do this, try to think about personalising requests for people. If you can, mention how you met or a why you want to connect with them. Always come across in a professional manner by using phrases like, “we’ve done business together” rather than “ooh please be my friend”.
If you’re trying to connect with someone who doesn’t know you, provide them with a bit of context through your invite. In the personal note section, you could say that you’ve read a piece of their content or that you saw them speak at an event.
It might take some time for you to build your network but stick at it and you’ll get where you want to be.
Your profile is your online CV
In a lot of ways your LinkedIn profile is an online version of your CV, so try and treat it like one. You probably spent some time on your actual CV, proofreading it over and over to ensure you hadn’t made any grammatical errors or missed out any key information – do the same with your LinkedIn account.
A good idea would be to get a second pair of eyes to read through your profile. This could be a friend, co-worker, lecturer or career adviser.
Remember, you’re trying to attract potential employers. You wouldn’t upload a rubbish CV for a job application that you really want, so why would you create a LinkedIn account that’s not up to scratch?
Keep it updated
You might be the type of person who regularly updates their social media; by posting pics of your next hot meal – that went cold by the time you got around to eat it, or maybe you haven’t touched your accounts since the last time aliens visited Earth and asked to use your mobile to phone home. Regardless, it’s important that you keep your LinkedIn up to date and here’s why…
It shows you’re keen and driven to get your foot in the door. If you don’t keep your profile updated, potential employers and recruiters could question how ambitious you really are, meaning your account could be overlooked and potential opportunities may pass you by.
We’re not saying you need to update your LinkedIn every day, just make changes when you feel the need to. You could make alterations when for example, you win an award, go on work experience, complete a new project or if you grow a beard and dye your hair.
Even if you feel like you’ve got nothing to update on your profile, be sure to focus on building your network and stay active by participating in groups.
Completed it mate!
This final step basically speaks for itself. Go through your profile and complete every section that’s available to you and soon you’ll be on your way to that ‘All-Star’ status.
Don’t get caught up with worrying about reaching the ‘All-Star’ status straight out of the gate, building your profile takes time. If you fill out as much as you can and keep it updated as often as you can – basically treating it like your online CV, then you’ll increase your chances of getting opportunities.