According to Business Insider, only 30 per cent of job advertisements are found on job boards and employment websites, meaning word-of-mouth and personal connections are very important when looking for jobs.
It is crucial to start building your network and forging relationships with industry professionals as early as possible – ideally when you are still studying, and an excellent way to do this is to have a LinkedIn profile.
In this blog, StudyPerth Marketing Intern Justin Nguyen will guide you through the basic steps when creating your LinkedIn profile; from choosing your photo and writing a standout headline and summary, to what to add in the experience and skills sections.
Selecting your photo
A LinkedIn profile with a photo is 11 times more likely to be viewed by others, so the easiest way to get someone to view your profile is by including a professional photo.
When taking a photo, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Dress to impress. Wear business attire or clothes that suit your chosen industry when you take the photo, as it will dramatically boost your professionalism and credibility. For business professionals, clothing could include smart shirts and blouses, suits or dresses. For more creative industries, the clothing could include slightly more casual attire.
- Have good lighting. Lighting is critical. Make sure the photography location has enough light (either natural or artificial) and your photo will look much better.
- Don’t use filters and frames. Keep it natural. You don’t want people to be shocked by how different you are in the photo compared to in real life.
- Take a high quality photo. Use a technical camera to take the image (if you can) or use a phone that can take high quality photos. What’s worse than having no photo at all is having a low-quality, blurry photo.
- Update your image often. Your appearance can change a lot throughout your career so keep your photo as current as possible.
The headline is the section under your name that gives people an overall idea of what you do. You have 120 characters to show potential employers information such as the company you're working at, your job title and keywords that relate to your chosen industry. You can also use this section to show a bit of your personality. We're all human so let them know you're also a human too. It helps you stand out from others who have similar headline.
This is your ‘elevator pitch’ where you demonstrate what you can bring to the table (skills, experience, knowledge). You have 2,000 characters for this section so use it wisely. The goal here is to have a concise and compelling summary. Here are some tips for writing your summary:
- Write in the first person. Using 'I', 'me', 'my' will make it more personal and help connect with your audience better. We recommend against starting with phrases like, “competent, enthusiastic and passionate individual with excellent communication skills” as it can sound a bit robotic.
- Break it up. People don't like to read a big block of texts; they'll skip through them and you miss an opportunity to impress people. Write in small paragraphs and space them out.
- Include keywords. Recruiters use keywords to search for potential candidates on LinkedIn. Research your industry, find out the keywords they use and include them in your summary. Your profile will be more likely to pop up on the search result.
- Proofread your writing. Use a grammar checking tool like Grammarly to correct typos, grammar and spelling errors. Another tool to check the readability of your writing is Hemingway Editor, which points out long sentences that are hard to read. And have someone who's competent in English to read your summary and ask them for feedback.
'What can I put in this section? I'm still a student'. You might not have years of professional experience under your belt, but that's okay. Recruiters know that. Here are some ideas to help you fill out that section:
- Internships (both paid and unpaid)
- Part-time or casual jobs
- Freelance or entrepreneurial work
- Volunteer work - only include if it's highly relevant to the role you're applying for
This section is quite straightforward. Things you could include:
- Activities: what activities you participate in uni? are you involved in any uni groups or clubs? Do you participate in uni election?
- Weighted Average Mean (WAM)
- Completed units
Check out the volunteering page on the StudyPerth website on how to get started with volunteering.
This is like a skill audit - make a list of both hard skills (skills related to your discipline) and soft skills (communication, teamwork, problem solving) you have. This should represent the skills you have gained from your studies or jobs. And you can get more credibility by having other users to endorse your skills on LinkedIn.
In this section, you can showcase your achievements, including awards, certificates, language proficiencies, test scores, organisations you are a member of or support, courses, and publications you have been published in.
Phew! That’s a lot to take in. Give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve made this far. You now know how to craft an awesome LinkedIn profile that’s ready to impress your contacts.
To further upskill your LinkedIn game, LinkedIn has a huge library of resources for you to check out. Find out more here.