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Seven effective tips for getting started with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is fast becoming the number one online platform to search and apply for jobs and to be seen by potential employers. The professional networking site now hosts more than 364 million users globally, with two new members signing up every second. This makes LinkedIn a great platform to gain industry insights, and to grow your professional network.

Stand out and be different

Too many people use generic terms such as ‘Recent Graduate’ or ‘Job Seeker’ as their LinkedIn profile heading. This is the first thing people read on your profile, so be specific and stand out from the crowd with stronger keywords such as ‘Recent Swinburne grad with extensive IT experience.’

Write an interesting summary

Your summary should present you professionally and show a bit of character too. Write in first person and highlight your skills and experience, including internships and volunteer work. You should also include key words or phrases that a recruiter might use. The best place to find relevant key words is to pull from job listings that appeal to you and are aligned to the industry you want to pursue a career in.

Display a suitable photo

Remember that LinkedIn is not your Facebook or Instagram. The photo you use on LinkedIn should be a professional headshot of you alone. This doesn’t mean you have to dress in a suit, but you should leave the party photos and glamour shots to your social profiles.

Connect with friends and family

This may seem pretty obvious, but connecting with family and friends will instantly enhance your LinkedIn presence and reputation. The best networks begin with the people you know and trust, and then grow based on personal referrals, so start connecting!

Customise your connection requests

This tip is often overlooked, but it’s incredibly important. When requesting to connect with someone, always customise your request with a friendly or personal note. There’s no point in using the generic ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn’ as it lacks personality and a reason for why the person would want to connect with you.

Join groups

An easy way to build your network is to join groups, especially your university Alumni or Careers LinkedIn group. From this, you can search industry and professional association groups related to the career or industry you want to pursue.

Don’t be a stranger

To maintain your profile and keep improving your presence on LinkedIn, make sure to visit the site on a daily basis and reach out to connections, as well as comment on group discussions, share articles and keep up with other people’s updates.

LinkedIn is just the start when it comes to your online profile. Click here for more tips about social media and attracting future employers.