The Beginner's Guide to LinkedIn
We help you get to grips and get going with LinkedIn.
You need to get yourself on LinkedIn they said. Super easy and great for networking they said. So you create an account, carefully select your most suitable picture and immediately realise you have no clue what you're doing. So here it is, just for you: The beginners guide to LinkedIn.
1. Your profile information
First things first. Just like your CV, it goes without saying that your LinkedIn profile should be as complete as possible and should present the reader with your most relevant achievements and experience.
Outside of this, particularly if you are looking to get hired, it is important to consider including key words that recruiters will be using as search terms. This will ensure you will appear when they are looking for job seekers with your skills. In terms of a profile picture think professional and conservative.
A head shot in smart dress with a neutral backdrop is ideal, your blurry selfies with your dog/ traffic cone/ pint of vodka, not so much.
2. LinkedIn Connections
Now you need to start making some connections. A key benefit of LinkedIn is that is provides the opportunity reach out to the business community and the more connections you have, the more people you have access to.
It's a good idea to start off with your current and previous colleagues. If you're just out of uni and have no colleagues on LinkedIn, add your fellow graduates. If you're job seeking don't be afraid to connect with recruiters in your industry and/or senior people in a business you're interested in joining.
3. Utilise LinkedIn industry groups
Whether you're job searching or just trying to improve your knowledge, it can be a very good idea to join industry groups. This will give you an engaging news feed and help you to stay on top of the latest developments and debates within the sector. You don't have to just join the groups in which you are experienced, it can also be hugely beneficial to join other groups if you're considering a career change or are just starting out. There will be lots of conversations happening between people that really know the market, and aside from this, they may contain some very useful contacts for your career.
If you're preparing for an interview or just want to impress your colleagues around the water cooler, simply swapping some Twitter scrolling for LinkedIn scrolling in industry groups will make you look uber knowledgeable and well researched. You never know, if you comment wisely, or start a discussion of your own, you might just catch someone's eye.
4. Joining discussions
When you're ready you can even begin to comment in the discussions in these industry groups. This is one of the best ways to get noticed, astounding your fellow industry people with your knowledge and insight. But beware: be sure only to comment when you have something truly useful to input and avoid ending up in any LinkedIn spats.
5. Sharing Content
If you're trying to build a connection base then sharing content is a great way to do it. Remember, LinkedIn is 'social' media and there is no point in staying in your room. If you want to be found, you've got to get out there! Remember that your first comment doesn't have to be a life changing inspirational quote that you just came up with. Piggy back off others.
Share a post you feel represents your views; find an article related to your industry that you think others will find useful. LinkedIn is a professional network and so should be treated as such by the newbies. Unfortunately this means you should avoid sharing funny cat videos. But if you find a thought provoking article from a reliable source then go ahead and show off your competence.
6. Job hunting
LinkedIn is really useful for more tailored job hunting. You will be offered suggestions, can search jobs in your local area, or visit business pages directly for their latest opportunities. Industry pages are also other good locations to look out for the most desirable new vacancies. Other than this, connecting with local or specialist recruiters is also another great way to expose yourself to a whole lot of new exciting job opportunities.
7. Preparing for an interview
When invited to interview, there is no need to stay passive and wait for the day. Being on LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to view the profiles of your interviewers before hand and even connect with them. It shows that you are proactive and also gives you an opportunity to find out a little bit more about them which may help you to build rapport in the interview.
If you're feeling really brave you can even drop them a message expressing how you're looking forward to meeting them and finding out more about the position. Likewise a post interview 'thank you- I look forward to hearing from you' message will go a long way.
8. LinkedIn faux pas
The most common types of LinkedIn faux pas are any involving inappropriate content. If you're unsure whether a new profile picture, post or message is appropriate, err on the side of caution. When you're more established you may be able to begin to introduce the odd more light hearted post but in the early days keep it serious.
Another word of warning is to not stalk your office crush or nemesis on LinkedIn, unless you change your settings to hide you name, they can see that you've been looking. The only foolproof way to do covert sleuthing is when logged out of LinkedIn but you didn't hear that from us.
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