LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second. There are over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic. (LinkedIn October 2015).
Statistica have mapped the growth from Q1 2009 to Q3 2015 (prior to the latest figures from LinkedIn being released). LinkedIn’s consistent growth speaks for itself.
Why have a LinkedIn profile?
Recruiters use LinkedIn as a CV (resume) database. For many this is superseding paid advertising of jobs. Rather than wait for potential candidates to apply, recruiters are actively seeking talent. Without a profile you clearly cannot be found. Secondly job sites are starting to ask for a link to your LinkedIn profile in the online forms and use this as the first stage of the recruitment process. Making a good impression here is as important as the traditional CV.
To search for potential candidates on LinkedIn recruiters will use the keywords that relate to the skills they are looking for. The more of these you have in your profile, the higher you will appear in the search results a recruiter is looking at. These keywords should be included in your profile summary, headline and experience. Check job descriptions to get a feel for keywords your industry is looking for.
What will make you stand out?
To engage the interest of the recruiter and ensure they go on to click on your profile it is important to have a professional looking profile photo. This means you on your own (no cut off arms of the photo taken with your partner); smart attire (holiday shorts and a drink in your hand are not recommended); a head and shoulders shot (the background may be interesting but ask yourself does it add value?).
Secondly edit your headline which appears alongside your photo. This will default to your current job. Students who have part-time jobs may not benefit from displaying this here, and can replace with the title of their degree and years of study. This will show the recruiter the anticipated date they will graduate and become available for work.
In short complete all of the recommended sections LinkedIn presents. Once this is done you will see the 100% complete appear in your profile.
What else should you include in your profile?
- Projects you have completed – what part did you play? what did you learn? what skills did you develop?
- Recommendations – from past and current bosses and peers you have worked for or with; members of your sports team or society; friends of family (where they can vouch for your work ethics)
- Awards and accomplishments – academic qualifications, extra curricular activities, voluntary work.
- Interests – an opportunity to present more about you as a person.
Key to anything you add to your profile is that it adds professional value. Finally make sure you have proof read everything you have added.
If you need further convincing take a look at this infographic from Careerglider