Category Archives: linkedin

How to make your LinkedIn profile stand out as a fresh graduate

Think LinkedIn is just for people with a comprehensive job history? Think again. It’s 2018; more than 90% of recruiters use the platform as one of the main ways to find candidates for their role, and you are going to miss out if your profile isn’t up to scratch. Considering that 40% of users log in daily, it’s clear that LinkedIn is the go-to site for job seekers.

So, how do you make your profile stand out, even if you don’t have a whole lot of work experience? Here are our top tips.

Get the basics right.

Your profile photo is the first opportunity you get to show recruiters you mean business; just having one will increase your profile views by 14%. Make sure it’s professional, smart and appropriate for the audience (i.e. no cat selfies or photos of you in the pub).

Next, your headline – a chance to tell prospective employers why they should read on. Resist the temptation to use this as a mini-summary and, instead, use the space to succinctly highlight the value you have to offer.

Don’t forget to add your qualifications to your profile; as a new graduate, this is your primary hook for recruiters.

Write a great summary.

Think of this section as a personal advertisement. This is the place where you really get to sell yourself – don’t be afraid to show your personality. Write a few concise sentences about who you are, what experiences and qualifications you have, and your career goals. Don’t forget to use keywords that recruiters in your sector will be looking for.

Include relevant experiences, even if you haven’t held down a job.

A lack of job experience doesn’t have to be a barrier to success; for example, 41% of LinkedIn recruiters consider volunteering to be as valuable as paid work experience. List all of the experiences you’ve had, including part-time jobs, volunteering, societies, and work placements – anything you’ve done that showcases a skill that is transferable to the workplace. Cite examples where you used your initiative to make something happen, where you led a project or team, or where you achieved something you are proud of.

Grow your network.

Don’t be afraid to approach people you don’t know on the site. One great way to make connections is to find alumni from your university; most will be more than happy to help a fellow graduate.

Get some recommendations.

Most of us look for reviews from trustworthy people when we are making purchases. The same goes for LinkedIn recommendations – they are an opportunity to showcase the value you have provided to others in the past. Ask previous colleagues to talk about the strengths you bring to projects and why they enjoyed working with you.

Join some groups.

LinkedIn groups provide opportunities on multiple levels. Firstly, they give you an insight into the key trends and issues within the companies and sectors of interest to you. Secondly, when you join a group, you are now within the connection web of the other group members (so long as you don’t join more than 100). This means that your profile is more likely to pop up in search results when recruiters are looking to hire somebody with experiences like yours.

Keep your profile up to date.

At the start of your career, new experiences and achievements occur almost daily. Don’t forget to add them to your profile on a regular basis, even if you’ve already landed yourself a job – it’s good to keep things up to date for when the time comes for a change.

Finally, check out LinkedIn’s own set of tools specifically designed for students and graduates – there’s a whole heap of resources to help get you started. Happy job hunting!

Kate Jones writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.

TEDx is coming to the University of Cumbria!


TEDx, an independently organised TED event, is coming to Carlisle for one night only!

Tickets available on the UoC TEDx website here.


The Theme

For the first ever University of Cumbria TEDx event the theme ‘Progression’ has been chosen, this ties in nicely with university life and can have a broad interpretation. Expect talks on career progression, the progression of ideas and much more. The event speakers really have had some great ideas on what progression means to them and the world.


The Speakers:

  • Andy Beeforth – Chief Executive Cumbria Community foundation
  • Jacqui Filkins – Honoury Fellow, advisor to EU on health matters – Sustainability Strategies.
  • Brenda Crossley – Graduate – Aging & Adapting With Technology.
  • Nathan Roberts – Zoo Keeper – Conservation and Effective Communication.
  • Phillip Wilson – Musician. Making Music Accessible For All.
  • Annie Weir – Self-published creative writing graduate – Age Is Not A Barrier.

Developing a great line-up for this event has been tough, there are just so many talented people with great ideas! There will be something for everyone with six super talented speakers all with unique ideas to share from varied backgrounds. Be sure to check out the event blog here for updates on speakers with details about them and their talks.



