Social media has become a part of our everyday lives, this is nothing new. Most of use it for fun or for our personal, private use. However, it is important to remember that social media and social networks in particular can, and should, be used to help you move forward on your career path.
The most common and important way to do this is by having a Linkedin account; the world’s largest professional social network. Linkedin has quickly become an online central hub to everything professional. Here you can search for jobs and graduate positions. You can build and maintain your professional network and contacts. You can, most helpfully, use the site as a digital CV that you can easily keep updated and show a potential employer at the click of a button.
Sounds like it might be important to your career, right?
If you already have an account on Linkedin; great! But you should look at your profile, your professional online presence and ask if it is good enough? If a potential employer looks at your Linkedin profile will the get a good picture of what type of person you are and what experience you have? Is your Linkedin profile as strong and as well thought out as your CV? Do you utilize Linkedin to its full capacity? Do you log in more than once every few weeks?
If you’re answering no to these questions, put your evening of binge-watching Game of Thrones on hold and use our tips to improve your Linkedin profile, and hopefully give your personal brand the boost it probably needs!
Your profile picture will be the first thing that anyone sees on your profile, so the number one tip here is to keep it professional.
That’s right: no snaps of you living it up in Magaluf, or doing shots at a nightclub, or you holding a big fish on your last fishing trip (unless you’re looking for a job as a fisherman, of course). Keep in clean and simple: a nice headshot in colour or black and white. You should be the only person in the photo and you should be wearing appropriate attire; a shirt, for example. There may be room to experiment if you’re in the creative or artistic sector; for example, if you’re a musician you might want to (tastefully) include your instrument in the photo.
If in doubt, think school photo, and get a friend to take it for you.
Your title is what is written at the very top of your profile and will be shown next to your thumbnail photo if your profile comes up in a search, for example. Your summary is a personal statement that comes at the top of your profile and somewhat introduces you and your page.
So they’re both pretty important!
It is difficult to give a lot of general advice on this section because each should be written specifically for you. However, here are some general tips. Firstly, spend some time working on it by drafting it and redrafting it. Don’t just quickly write something just so you can get it done. Secondly, do your research. There are literally thousands of articles showing different ways of presenting your profile. Try searching based of your qualifications of career; for example: ‘How to write a summary on Linkedin, law graduate.’ Thirdly, get someone to read it through. Some feedback from someone a little more experienced can never go amiss.
You should spend time filling out in detail what relevant experience you have had from jobs, education etc. However, it is important to keep it relevant. Is the work experience you did at 14 in a hairdressers important to your career as a civil engineer? If not, leave it out. If you have had a lot of experience, remember to give priority to what is most important. Just like a CV, no employer has the time to read your whole life story. Be strict in your self-editing, and get someone else to look through it if you’re unsure.
Networking is important, and to an extent the core of Linkedin. Make sure you add people that you know and have worked with in the past. To make the most of networking, make sure that you ask people to endorse you. On Linkedin it is possible to endorse someone based on skills that they have included in their profile. For example, if you have written that you have ‘team work’ as a skill on your profile, ask someone that you recently did a project with to endorse you for that skill. This not only maintains a connection with that person, but it also gives your profile more credit as you have had someone who is able to verify your skills, which is attractive to employers.
Once you’re happy with your profile, it is time to start getting noticed on the site. The best way to do this is by being active on Linkedin. You be active in many different ways including: viewing other people’s profiles, following companies or big business names, and joining groups that are relevant to your profession and interests. There are also a lot of good articles that are available on the site. Many articles give career tips so it is worth taking advantage of these. You can also ‘like’ and comment on the articles.