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October 16, 2020, by Leah Sharpe

Getting Started on LinkedIn

By Christian Jameson-Warren, Employability Education Projects Officer

You may have heard people talk about the importance of networking to find a job, or that you should be on LinkedIn to find a job. However, trying to do this can seem intimidating. 

Where do I start?

A good place to start is to be clear on why you want to use LinkedIn, such as; meeting people in your chosen industry for careers help, finding out more about working in a sector, trying to get work experience, and so on. Once you know what you want to do, it is easier to make plans and take actions to achieve this.  

Your first step is to follow the prompts to set up a profile. Once you’ve done this, start with small actions to achieve your goal, such as sending connection invites to people you know or joining alumni groups. Try to be focused so you don’t have to spend time scrolling through your newsfeed.

What do I add to my profile?

At this stage in your career, it’s okay to not have lots of things to put on your LinkedIn profile. In fact, you may be surprised about how much you’ve done that can be added. This could include: 

  • degree modules, projects 
  • societies and extracurricular activities 
  • part-time work 
  • voluntary work 

How do I stand out?

Your profile doesn’t have to look perfect as long as you include key information such as a profile photo, work history and education. Try and make your information relevant to your career goals. 

Be authentic. Don’t worry about trying to curate a professional, high-performing and ultra-successful personaBeing yourself and keeping all your communication professional is perfectly good enough.  

What if people don’t like my photo?

Don’t worry if you can’t take a professional standard photo. Focus on having something ‘standard’ rather than perfect. The main thing is that you put a photo on. As long as you’re not doing anything outlandish then people generally won’t dislike your photo. If you are taking a new profile photo, focus on finding a well-lit location to ensure it is clear.

Will people judge me on my profile?

As long as you don’t make exaggerated claims or over-promote yourself, it’s extremely unlikely that people will negatively judge your LinkedIn profile. People want to keep a positive online presence, so unlike other online platforms you’re less likely to genegative comments.

What if I’m not as good as other people on there?

You’re at the start of your career, and people know that. Besides, a lot of people on LinkedIn (like all social media) only focus on a positive side of their work when posting and edit this accordingly so that it gives a good impression. The boring, mundane things that people do in their jobs will never get mentioned on LinkedIn, only the things that will make people look good. To paraphrase a saying, don’t compare your whole story to other people’s edited highlights.  

How much time should I be spending on LinkedIn?

This is entirely personal, but you can get a lot out of LinkedIn without having to get involved in every single function on there. Be very clear about who you want to connect with, follow and engage with. Regular 10-15 minute ‘bursts’ commenting on other people’s posts or reaching out to new people can be more productive then spending hours.

Visit our website for more advice including a video on how to make LinkedIn work for you and instructional videos to develop an effective professional headline and personal summary.

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers Advice