Thursday 5th May 2016 at 18.30 until 21.30



The event will be held in the University of Cumbria’s Fusehill Street campus close to the centre of Carlisle in the Learning Gateway Lecture Theatre.

University of Cumbria, Fusehill Street, Carlisle, CA1 2HH



A ticket must be purchased to ensure attendance. Just to make it even harder to resist temptation you will get a free beer and a burger with each ticket. Now that’s food for thought…

Tickets are £8.49 per person (including booking fees)

Tickets available on the UoC TEDx website here.



About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

Find out more on the TED website.

New to TED? Here’s 11 must see TED talks.


This event is being organised by Ben Parker (University of Cumbria Events Management Student)


How to write your LinkedIn profile

When creating your LinkedIn profile you need to keep in mind how the professional networking site will work best for you. Will you use it to create new business connections and opportunities? To help promote your business and services? To network with your colleagues with the hope of progressing through the company? You may use it for multiple purposes, but it’s wise to establish what these are before you build your profile. Here are some useful tips to get you started.

Be Approachable

If it’s obvious by your LinkedIn profile that you’re going in for the hard sell, people are going to be reluctant to connect with you. Including sales pitch terms or calls to action in your bio, for example: ‘If you’re looking to save money get in touch with me today’ are very off-putting and best avoided. Instead, write about your role in a matter-of-fact way, such as: ‘I currently work with a range of clients, helping them to reduce their spend’. This sounds a lot more professional and less forward.


Be Consistent

Your LinkedIn profile should be harmonious with the company you currently work for and the role you hold. For instance, you should include key phrases that your company uses to describe its message, products or services. This will help establish you as an expert in your field and cast a good impression on anyone who is scouting staff in this particular industry.


Be Succinct

Realistically, no one is likely to sit there and read your entire profile – especially if it’s very long. If you want people to take an interest in you, write short and well-worded descriptions of what your main tasks are, what you are currently focusing on and what your contribution to the company is. This can all be done in one medium sized paragraph. It’s better to capture people’s interest with bite-sized chunks of information rather than putting them off with endless waffle.


Be Selective

There’s no need to include every role you’ve ever done in your work history. It’s perfectly acceptable to select the most important ones and those you are most proud of. However, be careful of leaving significant gaps as this can create doubt in employers’ minds as to what you
were doing. It’s wise to fill in your history up to the point where you started on your career path – i.e. there’s no need to include your early jobs that weren’t very relevant to how you ended up in your current role.


Complete Your Profile

Conversely to the previous point, a profile mostly left blank looks pretty bad. It casts the reflection that you were either too lazy to fill it out or don’t have much to offer. Show that you’re dedicated to your career progression by taking the time to complete most of the fields. After all, people will not be interested in your profile unless they can actually find out more about you from it. Finally, make sure you add a professional profile photo as this helps potential employers put a face to a name and connect with your profile.


From Issue 16 of Career Savvy – subscribe for free at

Don’t let social media ruin your job prospects


As the physical world continues to slip into a digital slumber, social media offers a very personal and public insight into our lives. While its methods of communication have been lauded, our personal profiles are providing a much more astute depiction of ourselves than a CV ever could, and this has resulted in employers becoming much more tech savvy when searching for future staff.

While your CV may list your academic and professional achievements, employers are just as interested in who you are as a person and increasingly, Twitter and Facebook is becoming the information source of choice. In the lead up to an interview, candidates rarely think about how social media can affect their employability, although with just a little attention, they could prevent their online identities from sabotaging their real life self.

Profile picture

First impressions count and a beer helmet, neon paint and flaming skull t-shirt hardly scream consummate professional. When businesses search for you, your profile picture is the first thing they’ll see, and how you appear here implies what you are like in reality. This doesn’t mean you need a professional headshot as your photo, but maybe choose something a little more respectable and a little less Crimewatch.

Check your bio

Your Twitter bio is supposed to sum up who you are in just a limited number of characters. Firstly, it’s important to have one. Not having a bio robs you of personality and also suggests that you don’t know how to use social networks effectively. On a basic level, your bio should tell people who you are and what you do, although don’t be afraid to be creative. What you can’t afford to do is put people off and wasting characters with favourite band names and love hearts shows a shallowness and immaturity.

