LinkedIn 101 – My experience getting started…

Our latest post is the second from our Intern, Eliška Dlabolová, who has just completed her placement year with us in Careers and will be finishing her LLB Law with Business and Management degree next year. Here she talks us through her experience bringing her LinkedIn profile up to scratch, with tips for anyone attempting to do the same…

About two years ago I made a profile on LinkedIn, then successfully forgot about it until recently. Things changed during my placement position in Career and Employability Services as everyone around me was talking about it, and I couldn’t ignore LinkedIn so easily. So, I finally decided to bite the bullet and log back in. And then update, update, update.

The first most obvious gap in my profile was the overall lack of information. Yes, I had my profile photo and some general information, but that was about it.

I would like to start this from the basics, so first thing first: profile picture. The criteria I had when I was choosing my photo were simple; just look as employable and responsible as possible. The only photo of that sort I had was a passport photo, which I would prefer to stay hidden, so I took a quick selfie against a white wall in the sort-of passport style, I just put a blazer on and tried to look presentable.

TIP #1: Think carefully about the profile photo you choose. Don’t forget, this is your professional profile so you don’t necessarily want to use a random Snapchat selfie, instead pick a clean and smart looking picture. Make sure you are the only person on the photo too.

Then was time to start updating my profile (for the first time since the creation.)

The first and basic step to take, just after you fill in your name, is your Intro and About sections. That means your current position (student, intern, etc.), your location, your education and then a short summary of yourself (I still need to write my summary by the way). You can also add any licences and certifications, or even accomplishments, both academic and professional.

First, I updated my current position. I am just finishing my placement year, so there was a bit of confusion, because apparently LinkedIn makes it into some sort of post and notifies your ‘friends’, so when people started to say “Congratulations!” for a job I started in September, it was kind of strange (but also nice to be appreciated for a year-old achievement!)

TIP #2:  Remember, before you start connecting with people left and right, update your profile as much as possible. This is not Facebook, you have one shot at connecting with people that can be your potential professional contacts, employers, or others who you find interesting or inspiring.

Then I updated my skills section, as it was the basics to build on. These are literally the skills you have, or you think you have. So I started with the essentials like communication, problem solving, time management, plus some basic IT skills and then some extras too. You can add dozens of skills, but I would personally stay at around 15, to show that you are diverse but not just mindlessly adding random skills for the sake of it.

I realised that now when I have a full time job, I can also asked my colleagues to endorse my skills and write me some recommendations. (Do that, it makes you look more legit.)

TIP #3:  Don’t lie. This is not Instagram, do not make yourself seem like something you are not, because when you post a certain skill here and then get offered a position based on your fake knowledge or skill, you are in trouble.

After that I moved onto my volunteering experience (in my case some summer camps and such), languages I can speak, part-time jobs I had in the past and more.

The next section to update is Interests, so you can follow people, organisations and themes that interest you and people can connect with you and find you interesting on more human level as well.

Now I was ready to post my first status update – I shared a blogpost I wrote in the past for the Careers blog.

TIP #4: This should go without saying, but: NO TYPOS! (Please DO check your grammar before you post something, even more if it is in your profile section.)

And then the last, final, big step: connections. Find people you know, people with similar interests, people that inspire you and send them an invitation to connect. You can also personalise the invitation and add a small message, so if you want to impress someone, do that.

And off you go – network!

Thanks Eliška! You can check out Eliška’s profile and LinkIn with her here, and find more of our hints and tips on developing yours on our website.