LinkedIn is a professional social media platform with more than 400 million registered users. Not only is it useful as a job search tool, but it will also be useful later in your career in terms of growing your network or your business, or if you’re considering a job or career change. However, it’s important to use the platform effectively to get your profile noticed.
GradX offers the following top tips for ensuring your LinkedIn profile shines:
- A professional online presence on the career-networking platform is possibly one of the most important tools in your search for a job.
- Include contact information: Don’t forget to include your e-mail address and other contact information. Recruiters need to be able to get hold of you.
- Write a strong summary: Your summary should be about three paragraphs long (add more information as you gain more experience), ideally with a bulleted section in the middle. It should include your work interests, key skills, qualifications and any work experience you have.
- Create a welcoming first impression: The summary is the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself in a warm and engaging manner. Don’t talk about yourself in the third person (this is not a CV, on which you should use the third person), and avoid being arrogant or pompous.
- Avoid buzzwords: The most over-used words on LinkedIn are responsible, creative, effective, analytical, strategic, patient, expert, driven and innovative. Avoid these and try be more creative.
- Use target job descriptions: Investigate the typical job descriptions you’re after and make sure to include these words and phrases in both the summary and experience sections of your profile.
- Showcase your achievements: Market yourself as a high performer both in the summary and the experience sections, and explain why you are a high performer by detailing your accomplishments.
- Work experience: As a recent graduate it’s likely that you don’t have much in the way of formal work experience yet. However, you can include volunteer experience, part-time or vac work experience, internships and projects you have completed. If you have worked on your local student newspaper, radio station or been a member of any student committees, consider including the work experience you have acquired.
- Become an author: LinkedIn allows users to write and publish their work on the platform, so if you have relevant content – a comment on industry trends, for example – consider posting it on your profile, as this is a good way to get noticed.
- Add connections judiciously: Try to have at least 50 connections on your profile but don’t add people you don’t know. LinkedIn suggests you use your e-mail address book as a starting point.
- Put sufficient time and effort into your LinkedIn profile: Make sure your profile is complete. A complete profile is seven times more likely to be read and more likely to attract the attention of recruiters. Fortunately, LinkedIn measures how complete your profile is and offers suggestions on how to make it stronger.
- Include an appropriate photo: Include a good quality, professional image in your profile. Your photo should ideally be cropped to show your face clearly. LinkedIn estimates that you are 11 times more likely to be found if you include a profile photo.
- Choose a strong headline: The headline should showcase your specialty or value proposition. It should be catchy and keyword rich.
- Personalise your URL: Rather than using the combination of numbers that LinkedIn automatically assigns you when you sign up, customise your URL. This can be done by clicking on the “Edit profile” tab, and then clicking “Edit contact info”. Amend the URL to linkedin.com/your name. When you’re done, click “Set custom URL”.