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Career Planning & Employability

LinkedIn: A Quick Guide

The world is on hold but your career doesn’t have to be

You’ve probably heard of Linkedin. You may even have a profile but have you really exploited the features to explore your chosen career path? Chances are you haven’t.

Linkedin is often described as ‘Facebook for professionals’ and in many ways this is correct. It is after all a social networking site but one with a certain netiquette in relation to how you use it. Let’s get straight to the point, as a recent, or soon to be graduate you need a Linkedin profile, but you also need to be actively using and exploiting the features it provides. Here are some features of the site that you should be using:

  • Ensuring your profile is rich in keywords:  Keywords = ‘Findability’

What are they? Well, they are the words that crop up frequently in job ads in the field(s) you are targeting. Do your research, look at some job adverts and/or check out the Prospects Job Profiles. These will give you a feel for the common terminology that is regularly used. Your next steps is to ensure these are coming through loud and clear in your headline, summary and skills section. Look on this as webpage optimisation – the more keywords you include, the better your chances will be of coming higher in the search results.

  • Groups

Finding it difficult to get an inside view of the job or industry you are targeting? Want a quick way to grow your network? You need to be joining some groups. What are they? Groups are basically forums where professionals in an industry or profession can air opinion, keep up with news and innovations, ask questions and engage in debate. They are also great for getting an insight into the job/industry. Want to know the best strategies for getting in and getting on in your chosen job – use the group and ask the question. Want to know how you can access work experience opportunities? Join a group. Want to know how the recruitment process works? You get the idea

  • Connect with Alumni

If the word ‘networking’ conjures up visions of awkward conversations over drinks and curled up sandwiches, or stilted conversations at a careers fair then growing your contacts through Linkedin might just be the thing for you. The easiest way to get started is by reaching out to people you know, i.e. family friends and course-mates etc but as a Salford graduate, you will automatically be part of a greater network, your alumni.

Search ‘University of Salford’ from your profile page and the first result will be a general university page. Look to the left and you will see a link to ‘Alumni’, click on this and you will be taken to pages which contain a rich information resource. You will be able to find out where alumni are now working, who they are working for and what their current role is and more. Want to know what people from your course are doing? Just search for the course. Want to start growing your network? Make a contact request and take it from there.

Of course, you may be a bit cynical about how Linkedin can work for you and I don’t blame you but research does show that the opportunities that arise are usually the result of contacts you are not closely associated with – take a look at this YouTube video of Stanford University Professor Dr Mark Granovetter talk about his research in this area. It is the ‘Power of Weak Ties’ that can often open the doors to career success.

Written by Andy Kay

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