LinkedIn and Social Media

LinkedIn Made Easy

LinkedIn is a popular networking site with around 50 million students and recent graduates worldwide. Creating a LinkedIn profile as early as possible will put you in a strong position.  You can begin connecting with employers and searching for graduate jobs.

You can keep adding information to your profile as you gain experience at university. Offer examples of skills you have developed through your course. Include work experience or placements, part-time jobs, volunteering and extracurricular activities.

Through LinkedIn it is possible to:

  • Build a network of professional contacts.
  • Source career profiles for your chosen sector.
  • Research organisations that might provide graduate opportunities.
  • Connect with people you may have networked with before.

The information below will make developing your LinkedIn profile easy! Our advice will help you reach an ‘All-Star’ profile level.  You can then begin to network with prospective recruiters and employers.

What are the key differences between a CV and a LinkedIn profile?

Whilst CVs and LinkedIn profiles have a lot in common, they do work in different ways.  Avoid simply copy and pasting from one to the other without editing the content first.

Focus on your skills and experience and aim to tailor and re-write your CV for different job roles. You should only ever have one LinkedIn profile. The aim is to ensure that your LinkedIn profile complements your CV.

When writing your CV, aim to be concise and ask yourself the question “is this really necessary?” Only include details that are relevant to the position you are applying for.

However, on your LinkedIn you have the scope to add more details from a range of experience. Your LinkedIn can provide further insight into your skills and experience.

CV

LinkedIn profile

Static document.

Dynamic document.

Limited in length: usually two pages (one for certain industries or recruiters).

Other than the 2000 character limit for the summary, there is no limitation in length.

No photo.

A professional looking photo is important.

Text only document.

Can include media files, such as PowerPoint, portfolio, photos, PDFs, links, etc.

Various CVs targeting different jobs and sectors.

Only one profile (you can’t transfer connections if you open more than one account).

Targets a specific recruiter.

Allows you to be targeted by recruiters.  Connect with alumni and professionals to get ‘insider info’ on different areas of work and tap into work experience and job opportunities.

Remember, you can control who sees your CV, but anyone can view your personal profile on LinkedIn. Make sure it is up-to-date and the content is consistent with what appears on your CV.

Take a look at our Essential LinkedIn Guide to get an idea of how you can start to develop your own content.  There are also a range of resources provided by LinkedIn at: https://students.linkedin.com/uk.

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Building your LinkedIn profile

Getting started...

LinkedIn is simple enough to set-up, although it's not as easy as creating a Twitter or Instagram account. After all, you need more initially than simply a username and profile picture. 

You’ll need to add work and education information, an effective personal summary and an idea about how you want your profile to look.

 LinkedIn Login Form

To start with, just basic details are needed. Use your real name so that you can be easily found in a search. Unlike other forms of social media, it is a good idea to have a visible professional email address on your page. You can always opt for your university Gmail address (@myport.ac.uk) which you will still have access to following graduation.

Once you have set-up your profile you will be asked what you’re most interested in.  If you are not sure or would like to keep your options open choose 'not sure yet'.

LinkedIn What Are You Interested In?

What goes in the headline?

The headline is your opening statement directly below your name on your profile.

For people who are already employed in a career-related role this will likely be their job title and employer. If you are searching for work then this is your chance to state your goal.

Keep it concise, but as employers search LinkedIn using keywords, it is important to be specific here.

The profile picture

Make sure you choose a profile photo that is appropriate for the purpose. Remember, you want to make a good impression. Choose something with a plain background and good lighting.

A good quality profile photo will likely result in more views of your profile.

LinkedIn Profile Picture 

What about the summary? 

Your summary section is an opportunity to give an introduction to you.

You can offer examples of any relevant qualifications and experience. Talk about your interests and objectives and speak in first person.

This is your initial pitch to a potential employer. Aim for something like:

LinkedIn Summary Example

Outlining your experience


You need to include information about your experience gained through volunteering, part-time work, a placement or through your engagement in clubs or societies.

Make sure you identify the key skills and attributes you gained from the experience. Give plenty of examples to evidence these.