Consider multiple accounts

If you’re accustomed to using social media for strictly social purposes, don’t be afraid to set up a professional account. Many of us just can’t be trusted to hold back when we’re online and profanity and strong opinions aren’t the most desirable of traits from a business perspective. Setting up a new career focused account, unlinked to the original, will allow you to present yourself in a professional manner and network with those in the sector.

Don’t forget LinkedIn

For many, LinkedIn is the forgotten cousin of the social network, with its corporate driven ideology resulting in users spending less time on it than it’s more ‘social’ competitors. Many employers will search for you on LinkedIn to view your professional credentials, but failing to update your profile could do you a disservice. LinkedIn should show you at your best and staying on top of it will present you as an organised and polish candidate.

Control your privacy settings

Regardless of the open and closed nature of different networks, adjusting the privacy settings allows you dictate who can see what, if anything at all. You can use these settings to make you more difficult to find or just to hide certain statuses and photos from all but friends. This can be a great way of concealing your online self and stopping employers from seeing that dreaded ‘Magaluf 09’ album.

While your social media presence shouldn’t be the main deciding factor for an employer, it all goes someway to painting a picture of who you are. While the above methods are by no means foolproof, they should save you the unenviable task of having to delete the most offending articles from your respective accounts, while at the same time making you that little bit more employable.

This post is reblogged from:

5 Steps to a killer LinkedIn Profile

When I left St. Martin’s College in Lancaster as a newly qualified primary school teacher in 1987, job seeking sites like LinkedIn and Monster would have been the stuff of science fiction!

Having started my job-seeking life with a cronky typewriter, a sheet of A4 and a bottle of Tipp-Ex, I now consider a professional, updated and fully completed profile on LinkedIn to be a prerequisite of modern life, whether you’re currently employed, self-employed or seeking employment. Their Google listing says it all: ‘Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network. Access knowledge, insights and opportunities.’

I’m now deriving more contacts, more credibility and more exposure from LinkedIn than any other of my other social media profiles, and I highly recommend it to you as an essential part of your job-seeking and professional branding toolkit.

So here, in a nutshell, is my 5-step guide to setting up a killer LinkedIn profile.

Tip 1: Use A Great Photo

Your profile image on LinkedIn must be professional, high quality (not out of focus) and more formal in nature ie not a photo of you at a party, on holiday or singing karaoke.


Profiles with photographs are 7x more likely to be viewed by other people – and remember, this isn’t Facebook or Instagram, I have a personal policy on LinkedIn, and I do not accept connections from people who do not use a proper profile image. That’s because, when I get skills endorsements, I don’t want a row of grey, generic default images, I want social proof from real people:


So go for professional authenticity at all times when using LinkedIn.

Tip 2: Use Keywords For Your Sector

The art of using LinkedIn is in being seen and discovered. Depending on whether you’re a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker, you must use appropriate keywords so that people in your industry can find you. To get a better feel for this, use the ‘Search’ function in LinkedIn to get keyword ideas and to see what other people in your sector are using to come up high in search results.

Alongside this tip, make sure that your geographic data is appropriate to the contact opportunities that you’re seeking ie do you want to bring up Cumbria as a key location, or are you open to UK or Europe-based jobs?

Tip 3: Treat Your Headline Like A Branding Exercise

You have a 120 character limit in your professional headline area, so make sure that you use it wisely. Don’t put crazy claims in here – remember, this is a professional networking site. But do write a headline that will encourage the reader to continue checking out your profile and find out more about you.

In short, make every one of those 120 characters count!


Tip 4: Customise Your Profile URL

Without getting into a long lesson on search engine optimisation here, in simple SEO terms, your profile is more likely to be found via a search engine if you include your full name. If you just leave it as the default, with a long line of meaningless numbers, it’s going to be very difficult to find you.

So get it customised and make it as close to your proper name as you can – which means if you can use, do so, if not, maybe pop uk at the end and add a number if you have to … but make sure that you use your full name, with no initials!.

