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LinkedIn: How to get started

More than 930 million people use LinkedIn – join them and make valuable connections.

We live in a digital world, so you need a digital CV.

In fact, it’s well known that an online presence helps open doors to new career opportunities. That’s where LinkedIn comes in – it’s the ultimate social network for jobs and careers.

A LinkedIn account lets you show off your skills and experience on one page. And it’s now one of the most popular ways for employers and recruiters to find new talent.

The big benefits of a LinkedIn account

  1. Sell your skills online. Think of LinkedIn as your promo page. Use your profile to shout about what you’ve achieved within your career and education. This means you can send employers a quick link to your LinkedIn profile, rather than a physical CV.
  2. Find job opportunities. If you’re only looking at local job boards, you’re missing a trick – LinkedIn is the place to be. Use its clever search to find jobs that suit your talents, learn about careers and even apply for roles. LinkedIn will show you ‘recommended jobs’ based on careers it knows you’re interested in.
  3. Be inspired by others. Most people have career role models. It could be that person at work who has the role you want, or somebody you know who’s built a great career. With LinkedIn, you can connect with these people and tap into their knowledge. Who knows – you may end up working alongside them one day.
LinkedIn is a great platform for finding hidden job opportunities and expanding your professional network.Kirstin Gray Careers Adviser, Skills Development Scotland

How to get started on LinkedIn

First, set up your account

LinkedIn will ask for an email address. Make sure this is one you check often, as you’ll get notifications when someone messages you or wants to connect.

After filling out your basic information, think about your employment status. This is a brilliant way to tell people you’re up for new opportunities. Saying you’re ‘open to work’ lets recruiters know you’d like to hear about new roles.  

You have complete control over who sees your profile. Although, it’s a good idea to make it visible to all members – so recruiters can check you out. When choosing your profile photo, save your selfies for Instagram! A simple headshot taken against a neutral background is best.

Add your skills and experience

This is your time to shine. Start by making a list of any jobs or voluntary roles you’ve done.

Then, think about the key responsibilities you had and what skills you picked up.

Here’s a tip – look at job adverts you’d like to apply for and make sure you show off some skills they want to see.

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Share your education

List your previous education and make it easier to build your network.

You can connect with old classmates, lecturers or staff – you never know where your next job can come from.

And education doesn’t just mean schools, colleges and universities. Training qualifications or certificates from old jobs are just as relevant.

Summarise yourself

A LinkedIn summary is like your very own professional headline – make it eye-catching. It’s a short way to set yourself apart from others and get recruiters on to your profile.

Check out how others in your industry, or people you admire, summarise themselves on LinkedIn.

Build your network

Good job, you’ve set up a fantastic profile. Now it’s time to network. Get started by searching for people you know, are interested in or workplaces you’d like to learn about.

Once you’ve connected with a few people, your feed will start to pull in their updates. This means you’ll stay in the loop with their news, while keeping them up to date with your own work updates.

And finally, remember that LinkedIn is different from other social media sites. Always keep it professional and only post things you’d be happy to chat about in a job interview. LinkedIn is your chance to influence how recruiters and employers view your talents.