Why your career depends on LinkedIn

Have you stepped out of the 1980s and thrown away your Rolodex? Your next step is to take the plunge and jump head first into the world of LinkedIn.

With more than half a billion members (April 2017) LinkedIn is a big player in the social media landscape. It is increasingly becoming the ‘go to’ place for workers and employers to connect online.

But what exactly is it? LinkedIn is essentially the work place version of social media mega-monster Facebook.

Imagine having your CV online with ‘connections’ able to endorse your skills. You can flick through the latest job ads, peruse opinion pieces from your industry and stay in touch with former colleagues.

That being said you might be asking yourself ‘why do I need to be on LinkedIn?’

Employers are increasingly looking to social media when hiring new team members, according to Jing Li, Professional Services Manager at recruitment firm Robert Walters.

“Chances are potential employers are looking through your social media profiles to gauge what kind of person you are and get as much information about you as possible,” Jing says. “Therefore, you should use social media to present yourself in the best possible light.”

LinkedIn image

Getting started

If you approach new social networking sites like a deer in headlights then chances are you haven’t signed-up to LinkedIn yet.

Getting started is straight forward enough – go to linkedin.com, follow the instructions, and KAPOW, you have a fancy new LinkedIn profile. However, to get the most out of your profile there are a few more steps to follow.

One of the first rules of LinkedIn is not to treat it like your Facebook profile. That means no sharing of funny memes, no photos of you on your holiday in Raro and certainly no selfies from Friday night drinks. Consider LinkedIn an extension of your CV, but online. 

Jing says think carefully about how you would like others to see you and make sure all information on your social media networks reflects this.

“Check your privacy settings so that if an employer does a Google or Facebook search for you, you have control over what they see,” she says.

You shoulduse your LinkedIn profile to demonstrate your key competencies and achievements so that your profile comes up in relevant searches for roles, Jing says.

“It should work almost like a CV. Detail what you did in each position you have had, rather than just listing positions.”

Making connections

Would you rather be at home eating chocolate and watching Netflix than spending time ‘networking’?

Never fear, one of the easiest ways to make new business connections and maintain them over time is through LinkedIn – and you can do that from your couch at home.

Jing says once you have created your LinkedIn profile, you can build up your networks and leverage off these connections to explore opportunities.

“Contributing to group discussions will help expand your networks and former colleagues can also be a rich source of information about upcoming opportunities in their current companies.

“You can also use your social media connections to help connect you to other people of interest, such as a hiring manager in a company that you would like to work for.”

Wait a minute

Before you run away and start setting up your new LinkedIn profile there are a few things to remember.

Make sure you upload a photo, Jing says.

“Use a clear image of yourself. LinkedIn is a professional network, so present yourself in your profile picture as you would in an interview.

“Having no image will put employers and recruiters off contacting you as you look unlikely to be active on your profile.”

Like most social media channels you should think twice before posting anything to LinkedIn.

While it seems like a great idea to share that slightly off-colour joke in the moment, it may not go down that well with your boss, potential employers, colleagues… you get the point.

Jing says when you are using LinkedIn you should follow people in the industry you would like to work in, and engage with and respond to professional content only.

Chance to win

If you have taken the plunge and have a LinkedIn profile then the next step is to ensure your education details are up to date.

If you haven’t already, add Open Polytechnic as your education provider to your profile and you can go in the drawer to win a $100 New World voucher.

Simply take a screen shot showing you have added us to your profile and email it, along with your full name and student number, to socialmedia@openpolytechnic.ac.nz before 2pm on 30 October 2017.

Terms and Conditions apply.