After our Employer Showcase, you might be thinking about how to build on the connections you made with potential employers.
We’re here to show you everything you need to know to get the most out of LinkedIn and start making valuable industry connections.
LinkedIn is a social media site for professionals where you can network with others in your sector, keep up to date with industry news, and host a kind of online CV that showcases all your best work, achievements and experience. However, to really benefit from the site it’s best to go above and beyond, and actively use it to seek out opportunities and connections.
With that in mind, here are four tips on how to make the most of LinkedIn.
#1 – Build up your profile
The most important thing with LinkedIn is to present yourself well. You can do this by making sure that you have created a comprehensive and professional profile.
Fill out as many details as you can to show who you are and what you do. Go beyond listing your qualifications and experience by uploading photos, videos and documents that showcase your experience and the quality of your work. Give time to things like your profile photo and background image and ensure these reflect how you want to be seen by employers (don’t forget to upload your professional portrait from the Employer Showcase!)
If you can, take the time to write articles or create posts about topics you’re interested in to help start conversations and show your skills and interests. These are incredibly powerful steps to help your profile stand out.
Find out more about how to create a great profile by checking out this helpful article from Linkedin.
#2 – It all starts with a search!
Next, start building connections and growing your professional network. The best way to find new people to connect with is to just start searching.
Using LinkedIn’s built-in search bar at the top of the home page, start by typing in keywords related to the industry you’re interested in – such as ‘music’, or ‘architecture’; or if you know a person or organisation that works in that sector already, try searching their name. Once you’ve got your first page of results you can begin to apply filters and narrow down your results.
You can select to see just ‘people’ or ‘companies’, and if you hit ‘All filters’ you can narrow down even further according to things like location, education level and more.
When you find people working in areas that interest you, ask them to connect and start building your circles.
#3 – Join a Group
Groups are an integral part of LinkedIn and offer a space for like-minded people and people from similar sectors to come together. They’re a chance to not only connect, but also find people who will be willing to answer any questions you may have, and are a great way to build connections and discover opportunities.
You can find groups by using the search bar and typing in keywords and filtering by ‘groups’. Once you’re in, try posting questions to the group and striking up conversations with other members. Building rapport is key to potentially gaining things like work experience or job offers down the line, so put the work in now and your future self will thank you!
You can start by joining the Careers Service LinkedIn Group to connect with current students, graduates and employers.
#4 – Just do it!
Finally, you’re probably wondering what you should do if you find someone’s profile who you’d be interested in connecting with? The answer is just do it! The worst that can happen is they silently decline your invitation, and as the old adage says – where one door closes, another one opens – so the more people you seek to connect with, overall the more valuable connections you will be able to form.
When approaching someone, we’d recommend you always add a personalised note to explain in a succinct manner why you’re getting in touch, rather than using the default message. You may want to use your initial contact to ask a question or say something like “I’m a student and really interested in what you do and would love to connect with you to find out more” to show why you’re interested in connecting with them and demonstrate some thought behind your decision.
What not to do
Although it does pay to have confidence when it comes to searching out connections, make sure you don’t go too hard, too soon. For instance, asking to connect with someone and immediately asking them for work experience, or a job is unlikely to yield positive results. Instead, once you’re connected, try starting a conversation about their role or organisation, or asking a relevant question about getting into the industry and take things from there. You’re much more likely to be successful if you spend some time building a positive relationship first.
Hopefully, these tips will help you begin to navigate the world of LinkedIn and see you begin to form valuable connections which will serve you going forwards. Remember – the more work you can do now, the easier things will be in the future, so start early and get ahead.
If you want to find out more about using LinkedIn to the best of your abilities, keep an eye out for one of our ‘Making the best use of LinkedIn’ events on mycareer, or talk to us on Live Chat if you have any questions; and whatever you do, don’t forget to follow the Careers Service LinkedIn group!