Social media has become much more than just a tool for keeping up with family and friends. It’s now an online personal branding platform; LinkedIn is essentially an active and public CV, which can be viewed by any number of employers and is often the first search result that will pop up when anyone googles your name.
Setting up LinkedIn might seem daunting at first, but here are a few tips to get you started:
Whether you are a PhD student or a high-school graduate, it helps to provide a little context when you fill out the education section. You can highlight your interests, particular subjects that you took, or essay questions that you excelled at. You can also list any academic awards that you received, like scholarships or prizes.
Even if you’ve only volunteered or interned so far, expanding this section with all of your employment pursuits is a good way to demonstrate your abilities. Think of it as a “skills in action” section. Did you fundraise for a local charity? Why not list yourself as having worked as a “fundraiser”. This will demonstrate that you have strong communication skills, and that you can take the initiative.
Have you heard about the “elevator pitch”? Essentially, you get 30 seconds to prove your employability; in writing, this is one/two sentences. You can write a succinct and impressive summary by answering two simple questions: What do you want to do, and why will you be good at it?
Growing Your Network
Are you worried that you might not have many “connections” to start with? LinkedIn will automatically scan your email contact list, and recommend you to people that you know. You should also list your LinkedIn profile on any other online site that you use (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) to make it accessible to a wider audience.
Top 3 things to remember:
- Everything, but not anything
You should list everything that you have done that you think will add to your ‘personal brand’, but going over the top might put future employers off- do they really need to know that you’re into comic books and computer games? Well, if you’re a software developer, maybe…
- Short and Sweet
Whether you prefer to write in bullet-point or paragraph format, you should only highlight the most important responsibilities and skills, and never exceed more than four sentences. Otherwise people will simply get bored and stop reading.
- Consistency is Key
Finally, when creating your profile, make sure that it is aesthetically pleasing. Use correct grammar, spelling, and don’t write significantly more about one thing than another. Remember, it’s just like a CV, and first impressions are even more important when your potential employer hasn’t yet met you face-to-face