July 5, 2013, by NUBS Postgraduate Careers
Five myths of LinkedIn
By Beth Cooper
1. By putting my full CV on there, I increase my chances of employment
No. LinkedIn is a window on the professional you, providing a glimpse of your achievements, presenting you as a serious candidate and as a supplement to other information you may provide. Don’t use it to list everything you have ever done but use it to focus on your career ambitions. If you are looking for roles in financial services and have spent lots of time tailoring your CV to the roles to which you are applying, your LinkedIn profile should reflect the same. Highlight your relevant experience, supported by the companies you are following and the groups of which you are a member and to which you are contributing.
2. I can sit back and wait for people to come to me
Well you can, but you may well be in for a long wait. LinkedIn is a great resource with which you can be proactive. You can use it to see where alumni of your university are working to get an idea of which employers to target. You can contact these same alumni as you have something in common and they may be more willing to share their experience as they have a similar education. This is not the same as sending your CV and asking them to do make an introduction – it is about building a relationship! You can research who is doing your ideal role to see what their background is and whether you have a similar profile now, where you might need to develop or identify other areas that may be a closer fit to your skills and experience. You can also use it to identify industries where your skills might be appreciated but you have not previously considered. Just a few ideas and that’s without applying for roles directly – an increasingly popular channel for recruiters.
3. The more connections I get, the better I look
It is not a competition. Your connections need to be relevant to both you and them. Trying to connect with someone with whom you do not already have a relationship to some degree, leaves you potentially one step away from being a spammer. Think about LinkedIn the same way as you would other email contact. When you receive an email from someone you’ve not been in contact with before, for the majority of the time, your email provider automatically puts that in the spam folder, which you then delete without looking at it. However, if it is an email from a well known brand, it is more likely to get through to your inbox and the higher chance that it will be read and potentially be of interest. And whilst on the topic of connections, make sure you keep them private in your settings. Just like you wouldn’t share your list of phone numbers with a stranger, neither should you make it easy for others to access your network. A recruiter may find you as you have the profile they are looking for and you will make their day if there are open connections, which they can go through and find more people with the same or potentially better experience than you and your opportunity has gone. Make sure you stay in charge of any potential introductions you make.
4. Recommendations are a great advert for my ability
Proceed with care. They need to be from people who are worth listening too and other people will respect, just like employment references. If you are in a client facing role and your recommendations are from clients talking about the outstanding service they have received from you, that has value and will supplement the opinion of previous employers. Just like you would not give a classmate as a referee when applying for a job, neither does their opinion matter on LinkedIn.
5. Putting up a profile picture from a night out shows what a fun person I am and how I know how to enjoy myself
No. It could be seen as demonstrating that you don’t know how to separate your professional and private life. Save them for Facebook and make sure that your profile picture reflects how you wish to be seen professionally (unless your socialising skills are of particular importance).
For further guidance on making the most of LinkedIn, do make an appointment with the Business School postgraduate careers service