Creating and optimising your LinkedIn profile

You’ve created a LinkedIn profile but you’re not too sure why or what to do with it? does this sound familiar? Or perhaps you have thus far ignored LinkedIn as being something for professionals not students or because, as I sometimes hear, “it’s something my parents have”

Whether you have already graduated or are a 1st year student, our advice is to take LinkedIn seriously and to spend some time on it.  

The world’s leading professional social media channel, LinkedIn has over 580 million users. It can make all the difference when it comes to finding people who can help you, knowing what’s currently important in the sectors that interest you, finding current jobs, finding out about potential employers and even being found by them.

It’s easy to create a profile on LinkedIn, you can start by adding your biographical content from your CV. Just like a CV, however, a LinkedIn profile should not be a static, one-off document. Rather, if you are a job seeker you should use it strategically to present yourself as a good fit for the kind of role that you are seeking. Start by creating a tailored headline and summary statement and add relevant tailored information throughout your profile.

Let’s start at the top. A professional LinkedIn photo and a relevant and appealing background will set the right tone. That selfie with your dog might be cute but it’s not really the tone employers are looking for! Don’t have one? We can help, come to our Careers & Internship Marketplace event on 6 February at the GUU where you can have your LinkedIn profile shot taken by a professional for free.

Next think about your headline – this is a short statement displayed at the top of your profile – often students have  “Glasgow University Student” however, this doesn’t really say much about you. Instead, tailor this e.g. if you are seeking a role in Marketing and have some relevant experience why not include this in your title, e.g. “Marketing Professional with experience in….”.

As you add content to each section of your LinkedIn profile, ask yourself the “so what?” question – in other words does your content add value to your profile? Rather than listing every course that you have studied, a summary of your degree content that contains relevant terms for the kind of roles that interest you will be easy for the reader to see at a glance and will still be picked up by the AI that recruiters use to identify profiles of potential candidates. Just like a CV, your profile should be achievement oriented and not just a list!

LinkedIn also has additional sections that are set up for people who are in the early stages of their career – you can add projects, honors & awards and volunteering – perfect to help display your achievements and bulk up your profile.

Other aspects that help with to optimise your profile include the number (and strength) of your connections, the number of recommendations and endorsements that you have and the number of (relevant) interests you list and groups that you join.

If you are just getting started with building your profile, check out the University’s LinkedIn and Graduate Attributes moodle.

When your profile is built, and you have connected to your network think about how you use LinkedIn and update regularly with content – don’t be passive! Add in recent internships and projects ask for recommendations from supervisors and project team mates, you can even add videos and pictures to your profile.

To make sure your profile gets found, remember that LinkedIn search algorithm delivers results based on keyword density. Identify key words you wish to be associated with and ensure those words appear in your:

  • headline;
  • most recent experiences;
  • summary;
  • skills section.

The LinkedIn feed allows you to interact with your connections  – add interesting and relevant content, particularly that relates to your career goal. Share (professional) news, perhaps you won a recent competition? Wrote an interesting essay? Got an internship? Also like and comment on relevant posts and articles. Adding interesting articles regularly and sharing your (professional) news will create the right impression and show your focus on the area that interest you. Keep on liking, commenting and re-posting relevant articles too.

Good luck!

More information:

University’s LinkedIn and Graduate Attributes moodle

LinkedIn advice for students

Social Networking Masterclass

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