So you want to be a professional social networker?
You’ve left uni, the number of friend requests on Facebook is lagging and you find your baby cousin has been tagged in more photos than you over the last week. What’s the next step? Try LinkedIn - it's the social networking website designed for the ‘professional’ you. Mygraduatecareer.com has published a free guide 'From Facebook to LinkedIn' that tells you everything you need to know to set up your account including examples of good and bad profiles.
The guide explains how to set up the best possible professional profile so that you can gain the most out of this vast network using transferable skills that everyone in the graduating generation has been learning for years. We’re definitely not saying give up on Facebook, we love it as much as anyone here at mygraduatecareer.com, and you can even join our page and like us if you want. LinkedIn provides a completely different type of network orientated around key skills and experience which can provide any ambitious graduate with the connections and information they need to get the jobs and develop the career they want.
It's easy and completely free to set up an account on LinkedIn - get started here.
Download your copy of the guide or view it online here.
Well as much as everyone appreciated our online guide to setting up your LinkedIn profiles, inevitably there were many questions and we'll add these to our next edition. Here’s a quick summary of the big ones answered by our very own ‘LinkedIn Guru’, Janet Davies . As always, if there is something we haven't covered under these titles drop us an email via the ‘contact us’ section of the site or tweet us @mycareersadvice.
Q. If I got a poor degree should I put this in my profile or just leave the results section blank?
A. You should add your degree. Not everyone is only interested in grades. You can leave it blank but recruiters will wonder why. If you have other interesting things on your profile it may show you as a more interesting and rounded person; a 2:2 and lots of sports interests etc. is no bad thing. If you got a poor degree (3rd and below) what are the implications for employers and would they be correct in making these assumptions? Did you get a poor degree because you were lazy, disinterested, ill, a bit stupid or drunk all the time? Or, were you doing something else constructive like training to be in a top sports team or cutting your first single? In some of these cases prospective employers will appreciate the extra knowledge of your interests and you should concentrate on communicating it to them.
Q.Previous jobs and work experience: to what extent should I list my previous experience, should it just be relevant to your desired career? Do I include school results, random waitress jobs etc?
A. School results aren’t necessary on a LinkedIn profile though you usually have to include them on your formal hard copy CV and for on application forms. It’s your degree in these circumstances that counts and then what you do with it. Proper work experience counts and is a good thing to add. Sporting and charity based activities are also constructive. Always think about the image you are trying to portray and where you want your career to head. If you want a career in the food industry being a top waitress at a well known chef’s restaurant or being a contestant in MasterChef may be appropriate – otherwise, forget it.
Q. My profile photo: Should it be a head shot, smiling, etc?
A. It should definitely be a head shot, smiling, friendly, professional and not too dark in terms of background. No friends and family shots, no pets, no ‘Wanted in 10 counties’ looks and definitely none of you falling over at the pub drunk!
Q. If there are several alumni web pages how do I decide which one to use e.g if there is a university alumni and a departmental group, should I join both?
A. Join as many as possible that are relevant, they are separate and may contain different connections.
Q. Managing my internet reputation; where do I draw the line in terms of who I’m friends with? What about school friends, family members, associates, previous workmates e.g. if you left the job on bad terms?
A. Link to whatever is positive and only link to people you know and whoever will reflect well on you. If anyone blots their copy book de-friend them! Add people naturally over time as you get to know them. If you are meeting people through your work it is legitimate to connect to them – just keep it professional.
Q.Is it safe to put my mobile number and address on the profile?
A. Don’t put your address on there, a mobile number would be useful if it is used for work purposes.
Q. How should I begin writing a professional summary, how brief should it be and does it relate to the search options?
A. A summary should be no more than 3 lines really - your so-called ‘elevator pitch’. Search options will relate to your key words e.g. marketing, engineering, research etc. Think what you want to be noticed for and include these qualities in your summary.
Q. If I’ve just graduated should I include my degree as one of my specialities even though it should be obvious through my degree subject section?
A. Put it in, employers may not look at your degree, include any particular branch of your degree that interests you most, also any big final year projects or experiments that may be relevant.
Q. How important are recommendations, is it something you should get your mates to do for you or should it always be done on a professional level?
A. No mates recommendations on here – it should be work related and professional. Again, think about your personal brand. All the recommendations on my own profile have come from real employers, colleagues or clients. There is a new skills and endorsement section on there now, complete it but we're not sure how valuable it is at this time. You've nothing to lose so you might as well do it.
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