Thing No 3 has also come at a great time for me – Rudai 23, you’re doing great things for my continuing professional development in general actually. Thank you! I have recently been updating my LinkedIn as my graduate traineeship is ending soon so I will once again on the job market.
In this post I am going to share my experiences, thoughts and tips on using LinkedIn, the career/ business focused social networking and online CV site. Many people have probably heard of LinkedIn, many of you may already use it or have used it/ attempted to use it at some point in the past.
A few things LinkedIn can do for you:
- Build a professional network of colleagues, academics and industry insiders
- Get involved in professional discussions and keep in the loop
- Create your professional brand which will advertise your best self – Google and LinkedIn like each a lot so if some Googles you, your name could be there
- Have a dynamic online CV which showcases your achievements – upload images, files, presentations, awards etc
Is it worth the time and effort I hear you ask? I am not going to sugar-coat it; creating a LinkedIn profile does take a lot of time and effort. I spent upwards of 2 hours a few nights ago working on my profile but I felt a lot better for doing it. It is worth the effort for two reasons. Firstly, potential employers or colleagues could see your profile so it’s an easy way to make a good first impression, secondly, it’s an up to date summary of your experiences and achievements to date. I use my LinkedIn account to remind myself of all of the things I’ve done and achieved both in the work place and at college and University (I forget otherwise oops).
As the 23 things team have demonstrated, to convey your professional brand there are a few key points to consider. The most important ones for me are:
- IMAGE – How do you want people to see you? I’ve chopped and changed my profile picture so many times it’s bordering on obsessive. I don’t recommend you do that. Choose a nice head and shoulders shot, dressed for work maybe and show off your professional side. Think… If you had to send a potential employer an image of yourself it’s not going to be a selfie from 20 years ago. You want to make a good impression. I had my picture taken at the Universiity careers fair where they had a LinkedIn photobooth offering a free professional photo service for staff and students to use on their online CVs etc.
- HEADLINE – Make sure to use the professional headline carefully as this summarises your professional brand. Right now I am using my job title as it best summarises my current position but come September when I go back to university this will be different. Use it you reflect your career at present and your future goals.
3. SUMMARY – I received advice from a LinkedIn workshop and this was to make sure you fill in all fields but especially the summary field. This is your bio where you will quickly convey your professional brand and what you’re all about to anyone looking at your page.
Tip: Complete the write up of your job descriptions/ summaries etc in Microsoft Word or something similar. This will highlight any spelling mistakes for make, whereas if you enter it straight into the field on LinkedIn, you’ll never know you spelt something wrong, but others certainly will!
There is a lot of information out there which can help you build a good online CV. At the University of Bradford we’re lucky to have a Career Development Adviser who put on a really useful workshop on how to use LinkedIn, so if you can get to anything like that it would be very useful.
One thing that I keep wondering about LinkedIn; can you have too much text and information? How breif or detailed should the summaries and descriptions be? What do you think?
*** If you think any of the advice I’ve given is terrible or could be improved please leave me a comment and let me know. Also if you think something I am doing on my profile is rubbish or could be improved, give me a nudge.***