If you are a student leaving high school and most definitely if you are leaving college, it is time to get a Linkedin profile. You might already have Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram or Deviantart, but Linkedin means business. There are already 225 million members from every corner of the world – and the fastest growth is in student / college leavers so it is definitely the place to be seen now for Generation Y.
It’s really simple (and free!) to create a Profile – but I want to offer a few top tips to get you looking your best. Start by making sure you have your sensible, grown-up, purposeful head on when filling in the profile. This works as an on-line resumé so you want it to be as timely, accurate and clear as any CV. Linkedin uses text based searches so getting your language / jargon spot-on is important: for example “Quite good at using the writing bits of Windows” probably won’t ever come up in a search compared to “Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite particularly Microsoft Word”. (Of course you can go back and correct and edit so don’t panic yourself into inertia).
You can, and should, join Linkedin Groups depending on your interests. Lots of schools and colleges have alumni groups and it makes sense to join them from the beginning. Groups can be a key way of keeping up with areas you are interested in and, by contributing to the discussions, you can begin to have your own input. Presence: that’s what you can create and drive on LinkedIn.
Connections, however, are probably the most important feature of Linkedin. As the old adage has it, it’s not what you know, but who you know that matters. And Linkedin is a perfect forum for showing who you know – and for finding who knows someone that you’d like to know.
My super top-tip as term ends and people head off, is to commit to linking with your peers. Peer to peer links created now will begin by being cheering – you’re not Norman-no-mates, you have connections. As time passes and people’s working lives develop, the insights and opportunities those links offer will become invaluable. You won’t lose track of each other and amongst your generation are the next captains of industry, movers, shakers and money makers. Second super top-tip is to ask to connect to “grown-ups” who know about you and your career ambitions.
Finally, on the top-tip theme, do make sure you include a photo of yourself looking friendly, clean and employable. The photo helps people identify you – there are over 56,000 John Smiths already on Linkedin and you wouldn’t want to get the wrong one!
To start any youngster off: if you read my Blog, like the Real Life Skills Facebook page and send me a short email telling me your job and career plans, I’ll connect with you because I know that you have any eye on the future