For many students out there the first time they hear about LinkedIn is when they are in their final year. When it comes to LinkedIn the best way to think of it is as a social business, not social media. To help you make the most of this great tool whether you use it regularly or have just signed up for it we here at BlueChief social have put together a comprehensive guide that covers:
- Getting started
- Making the most of your profile
- Connecting with Others
- LinkedIn Groups
- LinkedIn Pulse and Posts
- What makes good content
- Finding alumni
- Searching for jobs
- BlueChief Social daily checklist
Students getting started on LinkedIn
As they say you only get one chance to make a first impression and your LinkedIn profile is no different. Always make sure that you have a professional looking photo (not a picture taken from a night out). This is the start point from which people you judge your profile.
BlueChief Social Tip: Make sure to wear formal wear and come across as a professional person.
Building your profile
When it comes to filling out the details of your profile while stating your degree is important employers want to see more. The overall goal of your profile to begin with should be to get it to all star level.
With this in mind BlueChief Social has the following tips:
- Headline – Make sure this is informative and lets the employer/recruiter know what your aims are.
- Summary – Write a confident and precise summary detailing your qualifications as well as your goals for the future.
- Education – Details the colleges, schools and courses that you have attended (and grades achieved). If you studied abroad then include this as well. The key is to add any achievements that you think can help you stand out.
- Experience – Go through the job descriptions of various roles you’re interested in and see if there are any keywords that keep popping up. Include these in your experience so that it is as easy to find as possible.
- Interests – This area can help show your personality. For example of your play football or rugby this shows that you are team player. It can help show the person being the profile.
- Accomplishments – If you have any academic awards or taken part in business related events and won awards then make sure to include these achievements. You want to make sure your profile is as extensive as possible.
- Skills – The best way to start here is create whatever skills you already have and start adding skills on from here. Always make sure to be truthful though as the last thing you want to do is get caught out.
- Other tips – If you have done voluntary work then make sure to add this as often it can be viewed as formal work experience.
Connecting with others
When you start off you will connect with friends and lecturers and this is all you need to do right?
Wrong!! you should connect with others on a regular basis. Its important to not just connect with a random sample of people. Plan it out so that you’re connecting with a purpose (for example the person may be influential in your industry and you want to learn from them).
- Set goals whether this is connecting with the managers of local businesses or a recruiter in each of the top agencies a goal will help give direction to your efforts and motivate you.
- DONT use the generic connection message – From personal experience a personalised message always beats a generic one. Thank the person for a recent post and tell them the reason you want to connect with them. This is a great tactic to use as it can help you stand out from others.
The best way to think of LinkedIn groups is an online forum where you can share your views, ideas and questions with like minded people. There is a huge variety of groups on LinkedIn that cover a great variety of professions. If you’re just starting off with groups then make sure to check out these following tips:
- Research – Check out other websites or blogs to see if there are lists of the best groups to follow on LinkedIn. Why not check out some of the companies you follow and see if these also have a connected group. For example with Marketing Hubspot have an Inbound Marketing for professionals group that people can join.
- Trial and Error – If there is no such list or advice available then the best thing to do is trial and error. Check out what groups are out there, join them, start interacting with the group and see what response you get. If its good then great if not then simply move on an try other groups.
- Have a goal – No matter what group you join always make sure you have a goal. Whether it’s to become a top contributor or connect with like minded people these can help you with regards what to put up but also who to chat with.
BlueChief Social Tip: if you’re doing a thesis then why not use groups as a source for primary research. You can not only get feedback on a global scale but you can also put up as many or as little questions as you want. You also won’t have to depend on someone else for an interview.
LinkedIn Pulse – It really has its finger on the Pulse of daily business
LinkedIn Pulse is a must use for students who are on LinkedIn. These consist of posts from big global influencers such as Bill Gates. As well as this publishers such as Forbes and Harvard Business Review send out regular articles on the issues of the day. If there don’t interest you then fear not as you can explore channels and find fields and topics that are of interest to you. The best thing with these is that they give you a birdseye view of what’s happening in the world of business on a daily basis.
BlueChief Social Tip: All students should follow the careers channel as this can give you great tips when it comes to interviews, career advice and career advancement.
Up until recently only certain people could post articles on LinkedIn. This has changed recently and now everyone can publish. The best way to think of this is a blog but with a readymade interested audience. Where if you set up a website you have various issues to worry about before you even start writing with LinkedIn Posts all you have to do is write, have the right tags and publish. For students here are some good tips to help you start off:
- Write about what interests you – Write about what it is you are interested in. If you’re passionate about the topic and can write it off the top of your head (like I am with this post) then great. It can be a great opportunity to show the world and potential you views and expertise on a specific topic.
- Write about career topics – If you’re thinking of a career in engineering then make sure to write about issues and topics that are related to this career. This can show that you’re really interested in your potential career and are willing to learn more off your own back.
- Structure it correctly – While the actual content is of course important the way you structure it can be just as important. This means making max use of the publishing dashboard.
- Create a good headline and an image that helps people to know straightaway what you’re writing about.
- Use headings and add bullet points to break up the content
- If you have other profiles then make sure to link these to the article so that you are always only a click away.
BlueChief Social Tip: If you have completed an assignment, got a good mark and think it would be of benefit to your career then why not create an article on this and publish it. Instead of it collecting cyber dust make max use out of it.
What makes good content on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of those channel where quality beats quantity, but what makes good content?
- Include a link – If you’re posting something on your homepage then make sure to the related article or topic you’re talking about. These drive twice the engagement of posts without links. At the same time it can show you put some time into the post rather than just a quick update.
- Include images – As they say a picture speaks a thousand words. Images on average result in 98% higher engagement. Include one in your post that help explain what it’s about. If you did research and have a table with interesting findings then include this. You never know what discussion this can create.
- Include YouTube videos – If there is a short video with some interesting stats or figure that you found interesting then why post these on your LinkedIn page. Videos can result in a 75% higher share rate.
LinkedIn is terrific to help you find college alumni. All colleges have an alumni page that can be a great start point when it comes to looking for potential jobs as these people have an instant connection. The best thing is that these pages allow you to search for fellow alumni
- By location
- Where they work
- What they do
- What they studied
- What they’re skilled at
- How you’re connected
BlueChief Social Tip: Check out your colleges alumni page and see if there are any past students you can connect with who can not only give you advice on your selected but may also direct you to potential employment.
Searching for Jobs
This is another terrific feature that can be used on LinkedIn. All you have to do is type a job title and a great variety of results will be returned. It is a great way to get start in the jobs market as you can categorise your job search by location, seniority, industry and company size. LinkedIn also allows you to keep track of the saved jobs, saved searches and jobs applied for.
We here at BlueChief have a list of does and don’ts when it comes to making the most of LinkedIn
Our Daily Checklist
While a lot of the features of LinkedIn have been covered there are some things students can do on a day to day basis that can help you make the most of this great social network.
Get Started on LinkedIn
As with many things in business nothing beats experience. So make sure to check out our advice and start harnessing this tool as soon as possible to help with your current and future job prospects. If you have any questions please leave a comment. You can also follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates.