Ah, LinkedIn. The perennial breeding ground for high school frenemy stalking and embarrassingly admitting you once won an Employee Of The Month award (hey, if there were ever a place to humblebrag, this has gotta be it, right?)
But how does it even work? And what do you even include? And why can’t I get a job?
Don’t worry friend, we get it. The struggle is all too real.
So, in an effort to better ourselves and think outside the box, we consulted someone in recruiting for some helpful hints on what you should be doing when it comes to your LinkedIn profile. Pro tip: it’s a whole lot less daunting than you think!
First things first, uh, you might want to sign up?
Sure you’re probably sitting there thinking, ‘ugh LinkedIn is for old farts who work in swanky skyscrapers and talk about negative gearing and battling IBS.’ While that’s probably true, it’s also becoming a pretty great social media tool to have on hand when it comes time to network.
As Executive General Manager of HR, Risk & Safety at Myer, Louise Tebbut, puts it: “these days almost everyone has a social media presence for their personal and professional lives.” This means it’s important that you’re showing your future bosses what you have to offer on every platform.
Also, it might be time you took down that #neknominate video of you chugging three Heinekens in a row? Bosses have been known to deep-dive Google you these days… so you’ve been warned.
Remember, as much as it might seem like you’re endlessly scouring SEEK and getting nothing in return, there are recruiters out there that’ll approach you! So there’s nothing better than having a neat and succinct online resume on hand to show them right before they offer you your dream job.
Which brings us to...
Make sure you keep it simple
Working in HR for Myer means Louise fishes through about a hundred applications from budding fashionistas on a daily basis. For her, having a simple and relevant LinkedIn profile is mightily important:
“We’re looking for an up-to-date profile that succinctly portrays your relevant experience.”
At Myer, Louise says they make initial assessments about candidates based on what information they have provided, either on a resume or on websites such as LinkedIn.
Your boss doesn’t need to know about your very first job at Boost Juice. It’s wasted space and unneccesary.
And don’t stress if your Experience section looks a little scarce. It’s better than hanging onto past positions that aren’t relevant to your future career path.
Oh and list your skills
Just so you know, people who list Skills on their LinkedIn profile receive 13 times more profile views that those who don’t.
Additional info is good, but don’t go overboard
Nobody wants to read advantageous paragraphs listing every single thing you’ve done in minute detail. Stick to your key achievements and what skills you’ve picked up in the role.
Also, once you’ve filled out your Experience, don’t disregard those other sections like Interests or Languages.
“Listing additional interests can be beneficial,” says Louise, “but keep things simple and relevant to the position and/or industry you wish to work in. An interest in fashion or design may be useful if applying with a retailer or clothing manufacturer, and language skills can be useful for multinational companies.”
That being said, don’t just say it, display it too. While this might be industry specific, if there’s something online that you can link to, do it! Showing off is all part of the game.
Work experience and unpaid internships are just as important as the real thing
As Louise puts it: “we look at a candidate’s relevant industry experience which can be gained in a variety of ways, including through work experience, internships or paid employment.”
Include it, baby! It’s all good!
Use the order function to your advantage
Got a lot of recommendations from old colleagues/friends/your mum? Pop the Skills & Endorsements section near the top of your profile. Didn’t end up completing that Honours degree? No worries, just pop it down the end.
And most importantly: stick that Additional Info bit right near the top. You want people to be able to get in contact with you, so lead them directly to your email address or website, if you’ve got one.
Actually, you might just want to pop that it in your Summary too. What the hell.
Don’t be afraid to get involved in the conversation
LinkedIn has no time for shyness, which means the whole ‘putting yourself out there’ thing also lends itself to you actively contacting and connecting with others too. It is a networking site after all, so don’t feel shy about connecting with people you’ve only met in passing conversation, or even people you admire. Any way to get your name on their radar is a step in the right direction.
Louise even suggests getting involved in the forums and discussion groups on LinkedIn.
“Participating in these forums and reading posted articles is a great research tool [if] you’re offered an interview,” she says.
Be sure to follow prospective employers pages as they’re loaded up with company information and industry relevant facts. (NB: always do a bunch of research into a prospective company before your job interview as they’ll more than likely rope you into a discussion about the industry and its competitors. It’s always a good idea to know what’s going on!)
Also, a lot of jobs are advertised solely on LinkedIn, so it’s a great way to jump in on the action before the rest of the unemployed slackers do.
The main thing? Stay positive and keep going
Louise reckons “a positive attitude and a keen desire to learn can often be the attributes that will place one candidate ahead of another.”
While keeping positive and being honest with what you can offer may sound like pretty simple advice (or a bunch of repetitive rhetoric you’ve heard a hundred times from friends as you slip into your sixth month of unemployment), know that a simple shake-up of your regular routine might be beneficial on your quest to master LinkedIn and your next career.
Case in point: do you know what LinkedIn’s most overused (and underwhelming) buzzwords are? Apparently a whole lot of people are “motivated”, “passionate” and “creative”. Sound like you? It might be time to crack out the thesaurus, you guys.
But don’t worry, believe me when I say, you’ll get there. Just keep plugging along (and rejigging your LinkedIn). 414 billion users worldwide can’t be wrong, right? …Right?
Illustration by Twyalamae who also made this George Catstanza tote.