By Ashleigh Rennison MIML
More than 100 million job applications are made via LinkedIn each month. That’s a lot! So, if you’re a student at the start of your career, you need to do everything you can to stand out.
But it can be hard to know where to start with LinkedIn. There are so many features you can take advantage of, so knowing the best ways to use them can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve outlined our top five tips to help you create a standout profile, grow your network and showcase your employability skills.
1. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s profile features
There are several profile features on LinkedIn that often go unused, but for students, these features can really help showcase your employability. The ‘Summary’ section is often the first thing people see on your profile, so take the time to tell people, clearly and concisely, who you are and what you’re looking for. The skills feature is also an excellent way for you to highlight your strengths. Try to encourage as many people as possible to endorse these for you. For example, someone you worked with on a group assignment could endorse your teamwork, communication and organisation skills. Finally, ask for recommendations. These are like a virtual reference, so reach out to former managers, colleagues, or companies you may have interned and volunteered with to see if they’ll write one for your profile.
2. Highlight all your experience and skills
If you don’t feel like you’ve had a lot of work experience, you might think there’s not much to include in your LinkedIn profile. But it’s important to remember that most experience and skills – whether it’s the part time job you’re doing while studying or the second language you speak – can all be used to show off your employability. Make sure you list any volunteering you’ve done. That includes work experience, volunteering with a charity and internships. Did you previously study abroad? Are you a member of a student society? Have you won any awards? Mention all of these in your profile since it showcases your transferrable skills and experience to potential employers.
3. Build your connections
Building a good network is crucial when using LinkedIn. The more connections you have, the more engagement you’ll get on your posts and the more likely you are to get noticed. To get started, think about the people around you, students you’re working on assignments with, teachers, co-workers, people you meet at networking events, leaders of your student society, recruiters, friends, industry thought leaders and influencers. Another way to build your network is to join LinkedIn Groups. There are thousands you can join so try and pick some that relate to your area of study so you can connect with professionals in the business area that interests you.
4. Use the alumni tool
If you’re looking to build your network and get some industry advice, why not connect with people who’ve studied your course? LinkedIn lets you do this through their alumni feature, which you can access through your university’s LinkedIn page. Here you’ll be able to search for alumni based on where they work, their role, the course they studied, and more. It’s always easier to connect with someone when you have something in common, so why not try sending a request and asking if they’d be interested in grabbing a (virtual) coffee?
5. Get posting!
The best way to get noticed on LinkedIn is to post content. To stand out, you’ll need to regularly post and make sure the content is relevant (unfortunately the latest animal meme probably won’t cut it!). If you’re stuck on where to start, try posting about projects you’re doing, events you’re attending, books you’re reading or articles you’ve found interesting while giving your opinion on the content. Posts that include pictures and videos get more engagement so try to add these in where you can.
Keep building your career
Whether you’re looking for your first role after graduation, hoping to land your next promotion, or shifting into a new industry – setting yourself up for career success is crucial.
In our complimentary Career Builder Webinar Series, we’ll be exploring the topics you need to be across to stand out, increase your profile and grow your network.
Ashleigh Rennison is IML ANZ’s Higher Education Partnership Manager who is committed to helping emerging leaders to build and establish successful careers.