You may or may not have heard a bit about LinkedIn already. Maybe you’ve already had a go at creating a profile on there or maybe you took one look and decided it was all a bit too complicated!
We think LinkedIn is an excellent resource for your career – no matter what stage you’re at! So in today’s blog, we’re talking you through everything you need to know and our top tips for getting started.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social media platform – kind of like Facebook – with a core focus and purpose on helping you present yourself professionally and build a professional presence online.
It is the largest platform of its kind, where people worldwide create a dedicated career profile to help highlight their skills, experience, and educational achievements. You could say it’s like a social media version of your resume!
LinkedIn offers a lot more than a chance to replicate your resume online. Employers and recruiters use the platform to discover candidates, advertise opportunities and connect with potential employers.
Other benefits include:
- A chance to connect with others in your chosen industries and share ideas, opportunities and build a sense of community.
- A place to learn about new employers and organisations, what they look for in candidates and find job opportunities.
- A great way to keep up with innovation, developments and news in your favourite career industries.
- You can start learning from others, how they built their careers and different pathways to explore.
When Should You Create a Profile?
There are no hard rules around when you ‘should’ create a profile, although many people suggest just before you start applying to university, apprenticeships or getting ready for your next steps after school.
Some application processes for jobs (and some further or higher education applications) invite you to share a link to your LinkedIn profile. It can be a great way to highlight that you’ve been thinking seriously about your next steps.
The important thing to remember is that there is no pressure – and definitely no rush – to have a fully-fledged, gold star profile set up right now. Spend some familiarising yourself with the platform, to begin with, and get started when you feel ready.
5 Tips for Getting Set Up
Whether you feel ready to get started now or just want to get some guidance for when you’re ready – there’s lots to think about when you first dive in.
It might seem a little intimidating, but don’t let that stop you. Check out our following tips to help you put your best foot forward:
- A Positive Profile Picture: When you’re just getting started, you don’t necessarily need a profile photo, but as soon as you want to use your profile to connect with employers or apply for jobs, it’s a good idea to have one. Use a high-quality photo of just you (no group shots), in smart clothing, a plain background and remember to smile!
- A Catchy, Simple Headline: The headline is the first thing people will read after your name, so use it as a chance to highlight your interests and goals. If you’re planning on a career in IT, you could try ‘Geeky Gadget Lover & Aspiring IT Engineer’.
- A Smart Summary Statement: Be clear and concise and include just a paragraph or two, detailing where you’re currently at (finishing studies, your favourite topics), what you’re doing next (studies, work experience, an apprenticeship) and what you’d like to do in the future. Don’t be afraid to show a little personality!
- Chronological Work and Volunteer Experience: Don’t worry if you don’t have much to go here yet. Both are important to keep details of, this includes your job role, where you did it and how long for – it all counts! Use bullet points to note a few of your key duties and things you learned/achieved.
- Education, Grades and Academic Achievements: Again, don’t worry if you don’t have heaps to include here, but having something to show will help others get an understanding of where you’re at. Achievements can include any certificates or acknowledgements you’ve received – it can also include any fundraising or events you’ve helped to organise, whether you’ve been a peer mentor or year leader!
LinkedIn itself also has some great resources to help young people looking to get started on the platform.
One of the best tools to take a look at includes the online LinkedIn University. This is dedicated to supporting students while they apply to higher-education institutions and start their careers.
Another helpful tool for high school students is the LinkedIn Profile Checklist which covers each section of your profile and what to include.
Most of all, see LinkedIn for the fantastic resource it can be to aid your career journey and when you’re ready – dive in!