Tip 5: Make It Visually Appealing

A LinkedIn profile with eye-catching images and things to click is much better than one that is just one block of boring text. Make your profile easy to read, compel the reader to consume your page content.

That means:

– Using short paragraphs and sentences

– Using bullet points

– Using headlines

– Making full use of ‘Add Link/Upload File’ feature in LinkedIn to fully populate your profile with demonstrations of your work and expertise


In summary, LinkedIn has over 250 million members and as a professional networking site it has no equal. It’s important to be found online in the right way in the 21st Century, and that means professional profiles, blogs and social media profiles which are public facing (lock down your privacy settings for the party pictures, karaoke videos and fancy dress shots!).

Deploying these 5 tips on your LinkedIn profile will give it an instant online boost – and who knows where it may lead career-wise?

About The Author

Paul Teague is a Carlisle-based social and digital marketer. You can check out his LinkedIn profile here: Paul is a former St. Martin’s student who graduated in 1987. He has since returned to do an NES Business Start Up course at Fusehill Street Campus and some freelance lecturing at the Brampton Road campus.

5 Smartphone apps to help you in your job search



LinkedIn is one of the best places to find a job. You can follow companies that you are interested in working with, get in touch with employees of that company, make links and ask questions of the very people who are in the place you want to be. A lot of companies use LinkedIn to advertise vacancies, and the larger companies often have a dedicated recruitment page, with videos and case studies that gives you a really good insight into what working there is really like.


A lot of jobs are advertised on Twitter nowadays, and this is one social media platform that you really can’t afford to ignore. You can follow companies that you are interested in working with (some have dedicated job accounts) and you can use it to ask questions and find out what’s happening in your industry – great for those tricky interview questions!

Jobsite Jobs

This is just one of the job sites out there, most sites have an app that you can download – try a few until you find one you are comfortable with. You can search for local, national and international jobs by different filters. Have a spare 10 minutes on the bus? Get your phone out and find that job!!

Job Interview Q&A

This is a great app that can help prepare you for general interview questions. There are those standard questions that everyone gets asked at pretty much every interview: ‘Tell me about yourself’ ‘Why do you want to work here?’ ‘Tell me about a time when you worked in a team’ – this app helps you find questions that you might not be expecting!

Google Maps

The last thing you want is to get lost on your way to your interview! Make sure you plan your route the day before, and take into account things like traffic, the possibility that the car could break down, and so on – expect the unexpected!! You could also use the street view facility in Google maps to ‘walk through’ your route so that you can recognise the area and the building when you arrive.

What apps do you use in your job search? Let us know in the comments!


A day in the life of Rachel Murray, Digital Marketing Consultant for Hydrant

Rachel is Digital Marketing Consultant for Hydrant in Carlisle. You can read more about Hydrant in Monday’s post here.


How did you become a Digital Marketing Consultant? Did you need any specific training or education?
I graduated with a marketing degree, but I also had a keen interest in digital marketing, and I actually got the job through LinkedIn. I was interested in working with Hydrant as I am quite local, so I connected with some of the staff on LinkedIn, and saw the job advertised there. I sent off my CV, which led to our first meeting and it went from there! They were looking for someone to undertake their digital marketing and so I joined the team as digital marketing consultant; if a client needed advice, I would be the point of contact. Now that I have been there a year, my role has progressed so that I do a lot of face to face work, networking, and marketing Hydrant – letting people know that we are just around the corner!

What does a typical day consist of?
I do a lot of business development, sales, and tender opportunities, so I usually start the day by looking at the tender portals, finding sales opportunities and then ensuring that we have all the documents together in time for deadlines. Every day has different demands and priorities and so I arrange my workload around those. I do a lot of Hydrant’s marketing, mostly online, so I will create press releases, blog posts, tweets and things like that. I could also be arranging events, such as our recent tweet-up, other Hydrant events, and so on. As I am also a point of contact for people who are interested in our services, I often have clients phone up for advice, or new clients wanting to work with us. I find that working in an agency, every day is different!


