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Career Advice Series Part 3: Utilising LinkedIn for Your Job Search

87% of employers screen applicants through LinkedIn, and with over 50 million users in more than 200 different countries, the website can work wonders when hunting for the perfect job. Read more to make sure you're utilising LinkedIn effectively...

In Part 1 of our Career Advice Series, we discussed how important it is to have a squeaky clean digital footprint, and how social media can both help and hinder your job hunt.

The best social media platform to utilise when searching for your dream job is LinkedIn, a brilliant business and employment focused social networking service. In this third instalment of our Career Advice Series, we’ll explain how to make LinkedIn work effectively for you in your hunt for the perfect job. 



Utilising LinkedIn for Your Job Search

A recent survey shows that 48% of employers will use social media to screen prospective employees, and a number of them may be put off by what they see – so it’s vital that you make sure you are happy with anything that prospective employers may come across online. This is not just to see who you are and what you’re like, but they will also be using this to see if your CV matches up with what’s in the public.

According to a recent survey 87% of employers screen applicants through LinkedIn. LinkedIn will help you build your ‘professional brand’, market yourself to potential employers and help you find that perfect career. With over 50 million users in more than 200 different countries, the website is a great place for job hunting and networking.

Once you have created your account, there are certain steps you can take to create an attractive profile that highlights your skills and abilities and who you are as a person.

Picking the right profile picture 

First impressions count - a professional and friendly head shot makes the world of difference. 

You can book yourself in for a photoshoot with a professional, or if you don’t have a professional photograph or can’t afford one, use the next best one you have. Ask a friend or family member to take a snapshot of you to the highest possible standard and remember to smile, and preferably use a photograph where you are facing forward, with your face filling around 80% of the frame. You are around seven times more likely to be found and contacted on LinkedIn if you have a profile photograph.

Headline and personal information

Utilise the space on your LinkedIn profile to highlight the best of yourself. Your profile allows you to put a headline which will grab people’s attention. Although most users opt to put their current job title or vocation – you have 120 characters to play with – so really take advantage of the space. Make people want to know more about you and your role – remember, your headline will show up in Google search results below your name.

Repeating the word “I” is never a good start. Try using the word “you” and let people know what you can do for them, rather than what they can do for you. Who are your target audiences, what do they need to know and why do they need to know it? Recruiters will often skip past anyone with generic headlines – they want to know more about you in a glance. Be specific about your specialities and what you focus your work on, and a little creativity can go a long way.

Write your story

Collate all the information you have on your work history, skills and experience and begin to shape your story. Fill in as much as the profile you can, from your education and work history to your volunteering and interests. Listing your biggest achievements in the summary is a good way to highlight important information that might otherwise be lost further down the page.

Try not to be too broad with your information – only list jobs, skills and experience that are relevant to your current career goals.

The summary should include key words so you can be found in searches, so optimise your use of language to be sure you won’t get missed. If it helps, take a look at others’ profiles who are working in the industry you wish to pursue and see what words keep popping up. You might wish to include information that won’t be found on your CV or elsewhere.

Colour your profile

Your profile doesn’t have to be all text – so if you are looking to show off your skills and experience through a visual medium you are able to include images, infographics and videos. Be creative and make your profile stand out from the crowd. You have the option to list up to three links, as well as projects you have worked on. This can act as your own online portfolio and can give employers an idea of what you like to get stuck into. All of this information will colour you as a person and allow your personality to shine through.

It’s a great help to get people you have worked with to endorse you for your skills. By clicking on the skills button a chart will show detailing how many people have endorsed you and for what. These can be endorsed by anyone on the site however, so asking them to write something about their experience working with you will have a lot more weight for recruiters.

The interest section on your profile will also help to highlight what kind of individual you are, and where your interests lie – in your industry and out of it. This section can show what interests you have in common with other connections – it can be a way to build relationships with people you may not know well, or at all.

TOP TIP: Only three skills and endorsements show up on your profile and you can select which three you want to be visible, so make sure these are relevant to your industry.

Network and activity

Once you have prepared your profile it’s time to start networking. Connect with former and current colleagues, fellow students and employers in your industry. This will make you visible to a wider audience and will garner you more attention.

Interact with your connections, make sure you are sharing activity on your own profile, join groups and follow businesses that are part of your industry of interest. Remember this is a networking site not a static online CV – keeping your activity fresh with regular status updates shows an active interest in your area of work.

You can endorse the skills of those you have worked with and they can endorse you. The more you build up these endorsements, the more confidence a prospective employer will have in your abilities. Better yet – ask colleagues if they will write you a recommendation on your profile which will be more meaningful to employers.

Contact information

Once you have built up your profile and have begun to network with the right people you will want to make sure people can contact you if they are interested in your skills. People who are not already in your network will not be able to see your contact information, so if you wish to be reached it would be a good idea to include your contact details in your summary.

Once you have an excellent digital footprint, an effective CV and an efficient LinkedIn profile at your disposal, it’s time to find the right opportunity for you. Finding the right job can be like looking for a needle in a hay stack, so make sure to read our fourth instalment next week as we’ll be giving you top tips on how to find the best role for you.

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