We all know networking is essential when looking for a job, and one of the most important tools you can use to get ahead is LinkedIn.
It’s now the third most popular social networking platform and offers tons of different ways to search for jobs, meet important people and show off your skills.
Of course it’s not as inherently fun as Instagram or Facebook, so maybe it’s the only social network you’ve been hesitating to join. But if you don’t already have LinkedIn, stop everything and sign up now!
Creating a kickass profile is key to impressing the potential boss (and trust us, they’ll be looking), so here are eight essential tips to get it right:
1. You must have a photo. Of your face.
You’d be surprised how many people have inappropriate photos on their LinkedIn profiles, or none at all! Just like with Facebook and Twitter, it looks a bit sketch (or lazy) if your photo is blank. The key here is to keep it professional – it should look how you would dress up if you were going to a job interview. So steer clear of those drunk party photos or artsy filtered pictures of you on holiday.
2. Finish your profile all the way
There are a lot of boxes to fill, but taking the time to finish your profile all the way will make you up to 40 times more likely to show up in searches. No excuses!
3. Use keywords to optimise your profile
Using the right keywords will make it easier for hiring managers to find you. They search for candidates by typing job titles into the search box, so make sure your headline looks something like “talented PR assistant seeking new opportunity” or “aspiring photographer seeking internship”.
Also use those keywords in your summary and profile as many times as possible so you come up high in LinkedIn searches. Avoid describing yourself as “unemployed” or “student at [your uni]”.
4. Ask for endorsements and recommendations
Don’t be shy about asking previous employers or people who know you well to endorse your skills. Having references to back up your CV makes you much more hireable in the eyes of any potential new boss, and of course be nice and offer to reciprocate when possible.
5. Add extra sections to your profile
If you don’t have a ton of work experience, adding additional sections that showcase volunteer work, academic projects, foreign languages or even test scores will help add weight to your profile.
6. Follow your dream companies
You’ll automatically get notifications when new jobs are posted, and LinkedIn Company Pages also show you if any of your contacts know people who work at those companies.
7. Reach out to people
At its core, LinkedIn is basically one gigantic networking room, but much less intimidating than networking in real life. Having 50 or more connections will help you show up better in searches so it’s important to reach out to as many people as possible beyond friends and family.
If the thought of cold messaging a total stranger is your biggest nightmare, start with 2nd and 3rd degree connections – you already have someone or something in common. Personalise your messages and they’ll be more likely to connect with you.
8. Join groups
This is one of the best parts about LinkedIn. There are loads of different groups from industry specific to hobbies to university alumni, and the more you get involved the more you’ll get out of it. Groups give you common ground and a reason to reach out to other professionals, who are usually more than willing to share advice and knowledge. Plus, recruiters often follow group discussions, so the more you participate, the more you’ll make a good impression.