25 March 2022
Everyone tells you to get online but not necessarily what it can do to inspire and motivate your career. LinkedIn is part of Katie Johnson’s daily routine and here she shares some top tips for using it successfully and easily…
So, you have created a LinkedIn profile, great job! Now what? Firstly, you will want to make sure the profile you have created is effective and represents you in the best possible way. An easy way to do this is to view the LinkedIn profiles of inspirational influencers, what does their profile have that yours lacks? What makes their LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd? What are they posting?
How do you find these inspirational profiles? Search for the LinkedIn pages of Companies you’d love to join using LinkedIn’s main search bar. Click on the People button on the company page to see who works there and check out their LinkedIn profiles. Alternatively, you can search for People in the main search bar. Search names or job titles that inspire you, for example ‘Graphic Designer’.
Once you are happy with your profile, what should you do next? Start building your network by sending connection requests to people that you know. These might include your personal development tutor, lecturers, colleagues from your part-time job, family members, people from your sports club, old school friends, housemates, and other students on your course.
Always include a polite message when you send a request to connect. This might be less formal for a close friend or family member, but for everyone else make sure your message is pleasant but professional. Always include the recipient’s name and a greeting. Remind the recipient how you know each other. Ask them to please connect and sign off with your name. For example:
I hope you are well. I was in the seminar you delivered last week as a guest speaker at ARU, and I found your presentation inspirational and very helpful. I’d be grateful if you would please connect with me. Thank you so much for visiting our university and sharing your knowledge.
Think of LinkedIn as your personal store of professional contacts. As you move from one life stage to the next, completing your studies and moving into graduate work, make sure you are always connecting with people you meet and interact with along the way. This process takes time, but gradually you’ll see your network growing. You are welcome to connect with me linkedin.com/in/katiehsjohnson if you are not already!
You’ll notice people’s LinkedIn profiles are ranked 1st, 2nd or 3rd+. This doesn’t mean they are medal winners! Instead, they are being ranked on how closely they are connected to you. 1st connections are people you’re directly connected to because you have accepted their invitation to connect, or they have accepted your invitation. You can direct message them.
2nd connections are people connected to your 1st connections, i.e., you have a contact in common. Likewise, 3rd connections are people who are connected to your 2nd connections. Sometimes you might come across a profile which is ‘Out of Network’ meaning you have no connections in common at all. Gradually as your network of 1st connections increases, so will your 2nd and 3rd+ connections.
What is the point? The answer lies in visibility and influence, which bring all kinds of opportunities. These might include access to jobs, useful contacts, networking events or the latest industry news and updates.
You can also search for Groups to join using the main search bar on LinkedIn. Groups might include professional bodies or areas of interest for example “Anglia Ruskin University Alumni”. Join some groups relevant to your interests, the group posts will appear in your feed. You’ll often see hot industry topics and opportunities being discussed – why not get involved in the conversation?
You’ll want to make sure that you are posting to LinkedIn regularly, set yourself a goal or a reminder to post at least once per week. This can be daunting at first, so try resharing posts that interest you and adding your own comments to content. You can also post about your continuing professional development: work experience, online courses you’ve completed, volunteering work or a new job.
If you are struggling to know what to post, look at what your connections are posting, or what other individuals post in groups. When posting, remember that LinkedIn is different to other social channels because it is a professional platform, always ensure the content you post remains professional and appropriate for your audience. No cheeky selfies from your latest night out!
If you are finding navigating around LinkedIn tough, make sure you book onto one of our popular LinkedIn Masterclass sessions. You can also contact your Faculty Employability & Careers Adviser through email@example.com to request a profile review.
Katie Johnson, Employability & Careers Adviser
Our Employability Service works with students throughout their time at ARU and after they graduate. The Service offers careers advice, online resources, and help with job searches, applications and interview preparation. Our Employability & Careers Advisers may mention some of these resources and services in their blogs, to give you an idea of the careers support that's on offer at ARU. Some of these resources sit behind a log in and can only be accessed by current students.