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Using LinkedIn to develop your careers networks

Weronika ZBenning27 February 2016

In the tech-savvy world we live in, online platforms like LinkedIn are becoming an essential tool in optimising career development and networking opportunities. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t something that should start when you have a few years experience post-graduation under your belt. Students, the right time is now!

LinkedIn may seem a little overwhelming to the uninitiated but it need not be. If you have an up-to-date CV then you are ready to go. Your profile section should largely reflect the information you are giving in your CV, giving a clear breakdown of the skills and the area you wish your career to develop in. Don’t forget, recruiters will be using LinkedIn as a tool to find prospective job candidates so using the right key words can help you become more visible to them.

Future job seeking aside, now is the time to put in the initial ground work. Start small by connecting with the people you know – family, friends, academic and work-related contacts. Why not start by connecting with others on your course? As you connect with people, you will then have access to their own networks, and this is how your sphere of influence can start to grow. Perhaps, through browsing the connections of your own direct contacts, you can identify someone who works for an organisation that interests you? Why not ask them help out with an introduction? Alternatively, If you are connected with someone who knows you in a work capacity, perhaps through previous work experience or an internship opportunity, then why not ask them to write you a recommendation? This will appear on your profile almost like a mini-reference and can a real selling point to future employers.

If you are finding it hard to expand your networks into a particular industry area, LinkedIn also has a useful Groups function that can allow you to network with employees in that line of work, join in with professional discussions and potentially connect with them. Perhaps someone in that group can help you find the foot in the door that you need to a particular company or opportunity?

Some basic tips for getting started with LinkedIn:

  • Take it at your own pace
    You don’t have to do everything at once. Much of LinkedIn is ‘learning through doing’ so the important thing is to make the first step in setting up a profile. The rest can follow in your own time, as you become more comfortable with the website.
  • Be proactive – get involved
    Like most elements of career development, sitting back and waiting for things to happen is unlikely to reap any real benefits. Use LinkedIn proactively by searching for people, groups and companies you want to connect with.
  • Be mindful of etiquette
    LinkedIn etiquette can be confusing. You don’t have to connect with everyone that sends you a request but neither are people obliged to connect with you. Be sure to personalise any messages you send out so the recipient knows exactly why you are contacting them and who any shared connections may be.

Start connecting now!  Linked In

By Hannah Morton-Hedges, Careers Consultant

Using LinkedIn Effectively

ManpreetDhesi27 October 2015

This blog post orginially appeared on the QM Careers & Enterprise blog

When used effectively LinkedIn can be a really useful tool to help you find your perfect job

The use of social networking sites like LinkedIn are increasingly important in recruitment. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, where you can fill out your educational background, work history, skills and interests. Far more than an online resume, LinkedIn is a very rich, customizable, multi-faceted personal branding platform. There are tens of thousands of professionals on this site, with whom you can connect as individuals or via interest groups. It is becoming increasingly important to manage your personal branding online; with a smart profile and well-honed strategy, LinkedIn can become your powerful partner in long-range personal branding and career management.

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When getting started with LinkedIn:

  • Don’t be tempted to use LinkedIn as a professional Facebook page. Only write appropriate updates and comments.
  • Have a profile image. A professional headshot is recommended.
  • Complete your profile. Make it easier for people to find you by including your name, location, education, skills and experience.
  • Add connections. Begin by searching for people you already know.
  • Get recommendations and endorsements. Ask people who have worked with you to give you a recommendation or endorsement.
  • Participate with groups. Become an active member of groups, share content and engage.
  • Update your information regularly, you never know when recruiters might be looking at your page.

Top tips for using LinkedIn to network

  • Find the right people: Search for companies and job titles that you’re interested in.
  • Ask for help and be clear: Ask something specific like, ‘I’d like to know how you started out in your chosen career?’
  • Personalise: Why are you reaching out to this person? Do you have a shared connection or admire their career path?
  • Be considerate: Understand that time is very important and explain that you’d really appreciate as little as 10 minutes.
  • Follow up: You might not hear back straight away, but do politely follow up about two weeks later.

Network you way to the perfect internship

ManpreetDhesi8 June 2015

linkedin

This post orginially appeared on the Develop your Career blog

The summer break is a great chance to get your foot on the career ladder by interning. If you haven’t lined something up yet, don’t worry, there’s still time. LinkedIn’s Darain Faraz shares his top tips for using LinkedIn to bag an internship.

Don’t be invisible

The first place most recruiters and businesses look for employees and interns is online and if you’re not visible, you risk missing out.

Students are the fastest growing member group on LinkedIn so set up a profile profile and, if you’re looking for an internship, shout about it. By stating that you’re actively looking for a placement in your headline and summary, you’ll give the 17 million UK professionals on the network a green light to approach you with relevant opportunities – without having to do the legwork yourself.

It’s important to complete all the sections of your profile to give potential employers a sense of who you are and what you can offer.

Big up your experience

Remember, your work experience isn’t just work you’ve been paid for or done full time. You’ll have gained valuable skills from voluntary positions, part time work, extra-curricular activities or academic projects, so use these as examples to demonstrate your talents.

You could even ask your university tutors to give you a recommendation if you think you’ve impressed them during your studies. LinkedIn recommendations are a great endorsement for any prospective employers.

Nurture your network

Once you’ve built a killer profile, it’s time to start building your network. Connect and keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues from university, previous internships or volunteering roles. Even your neighbour could be the link between you and a great work placement.

It only takes 50 trusted connections to make an impact on your network so get connecting. You can use LinkedIn’s University Pages to find out where people from your university ended up and connect with them for advice and introductions.

Become an expert easily

You’re well on the way to becoming an expert in your degree subject, but you probably don’t know a huge amount about different professional sectors. LinkedIn’s Pulse, Industry Groups and Company Pages are an easy way to learn about an industry you’re interested in and keep of track of companies within it. This could be a big advantage when applying for a placement.

If you’re still not sure which area you want to work in, experiment! There’s nothing wrong with doing shorter placements to test the water and you’ll gain heaps of experience in the process.

It doesn’t happen overnight

Do the best you can with the time you have, but be realistic. You probably won’t build a huge network overnight or nab the first internship you come across; don’t put undue pressure on yourself at an already stressful time of year and take a “little and often” approach.

Just 9 minutes a day spent making new connections or honing your profile on LinkedIn is all it takes to make an impact. Working this into your daily revision schedule is a great way to get the benefits without committing hours of your time.

Darain Faraz is a spokesperson for LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. For more tips on bagging an internship, click here.