Whether you’re a student, potential apprentice or looking for an internship, having a LinkedIn profile can help you build a professional network.
Here are our top tips for creating a stand-out LinkedIn profile and why this might help give you an advantage when applying for jobs, apprenticeships, or internships.
What are the advantages of using LinkedIn?
How can you use LinkedIn to your advantage?
- connect with recruiters: recruiters use LinkedIn to connect with potential employees and find new talent.
- network with people: you can connect and follow people you’re interested in, whether that’s students, apprentices, or employees of a company you’d like to work for.
- research companies: LinkedIn can help you glean some inside info before an interview or even submit an application. Researching the company and what they’ve been up to shows your interest in working for them specifically.
- keep up with industry news: as well as connecting with people, you can follow people and topics you’re interested in. Following this kind of industry news might help when you’re submitting applications or networking with people.
LinkedIn is a professional platform, so it’s all about sharing any skills and experience you can bring to a workplace. Remember, even if you don’t have any professional experience, there are other things you could put on your profile to help you stand out.
- your work experience: this could be anything from a summer job to an internship, whatever you have that can demonstrate relevant skills.
- any qualifications: make sure to add any qualifications you have and any other courses you might have taken outside of school.
- add any achievements or volunteering: what can make you stand out? If you’ve volunteered previously, maybe you achieved a Duke of Edinburgh award or were captain of your school football team, for example. Add anything you’re proud of to show your personality.
Once you’ve nailed the basics, you’ll want to personalise your profile. Adding some visuals is a great way to show some personality.
- professional profile photo: you don’t need a professionally taken headshot but present yourself in a professional way. Avoid pictures with a drink in hand or pulling a silly face. Take a picture of yourself against a plain background looking smart. Or maybe use one from your experience.
- a background image: this can show a little more about you and that you’ve put the effort in to optimise your profile. It’s another visual way to grab attention. For example, maybe it’s a quote you like, a picture of somewhere you volunteer, or something professional. Save photos of your friends and family for your Instagram feed, remember LinkedIn is about the world of work.
On LinkedIn, there’s a specific section to add skills. Choose the ones that you think best represent your skills and interests. There are a few different types:
- personal attributes: for example, organisation, time management or leadership
- technical skills: like Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word
- field of interest: for example, marketing, IT, animal care
You can also ask for endorsements on LinkedIn. This is when someone you know gives you a recommendation for a specific skill. So, if you connect with a manager from work experience, a teacher, or someone you have volunteered with, it’s a good idea to ask them for a recommendation.
Endorsements display on your profile and can help signal to recruiters and employers that you might have the qualities they’re looking for.
There’s no point in having a LinkedIn profile if you don’t connect with people; that’s what it’s all about. Start with adding people you know, maybe people you’ve worked with before to build up some connections, then branch out. You may want to connect with:
- recruiters who work in the sector you’re interested in
- people at companies you would like to work for
- influential people you like
- students from the uni you go to/want to go to/went to or lecturers who taught you
- apprentices or apprenticeship recruiters if you’re interested
As well as connecting with people, you can also follow companies and hashtags you like the look of. You might want to think about:
- companies you’d like to work for, so you can keep an eye on vacancies, their latest news, and posts
- influencers you like. These might be figures like Steven Bartlett, Ben Francis, or Grace Beverley, for example
- people who work in the field you’re interested in
LinkedIn is a social media platform, so it's designed for you to share your updates. Posting can help increase the visibility of your profile and make valuable connections. Remember, it's a professional platform, so keep your posts mainly related to work and your education. You may want to post about:
- Any work or education updates, like starting a degree, an internship, or a new job
- Any opportunities you're looking for
- Something significant in your work life, such as the launch of a big project
- Any educational achievements, like finishing your degree or submitting a dissertation
- Any other significant achievements, like volunteering, awards, or charity work