What personal qualities do you think are essential to be good at your job?
You really need to be outgoing and creative to work in social media; you don’t want your online presence to blend in, it needs to be engaging and stand out! It is important that you have the skills to create that sort of online presence. I am quite talkative, which is useful when networking, so I’m not sitting in a corner and not really representing Hydrant – you need to be outspoken and have the ability to form relationships and chat with all different kinds of people. You also need to understand the strategy behind the suggestions you make to clients, you need to know the technical theory behind all of that. This is one of those jobs you can really learn as you go, especially within social media as it is always changing, you need to constantly be aware of new trends and be up to date and on the ball!

If you could spend one day in another job, what would it be and why?
I find social media really interesting but I would love to do it for a really different organisation. My dream job is to work for Heat magazine, working in the office and meeting celebrities. Their approach to social media is completely different, it isn’t corporate at all, and it is about building relationships with their readers which I find very interesting. They tweet and post on Facebook about TV programmes, celebrities and celeb culture, it’s a totally different approach.

What is your biggest tip for someone who wants follow in your career path?
My main advice would be to be proactive, just get yourself out there and let companies know you are available and experienced. Form relationships with companies, and people at those companies, rather than just applying for jobs. So, you could send a LinkedIn request to the company founder, and send him a message letting him know what you are about. When I first came out of university one of the first things I did was to get in touch with local organisations to see if I could work with them for a few days – most companies will say yes to someone offering to work for free! Another important thing to remember is that experience is vital, so the more you can do before you leave university, the better. Working for a company for a few days, or on a short project looks better than a blank CV. If you are struggling to get any experience, you could even start blogging about your chosen career. For example, if you are seeking a career in advertising, you could blog about current advertising campaigns, putting your own touch on them, giving advert reviews etc. This is building your experience and shows employers your knowledge and abilities, and you can use it as a reference or portfolio when applying for jobs. Having something to show an employer goes a long way.

Interested in a career in digital marketing? You can read more on the Prospects website at

Why You Should Link Up with Linked In

Last week’s post on networking made a passing mention of the importance of using social media for networking purposes, in particular Linked In. Since then I have happened on some useful slides about using Linked In (and Twitter) to develop professional contacts by a colleague at the University of Manchester, Helen Buzdugan  Duly inspired, what follows is an attempt to pass on some thoughts about the ways you can use Linked In to develop your own career network.  You may find it useful to open a Linked In account to follow some of the references, if you have not already done so.

While many careers advisers advocate the use of Linked In to students, repeated surveys show that student use and awareness of Linked In is at quite a low level.  This is a shame as Linked In – sometimes alluded to as “Facebook for suits” – is one of the key arenas that budding professionals can use to build up influential contacts.  The difference is that it lacks the frivolity and some of the less desirable aspects of Facebook as it centres on professional life.  It’s all about the work you, not you the party animal.

Linked In does include job adverts which are filtered to match your Linked In profile, but much more subtle is the way that you can use it to find unadvertised opportunities and befriend new contacts in particular companies or industry sectors.

Finding People

Using the Linked In advanced search facility, you can look for people who are already in careers that interest you and approach them for advice, company or sector information or to request information interviews.  The Linked In Career Explorer facility allows you to check out profiles of other people who have been involved with the same colleges or companies as yourself so you have something in common straight away.

A bit more subtly still, you can look at people’s past career profiles to see what route they took to get to where they are now, which can shed some useful light on the steps you could consider to get to a similar position yourself.

As per good networking practice, Linked In helps you tap in not just to your contacts but their contacts and their contacts’ contacts, any of whom you can readily message on the system. An extra dimension is that people will look at your profile too, opening up at least the possibility of getting headhunted.

Searching For Companies

It’s dead easy to find companies in a particular geographical area or of a particular kind.  Not all companies have a Linked In page of course and a tool like the Direct Marketing tool of Keynote is a more comprehensive way of producing company listings. But where Linked In scores is on the sheer amount of information you can access by viewing companies who have built a significant profile.

