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!