How and why you should be using LinkedIn

linkedin career advice

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a business orientated social networking site – “Facebook for grownups” is a commonly used description.

Who uses LinkedIn & Why?

LinkedIn launched in 2003 and in January 2013 it exceeded the 20 million member mark.  Millions of professional people use LinkedIn, from all over the world; there are over 11 million users in the UK alone. Its often used to keep in touch with their professional contacts, broaden their network, join in with discussions, debates and news about things happening in their industry or areas of interest, look for work and raise their profile and the profile of their business.

Why should a young person use LinkedIn?

Networking is an essential part of job hunting and career progression, SMART young people will be cultivating their existing network of contacts and be keen to make new contacts, LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with the people you meet professionally and expand your network (“it’s not what you know but who you know” it’s not always fair but it’s usually true).

  1. Once you have joined LinkedIn you can then join Groups, these are great places to see what people in your industry/area of interest are talking about. For example you could join the Youth Employment UK CIC group where you will find over 700 professionals discussing youth employment topics, sharing news stories and exchanging  By joining in these discussions you raise your profile and can show your expertise in the area of discussion, building up your reputation. There are over 1.3 million groups on LinkedIn so whatever area of interest you have you will be able to find a group or 10 to match.
  2. Register for Job Alerts – Hundreds of thousands of organisations are using LinkedIn to advertise their jobs, be the first in line to receive alerts tailored to your areas of interest.
  3. Follow Companies, you can follow any one of the million plus companies using LinkedIn to market their business. By following a company you can make sure that you are up to date on their latest news, product launches, development, acquisitions etc. great for that ever important research before interviews.
  4. Get Endorsed – Once you have a profile you can be endorsed by people you have worked with and worked for, this means that other professionals can see your testimonials and references, very handy when they are recruiting.

 How do I start?

Go to www.linkedin.com and follow the registration process.  You then get to complete a LinkedIn profile, it is really important to spend the time to make sure your profile is a quality one.  You don’t want potential employers reading it and then discarding you because you have not pitched yourself well or accurately.

Do – Create a good, honest, succinct profile

Don’t – Waffle, list your paper round from 15 years ago, make stuff up, it will come back to bite you

Do – Put up a good professional photo

Don’t – Put up a picture of your cat/you on a night out, it will come back to bite you

Do – Take part in debates, discussions and sharing news

Don’t – Be abusive, insensitive, unprofessional or incorrect with the things you post, it will come back to bite you

Do – Keep up to date and keep connecting with people

Don’t – Create a profile and forget about it, if you do and a recruiter looks you up they may be disappointed that you have let it become out of date , it will come back to bite you

There are hundreds of blog posts on creating a good LinkedIn Profile and making the best from LinkedIn if you are looking for employment, wanting to market your business or develop your professional reputation as an expert.  Whatever you need to use LinkedIn for be SMART and do it right, the payoff will make it all worthwhile.

where do you want to go next?

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For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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