We’re firm believers that social media can be a really useful tool when you’re looking for a job these days. And, obviously, LinkedIn is one of the best social media tools for job hunters. And yet, as we’ve mentioned before, a lot of young people don’t actually use LinkedIn – the age of the average LinkedIn user is 44. We think that one of the reasons a lot of young people don’t use LinkedIn is because it’s a bit of a minefield to set up.
So, because we like to help you, we’ve set up an example profile. (You can see it if you click here – you might need to log out of your own LinkedIn account first.) And we’re even going to let you know exactly how we’ve gone about it and why we’ve put what we’ve put.
Having a professional picture on your LinkedIn profile is really important. Obviously as Alex doesn’t actually exist, finding a picture of him was a little bit hard. So we got the brilliant James who is on work experience with us this week to create a picture of Alex. As you’ll see, it’s professional looking and definitely wasn’t taken down the pub. Choose your LinkedIn picture carefully, a first impression can count for a lot.
The summary is one of the hardest parts of the LinkedIn profile because you have to try and sum up exactly who you are, what you’ve done, what your skills and expertise are, and why you’re the exact candidate that recruiters are looking for, all without writing everything that’s going to come in the rest of the profile.
The key thing to remember with your LinkedIn summary is that it isn’t Twitter or Facebook. That sounds like an obvious statement, but what we mean is LinkedIn is a professional network, so you need to use the kind of language that a potential employer would be impressed with. Your LinkedIn profile is not the place to write a kooky haiku about why you should be employed.
We actually wrote the summary section of our LinkedIn profile at the end of creating the profile. This way, we could look at all the experience and skills that Alex has and could easily make a decision on what to include in that summary. This might also help you to recognise where your strengths lie and which skills you should highlight in your summary.
With the experience part of the profile, we’ve listed the part-time jobs that Alex has done, as well as the full-time roles. It’s important to remember that you’ve gained essential transferable skills from your time spent as a waiter or waitress or working behind a bar.
Obviously the part-time roles aren’t anywhere near as important as the work you’ve done that’s related to the career that you want to follow, so it’s only necessary to put in a couple of lines about those, in comparison to a detailed paragraph about anything you’ve done that is directly related to the career you want to follow.
With the descriptions of experience, we just outlined a brief overview of what the role entailed and what the main responsibilities were. With the role at GoThinkBig we went into a bit more detail as it’s specifically related to the editorial role that Alex is seeking, and also it’s the most recent experience.
Skills and Expertise
The skills and expertise section of your LinkedIn profile is where you can go crazy with keywords. All the keywords. Seriously. Just indulge. And then reorder them to make sure the skills that are most relevant to the career that you want are first in your list.
The first thing that you’ll notice with LinkedIn’s education section is that it’s really tailored for Americans and the American education system. This makes it kind of difficult to put in your UK qualifications, so you just kind of have to work around it.
The way that we worked around it was to put “BA (Hons) English” in the ‘Degree’ box, leave the Field of Study box empty and then fill in the grade box.
The activities and societies box are used in America to include things like your sorority or fraternity, as well as any teams or clubs. As we don’t have a Greek system over here, we’ve used it to just mention the clubs and societies that Alex was involved in – and then expanded on that in the description.
With the description, we’ve purposefully included the student media work that Alex did first as that’s more relevant to the industry that he wants to go into. Obviously if your degree is related to the career you want to go into, then you should list that first.
Some more advice
While we were building the profile, we came across a number of really useful articles about building your LinkedIn profile, so we thought we’d share those with you too:
- How entrepreneurs use LinkedIn
- Best way to address unemployment on LinkedIn
- LinkedIn for Dummies
- How and why you should use LinkedIn when jobseeking
Now that you’ve sorted your LinkedIn profile out, why not follow our GoThinkBig page and keep up to date with what we’re doing.