Part one - making the right ‘first impression’ online

You might have heard of LinkedIn. If you have, you probably know that it is a social media site for business. If you are leaving school or college this year, you should have a profile on there.

Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a professional networking site, where over 467 million people come to connect, find work, sell products and services and, most importantly, recruit new talent. According to KickResume, over 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find their next member of staff.

Most people don’t use the site every day and are content to let their profile just act like an online version of their CV. More active users are often trying to generate business or hire people with the right experience for their company.

So, at first glance, LinkedIn may not feel like the right place for a school-leaver to be. After all, you might not have a lot of work experience to talk about. If you have just left secondary education, you could only have your GCSEs to your name.

LinkedIn is more than just a place to showcase your CV, though. With some time and effort, getting a profile on there now will pay off for years to come.

The Golden Rule of LinkedIn – be professional at all times

We’ll keep coming back to this.

Drop the trout pout

Setting up a LinkedIn profile is pretty straightforward, but this isn’t something you should treat like any other social networking site. The golden rule is ‘professional at all times’. That means a smart, business-like profile photo; some people even have professional head-shots taken for this.

Remember the golden rule of LinkedIn? In this case, that means no photos of you in the middle of a group of friends / you with a drink in hand / you standing next to a car you don’t own / the last selfie you took. Our suggestion is to dress as if you were already working in an office and ask a friend or family member to take your picture.

Shout your headline

The first thing you will be asked to complete is a ‘Headline’ section. This is a short (120 characters) section that will be the first thing potential employers see about you – so it needs to be good! Here’s where you can set your stall out and make a potential employer read on. Don’t be afraid to ask for a job here! For example, you could say “Recent school-leaver. I’ve built my own PC and now I am looking for a job in Tech Support”. Or, “During my BTEC in IT, I built an app that tracked the hours I spent on homework. Am I your next developer apprentice?” Managers looking to hire often don’t have a huge amount of time on their hands – if you can catch their attention early on, they will happily spend more time looking at your profile.

No #fakenews

Not in work? Don’t fake a job. Didn’t do as well at Geography as you hoped you would? Don’t bump up your grades. Be honest about your school career and part time jobs, but follow the golden rule – be professional. Don’t talk down any jobs you have had that you didn’t enjoy. Instead, talk about the skills and experience you gained.

In our next blog post we’ll look at putting together a profile that will attract hiring managers and get you a start in your chosen career.