LinkedIn provides scope to add detailed information, including  achievements and highlights. Use bullet points to present your information – making the content more readable on a screen. You can also include media files, such as PowerPoint, portfolios, photos, PDFs and links.

Featured skills and endorsements

This section highlights and showcases the skills you have developed. There is also the opportunity for your connections to endorse you for these skills.

Examples may include teamwork, public speaking, communication, customer service, research and time management.  Think about the skills needed for your chosen career area. Use the job profiles from Prospects.ac.uk or job role person specifications to do some research.

Recommendations

In this section you can make and receive recommendations. You can increase your chance of getting a recommendation by providing them to your close connections.  Recommendations that you provide or receive should be professional. Base them on experience and skills from a study project, job role or volunteering position.

Accomplishments

Accomplishments may include any additional qualifications or certifications you have received. You could include language skills,  projects you have worked on, awards or prizes and exceptional test scores.

Interests

You can choose to follow a range of organisations and groups that reflect your study and career interests.  This will allow relevant content and posts to appear in your home feed. This may include news, recruitment information or articles. Aim to engage with this content by liking, sharing or commenting on posts. This will increase your visibility to others through LinkedIn.

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How to get the most out of LinkedIn

So that’s how to set-up a profile and develop your content, but how do you ensure you use the site effectively and go from "Intermediate" to "All-Star"?

LinkedIn Profile Strength 

  • Use the 'Add Media' option to evidence your work. You can attach and embed articles you’ve written, videos, presentations, photos and links.
  • Network effectively. Firstly connect with friends, peers and colleagues that you already know. Join groups that interest you and get involved in discussions. Follow pages of employers you’d like to work for and formalise brief connections that you’ve made in real life.
  • Be proactive. Join LinkedIn groups by searching for those that are relevant to your chosen career area.  Details of LinkedIn groups are often included on the websites of professional bodies. You can also look for University of Portsmouth Alumni groups and locate any regional networking groups.
  • Research people and organisations. LinkedIn is an effective research and job search tool. More and more employers are only recruiting through the platform, so spend time searching. Look for people who have followed a particular career route or who work for an organisation that interests you.
  • Create a custom URL to use on your CV.
  • Ask for recommendations.  This allows people who are familiar with your work to write a brief reference for you. It's a good idea to do some for other people to build goodwill.
  • Endorse skills on other people's pages. This will encourage them to reciprocate and increase your visibility to others.
  • Include a profile link in your email signature so people you email can click on it.
  • Keep your page updated. The more you put into LinkedIn the more you’ll get out of it. The busier you are, the more visible you’ll be and the more connections and hits you’ll be likely to get.

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Can I connect with people I’ve never met?

If you have literally no connection to someone then we don’t recommend adding them. However, what you can do is approach mutual connections that you know and ask them if they might introduce you.

Use the 'Grow your network' feature under the My Network tab to find people you may know. People in your network are identified with an icon on the profile next to the person’s name:

  • If you’re connected the icon will display whether they’re a 1st, 2nd or 3rd connection, or if you share a Group with them.
  • If you’re not connected an icon will not appear.

Remember, LinkedIn is a great way to follow-up with people you may have met briefly, in order to connect online.

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Other social networking online

In addition to LinkedIn, a large number of organisations will also have a presence on other social media. This includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Social media provides the opportunity to keep up to date with news and trends across relevant sectors. You can do so by following and connecting with professional organisations. This information might help you to identify opportunities to network and tap into the hidden job market. 

If you do not have one already, creating a profile online can be a great place to make contacts and start building a network. 

Make sure you think carefully about how you present yourself on social networking sites. Check to see what information is available about you online and make sure you are happy with what a potential employer can find. Visit TARGETjobs for advice on managing your online reputation. 

You can also get more tips and advice on using social media for your job search via our Pinterest page.

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Need more help and information?

You can get more assistance with using LinkedIn at the Careers and Employability Centre through our drop-in service. Our advisers are happy to review your profile and answer any questions you might have.

Remember, all the rules for effective networking apply to LinkedIn and any online networks. Make sure you read our top tips on how to network before you start.

LinkedIn also provide a series of quick tip sheets and videos  to help students and graduates create a profile and network effectively.

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