Networking isn’t just for high brow CEOs and big wigs. You can benefit from a hearty dose of professional networking right from the comfort of your computer (no handshakes required). Settle your qualms, cause we’re here to bust your reservations about joining LinkedIn – you might be surprised about how much you can benefit!
Q: I’m still in uni/high school and don’t need a job yet. Why should I be on LinkedIn?
A: The best time to build your network is when you don’t quite need it yet. Ensuring you have all the boring basics down pat (work history, education, skills and a professional-looking photo) can take much more time than you think.
The most important first step is having a great profile photo. If you’re not willing to pay for professional photos on a student budget (fair enough), set aside a day for a friend to take some simple, well-lit photos. Outside, on a cloudy day surprisingly works best as the lighting is not too sharp.
Pro-tip: People without a photo on their profile are seven times less likely to be viewed. Ouch.
It’ll take some time for you to build your network of connections, and university is such a good place to start! Be sure to add any group-work members or friends from uni – more connections means you’ll be prioritised in search rankings from recruiters looking to hire you later on.
Q: I’m becoming an *insert super specific STEM position here*. There are no/very few jobs for me in their listings – why should I be on LinkedIn?
A: LinkedIn works like an online business card. Even if you’re not directly applying for jobs in their listings, recruiters will sometimes search up your profile for more information.
Having a really well-curated LinkedIn profile, with lots of connections and endorsed skills could make you stand out from those chumps that don’t have any profile at all.
You never know what might come along in the future. Imagine your dream job cropping up and you have no profile to speak of. Bummer!
Pro-tip: Endorsed skills are like having people stand behind you shouting, “they’re great, hire them!” If you’ve received accolades at work or school for a certain skill, ask your colleagues or teachers to endorse you on LinkedIn. This looks particularly great from someone who is endorsed in that skill many times over. A little “endorsed by… who is highly skilled at this” will show up after their recommendation.
Q: I’m on LinkedIn, now what? How do I get the most out of this?
A: Be sure to make your profile an “All-star” by filling out all available information fields; skills, employment, education, summary etc.
Join groups specific to your career field, like Registered Nurse Network or Data Science Central to name a few. You’ll be connected with people in the field and be subject to discussions or new jobs that crop up.
Going above and beyond the basics also demonstrates to the recruiter who you are as a person. Show a little personality – share some articles that you think are relevant, follow some companies or people you admire. But above all, keep it professional.
– Eliza Brockwell
GIFs via Giphy
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.