Finding job hunting particularly challenging right now? We feel you. But while there’s a lot of uncertainty in the labour market, it’s also a great time to be building your personal brand – and one fantastic tool for doing this is LinkedIn.
I’ll be honest, for a long time I was confused by LinkedIn; I was never really sure why it was important, how to use it, or whether it was okay to connect with people I wouldn’t ‘friend’ on Facebook. But now, four years after graduating, I’m suitably hooked. LinkedIn has been invaluable while planning each step in my career so far – and here’s why:
1. You can develop a professional online profile to complement your CV and build your professional brand
So many employers now offer the option of including a link to your LinkedIn profile in application forms. Others have an integrated ‘upload’ feature where software can pull your LinkedIn profile straight into the employer’s application form – saving you some of the time you might otherwise spend copy and pasting from your CV. So, on the technical side, having a LinkedIn profile is really useful. But in terms of boosting your professional profile, how can it help?
Well, much like you might use Instagram to present a certain side of yourself, LinkedIn is the perfect way to showcase your professional persona. You can showcase your work experience, list your certifications, and even share some of your work to your profile. The more you post, the more visible you’ll be, and this can be great for getting noticed in your sector.
2. You can connect with alumni around the world for insight and guidance
Want to hear it from recent alumni? LinkedIn is a great way to check out people’s alma mater and connect with other LSE alumni. Whether that’s just to keep in touch by following each other’s posts, or by asking questions, you can get insight into joining the workspace as an LSE grad, and that can help you plan your next steps.
3. You can build contacts with people working in your chosen sector
Not only will connecting with people in your sector help you see employment opportunities, it will also open your feed to posts and resources that might help you ignite your career. These connections could be former colleagues, thought leaders, or people at companies you’d love to work for. LinkedIn is also a great way to find a mentor who can help support you on your career journey and give you tips along the way.
4. You can search for organisations by industry sector or location
One of the great things about LinkedIn is that not only can you search, you can also follow tags specific to your industry, and even specific organisations. This means you can see when they post about different opportunities, or when there’s a trending article in your sector. It’s a great way to stay up to date with the world and to be able to talk about the current state of your industry in job interviews.
5. You can research jobs, roles and different career paths
One of the most popular features on LinkedIn is the ‘search jobs’ function, which includes a ‘recommended jobs’ section. The more you search, the more targeted your ‘recommended jobs’ list will become, meaning the more chance you have of happening across a great opportunity you might not have previously considered. You can also search for jobs around the world associated with specific keywords.
If you’re not quite sure about your next step, have a think about what you’d really like to do and view the profiles of some people in that role – this will give you an idea of the experience your goal job might require, and then you can start gaining skills or searching for jobs based on this.