Are you using LinkedIn? If not, then you should really consider it. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself left behind from the pack. During your time at University, or as a fresh graduate is the perfect time to get involved. There are multiple reasons why you should be using the professional networking site, read on for further information and tips.
As you may have guessed, some people make a lot of mistakes using the site. Some of the key mistakes on LinkedIn are:
1) Inappropriate LinkedIn profile pictures – I’ve seen so many people’s pictures of them on a boozy night out. Your Linked in account should represent your personal professional brand. I know it’s a bit of a cringe worthy expression, but it’s true. The same can be said for not having a profile picture – it’s imperative to have one. The picture doesn’t have to be professionally shot with a white background, as long as the picture looks smart and isn’t you on a big night out, it’s perfectly acceptable. I guess another point is to wear attire that would be deemed acceptable work wear for your future job/industry.
2) Weak headline – If your headline is not catchy, forget about it. Many recruiters only use LinkedIn now (extra emphasis on being spotted). Lots of users tend to have headlines which make them appear under the radar on LinkedIn searches – takes the point away somewhat. For LinkedIn to be worthwhile, you need to be found by people.
3) Not connected to enough people – Just being connected your friends is certainly not enough. By all means, connect with all your friends initially, as this is the easiest way for LinkedIn to work out who you might know and suggest relevant people you may know. Once you’ve built up all your friends into your circles, you now need to be thinking about casting your net a bit wider. Think of the movie, Donnie Brasco – there’s an excellent little scene about being a ‘connected guy’.
1) Too modest/too arrogant – It’s often very difficult to get the balance correct. LinkedIn is the perfect place to be proud of your achievements and state goals you wish to achieve (it’s far better than Facebook, as you’re bound to get comments from your less career-driven friends winding you up), however, strike the balance accordingly – confidence is needed, arrogance isn’t.
2) Inappropriate use of language – This can be from an abundance of areas; poor grammar and punctuation within your profile page, commenting on status updates/articles with the same, or even foul language – certainly not ‘LinkedIn appropriate’ behaviour. Keep that to your other social media platforms, if you must. It’s very easy to resurrect an account which has either become neglected and dormant, or one which needs a bit of a refresh. Some of the key ways this can be done are by:
1) Join the professional groups – LinkedIn allows you to join twenty groups at one time. Join some of the groups that catch your eye and try to engage in the discussion threads. If you can offer advice, as well as ask for it – you’ll be regarded highly by members of the group – you never know what opportunities may arise from it.
2) Use the ‘People you may know’ facility – This is a great way to build your network. Ask your lecturers if you can connect with them. Remember, your lecturers know people in the professional world. When your network grows, naturally, your second and third degree contacts with expand very quickly. You’re more likely to be found by recruiters as well – perfect.
3) Regularly update your profile when something changes in your career/education – When you get a new job/internship at a company/job promotion at your current company, be sure to put it in. If you write articles for instance, make the most of the galleries on LinkedIn.
4) Endorse your connections and make recommendations – This is a fantastic way to stay in touch and interact with your connections. Some people use it as a gentle reminder that you’re still using the site and to try and spark some interaction again. This is a great tool, but don’t overuse it and only endorse those that make sense, e.g. if you’re a Finance student, don’t endorse your friend studying medicine for ‘Cardiovascular’ – get the point?
5) Share your professional thoughts and aim to be the go to person – Be up to date with the news/your industry. When you see a great article in a professional publication, why not share it with your connections? This shows you have the ability to analyse and provide an opinion on your specialist industry.
The key summary is that LinkedIn’s potential for graduates and undergraduates is phenomenal. I’ve personally enjoyed a lot of success from using my profile regularly. The reason why I can be so blunt is that it took me a while to use the site, and then I wasn’t overly sure how to use it to its full potential. I took the initiative in the penultimate year of university to make a real effort to use the site daily. I’ve now set it as my home page, sounds a bit silly – but it’s a great way of remembering to actively use the site daily.
Think I’ve missed anything out? Feel free to comment below so we can build an even bigger ideal pool.