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July 20, 2021, by indybamra1

LinkedIn Advice

By, Aashna Khan, Second-year MSci Biotechnology

As a second-year student, a key part of my efforts to improve my employment prospects is to build my professional network through LinkedIn. While this was daunting at first, I’ve found the following steps have been beneficial and I now actually enjoy reaching out to and meeting new people.

How I approach professionals to expand my network

Having a regular step-by-step process to follow has not only helped me make some great connections but also removed a lot of the worry and stress. The process I generally follow is:

  1. Start by doing further reading into new and relevant research in a field of interest
  2. Study a paper and design some well-researched questions to ask the author
  3. Contact the paper’s author by sending a personalised LinkedIn invite message, highlighting that I’ve read their paper and would like to talk to them more about it. While not everyone responds, I am often able to either talk to them over LinkedIn messaging or arrange an online meeting with that person.
  4. At the end of the conversation, I ask if they have any advice for new graduates who want to get into this type of work. I’ve found this an invaluable way to gain great insights that I wouldn’t have been able to elsewhere and has helped me with knowing how to find good opportunities.
  5. Thank the person for their time and, if appropriate, keep them updated with the progress you make and how beneficial it’s been putting their advice into practice. Often, I also add “Be sure to let me know if I can ever help at all given how much you’ve helped me.” I think this leaves a good impression.

In addition, joining groups on LinkedIn is also useful to grow your network with like-minded people who have similar goals. I’ve met some great people through doing this and had some great conversations which have helped with achieving my career goals.

Updating my profile

While it is important to keep your profile up to date, as my main focus is doing well in my academic studies, I usually aim to update my profile once every six months to keep on top of it, and as there isn’t always a lot to change. Having said that, if after a semi-annual profile review you realise that there is nothing to change, this may be a prompt to do something you can add to your profile such as a relevant online course.

Building credibility

Being active on LinkedIn is a great way to establish your credibility in front of new people. Two main ways to do this are through writing your original content in the form of status updates and articles and engaging with others people’s content. I believe that you should only write original articles if you have a unique perspective to offer on a topic, and it’s often easier to leave an insightful comment on someone else’s post that shares my personal experience, thoughts, or insight – most people don’t leave meaningful comments, so taking the time to do this can really pique someone’s attention.

In addition, I’ve also found it helpful to ask relevant people if they could write a testimonial for my LinkedIn profile. This is like having a short reference that people who are looking at your page can read.

Final thoughts

As a student, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about using LinkedIn, and admittedly it did seem a bit daunting before I got started. However, after taking my first few actions and having positive results, I’ve started to see the benefits of investing the time to use the platform regularly – and would encourage anyone who’s serious about their career to do the same.

Building a strong LinkedIn profile is key. We show you how to help you in your career. You can book a one-to-one appointment to discuss your LinkedIn profile or how to build one.

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers Advice