Final year English & Philosophy student Annie Moss just completed a placement year with the global recruitment consultancy, Hays. Here she shares her tips for fellow students and graduates on why taking care of your LinkedIn profile can really pay off.
Would you arrive at an interview late, with a scruffy attire, and little to no preparation?
No, of course not, and I’m not about to bless you with words of wisdom regarding interview techniques like some employment guru. I do, however, have some insight and a few tips as to how we can make that killer first impression.
I’m not talking about interviews, or even our CVs. I’m referring to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn, yeah-yeah, most undergrads think it’s not really relevant to us and I can empathise with that. However, after successfully completing an industrial placement year at Hays Specialist Recruitment, I got first-hand experience as to how companies actually use LinkedIn and why it really does matter to ensure that we keep it polished and updated.
LinkedIn is our first impression to an employer…
Let’s start with the basics, some of us won’t even have LinkedIn and that can be just as detrimental as not having a CV. More and more employers use LinkedIn now to actively seek out new talent, and that includes undergraduates as well as graduates.
I know because I was that employer. For 12 months working as a recruiter for Hays, I used LinkedIn every week to find new candidates for our roles. This included searching for new undergraduates and graduates for roles both within my recruiting specialism and within Hays.
A hell of a lot of companies now, including Hays, are partnered with LinkedIn. For many of them, this will be the first tool they use to recruit. So, lesson one is if you don’t have LinkedIn, get LinkedIn.
Keep it Professional…
Sounds obvious I know, but LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. As an ex-recruiter, I know that a lot of people use their Facebook profile picture as their Linkedin profile picture. Seriously, do not do this. We want our prospective employers to see us in the context of a relevant professional environment. Again, first impressions count.
Not having a picture is even worse, and yet a lot of people don’t have one. Cutting corners on your LinkedIn profile is the same as cutting corners on your CV. Set aside an hour with a cup of tea and several packets of biscuits to make it look good. If it’s the difference between getting a job and not, then it’s definitely worth doing.
Also, remember to keep your headline relevant and focused on what sort of career you’re considering.
Make it Relevant…
There’s no point uploading a picture of you in dungarees and a hard hat if you’re looking to gain work in a corporate sales environment, the same is true of the reverse. When I was at Hays, those of us who were recruiting business employees (for example) would upload of photo of us in a full suit whereas those recruiting for construction workers wore smart casual attire. Dress according to your professional interests.
Buzzzzzzz. Think buzz words. If you’re interested in corporate sales roles, litter your profile with buzz words like: targets, KPIs, sales, business development, cold-calling, financial forecasting etc. Recruiters will search for prospective employees by searching buzz words such as these. The more buzz words in our profiles, the more likely we are to be seen.
Don’t overload it with paragraphs of information because it won’t get read. Use short concise sentences or bullet points where you think appropriate focusing on your skills and the roles you are considering.
No thanks, I’ll just stick to using a CV…
Woah there Nelly, remember that an increasing number of employers and recruiters regard LinkedIn as an initial CV now, and it’s a good idea to think of it as such. Some employers even presume from the offset that you already have a LinkedIn account and use it regularly.
This is why once you’ve completed your profile, you need to check, check, and check again. Like with a CV or coursework, make sure you proof read it for typos and such. Even better, ask you careers adviser to check for you as they will certainly have more input than your peers.
Not having a LinkedIn profile, or a shoddy one at that, could be just as harmful as turning up to an interview late, with a scruffy attire, and little to no preparation.
Getting a job these days is testing as we all know. Getting a grad job is even more challenging. Get ahead of the game by setting up your LinkedIn account now, it could land you your next job.