You’re probably already a regular user of social media. Think Snapchat, TicTok, Facebook and Instagram – just to name a few. But did you know there’s a social media platform that could help with your career? Where you can connect with people who are working in an industry you’re keen to break into? You might want to check out LinkedIn (pronounced ‘Linked-In’). LinkedIn has over 750 million users around the world. Better still, it connects professionals across all sorts of industries.
First off, you’ll need a profile
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online Resume or CV (they mean the same thing btw) that’s out there promoting YOU 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By creating a LinkedIn profile you’ll let people know what your skills, experiences and interests are. You’ll also be able to search LinkedIn to find out who’s out there; what they do in their job and start conversations that could help you find the job you’re chasing.
Also, in a smaller state like Tassie, it’s as much about “who you know” as what you know. So, if you’re ready to put yourself out there in professional ‘career world’ then think about creating your very own LinkedIn profile. It’s a brilliant way to get seriously connected.
How LinkedIn can help you find a job
- Hiring managers (an employee at a company who recruits new staff) use LinkedIn to find new employees
- Recruitment agencies (some companies employ them to act on their behalf to match people to job opportunities) use LinkedIn to find you when searching for new candidates
- You can build a strong network of professional contacts
- You can state what kind of job you’re looking for
- You can ask people you know to write a personal recommendation
- You can connect with family, friends and others to start finding out where the work is
- You can write a summary and list your skills and interests. This way, people can see whether you might be a good fit for their workplace
- People can confirm you have certain skills (i.e. Kate works part-time at our busy café in Salamanca. She is excellent with customers and is always on time and well-dressed).
- You can program LinkedIn to send you job alerts
- Prepare for interviews by conducting your own research into a company and key staff
- A LinkedIn profile shows that you’re keen to build your career
Tips for creating your LinkedIn profile
Edit the intro section
The first step is to edit the Intro section. This allows for people to get a snapshot of who you are. Here you can:
Choose a photo that shows a positive side of you
A LinkedIn profile means you’re on show with potential employers and work colleagues. So, you’ll need a level of professionalism in your photo (so please, no shots of you at a party or on the beach, OK?). Instead, wear something you would choose for your dream job interview. Often it’s a good idea to get someone to help you and take lots of photos – then pick one you both agree on together.
Write a headline that grabs people’s attention
A good headline cuts to the chase. It explains who you are, and what it is you’re wanting. You could write something like “Student seeking part time work” or “Student looking for a mechanic apprenticeship” or “Student interested in psychology”. Try and steer clear of headlines like “I’m just what your business needs” or “I want to earn lots of money” (you get the idea, I’m sure).
About Section – write a summary
The About section is where you write a summary of yourself. It can be up to 2,000 characters long, which is about 200 – 400 words. To introduce yourself:
- Describe what you’re doing now such as the subjects you’re interested in, and any awards you might have won.
- Describe what you’re skilled at. Include technical skills (i.e. competent with Microsoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint, Photoshop). Maybe you’re a good communicator. Or you have great writing skills. Maybe you’re good at caring for others. Or you like doing volunteer work in the community. Whatever it is that makes YOU special, write it down in your summary.
- List your activities outside of school and what you like to do in your spare time.
- You might even include a brief description of where you see yourself in the future – it shows you have goals and motivation.
Skills Section – listing skills
You’d be surprised how many personal and technical skills you’ve developed already. So, make sure you add them here. For instance, your personal skills could include: teamwork, communication, problem solving, leadership, creativity, adaptability and so on. You might be a whizz at Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc) . Or you might be all over digital media. These types of skills are in big demand in the workplace.
To figure out what your skills and interests are, visit our ‘Discover Interests and Skills’ page to explore activities to help you out.
Experience Section – create and upload your Resume
How are you going with putting together your LinkedIn profile? All that’s left is to create your CV/ resume. We’ve put together a handy little article How to write a stand-out resume for tips on how to write a killer resume/CV. Once you have this completed you can add the details to your LinkedIn profile
Recommendations – instant credibility
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll gain a lot of instant cred on LinkedIn by having someone who’s prepared to vouch for your skills and personality. So, don’t be shy to reach out for a personal recommendation from people you know – if they’re connected to people in your preferred industries even better! Click the ‘ask for a recommendation’ button to get the ball rolling.
Start talking with your connections
If you’re really feeling brave and you’re happy with your profile, you might start looking for people who might have an opportunity. Or even better, a job. Volunteering your time is a great way to gain experience. In fact, some businesses have programs set up just for this purpose. You never know if you don’t try! How to start a conversation:
“Hi, my name is Carly, I’m a Year 9 Student and I’m looking to gain experience in your industry. If you have the time, I’d love some advice on how to get my foot in the door. I’m also keen if you know of any work experience opportunities in your industry”
“Hi Stuart, my name is Josh. I’m in Year 11 at Launceston College and my aim when I finish school is to pursue a career in your industry. I notice on your website that your company offers training opportunities to school leavers and I’d be very interested in this. Or gaining valuable work experience whenever it may be available.
Visit LinkedIn and start creating your profile now. Have a chat to your Career Advisor or a Teacher at school who might be able to help you put your profile together.