For example, looking at the BBC page straight away gives you details of their current vacancies, and the Insights section tells you of people who have made recent career moves into and out of the company. What astounded me was the fact that, even though I have made no great effort at extending my use of Linked In and have no special interest in broadcasting, their Careers section showed that I have 27 first or second level contacts within the Beeb, only two of whom I have ever met!

Joining Groups

For the would-be job applicant, there are two kinds of groups that can be worth investigating – regional and professional.  A very good example of the former is the Cumbrian link group, a meeting place for a large number of professionals and employers who engage in frequent discussions on local themes – a great way of finding out the key influencers and topical themes in the county.

If you are interested in finding teaching jobs in the UK, there is a Linked In professional group on exactly that theme. Observing and contributing to group discussions can be a great way of making contacts and getting yourself known.

Last of all…

Linked In isn’t the only social network that is useful for developing your career.  Following the ‘horses for courses motto’, there may be others that will be more useful for specific career directions or companies. But Linked In has a very strong presence in the Business, Finance, Commerce and Law sectors to name just a few and as the lead professional network available online, is always worth checking before you look elsewhere.

University of Cumbria students who want to know more about Linked In will find information on the Blackboard Jobs&Careers tab.

Networking in a Nutshell

Two weeks ago (was it so long ago?)  I was delivering some sessions on networking as part of our Careers Fair in Carlisle.

The feedback we got on the sessions was pretty good, so here’s a very brief summary of the key points that were covered:

  • To give yourself a start, prepare a stock phrase you can use to introduce yourself – ideally something memorable.
  • For formal events and one-off opportunities, consider an elevator pitch
  • Prepare a list of key questions you want to get answers to.
  • Think how you will end a contact and whether/how you will follow it up.
  • Use a mind map to help you identify useful people you already know.
  • People you meet will know other people who might be able to help.
  • Arrange information interviews with experts in the field that interests you.
  • Consider spontaeneous networking.  Some networking gurus keep contact details and make quick notes on everyone they meet!
  • Business cards are highly useful (and often free) and CVs are pretty much expected at Careers Fairs.
  • Social networking is vital – particularly LinkedIn
  • It’s a mutual process – working out what other people want will give you big clues about what you need to do.
Initially nerves are natural when meeting new people but basically networking is something we do all the time.  If you get the approach right, it becomes easy.

P.s. If you are a University of Cumbria student or graduate and would like to attend a group session on networking, please email us at 

New Trends in CV Writing

A paper for careers professionals produced by a group calling itself the Career Thought Leaders Consortium has suggested amongst many other things some new developing trends in the use of CVs.

Apart from some interesting comments indicating for example that 50% of hiring managers no longer read covering letters and have an “almost-universal dislike” of functional CVs, there are some interesting tips that you may find useful when compiling your CV:

  • It is still vital for the CV to make a strong impression “above the fold” i.e. in the first half page 
  • ‘Hybrid resumes that combine an amplified profile (the “functional” component) with abbreviated reverse-chronological detail on jobs can work for those with less experience, employment gaps, or other challenges.’ Translated into more normal English, this basically means: Skills-based CVs can still work for the groupings mentioned.
  • For online CVs it is becoming important to ensure a good match of keywords between any person specification and the CV text, e.g. by using software like Wordle
  • It can be useful to include endorsements in the form of brief testimonial statements. LinkedIn recommendations can provide a useful source of quotes for testimonials.

If you are looking to try some more innovative approaches to CV writing, there are some emerging ideas suggested in the full report. You could look at producing a CV in a series of ten 140 character tweets as a #twesume on Twitter, an infographic CV in the form of a diagram, a popup CV that appears on your website, or a pocket resume that you can leave at networking meetings and careers fairs on the back of a business card.

Perhaps what needs to be added at this point is that many of the Career Thought Leaders Consortium are US-based and it may take some time for the likes of twesumes to establish themselves this side of the pond.  But in a situation where candidates are routinely urged to put out large numbers of CVs, it is easy to see that there may be a need to go for more innovative approaches.

Please let us know whether you have heard of any of them being used in the UK (and with what result) by adding a comment below.