Career Accelerator Part Three: Level-up your LinkedIn
By Vicky Simao
If you’re serious about getting career ready while you’re studying, LinkedIn is the place to start building your network and developing your personal brand. While it may not seem like the most entertaining app to scroll through between study breaks, LinkedIn is an investment app for your future. It’s there for the long haul!
Extend your industry reach and knowledge
With 600+ million members (including 30 million companies), LinkedIn is the most used social media platform by Fortune 500 companies. This makes it the perfect place for you to keep an eye on industries, trends and prospective career paths. Following employers will also give you a good sense of their company values and culture. In fact, 6 out of 10 users use LinkedIn as their primary source of industry insights. As I mentioned in Part 2 – Network like a Boss, LinkedIn is the go-to avenue to connect with anyone that you’ve met at a networking event.
Set yourself up for grad success
LinkedIn plays a massive role in recruitment, with 95% of recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn every day. This can also work in your favour - the more you build your profile, the smarter LinkedIn’s algorithm will be in serving you jobs that line up with your skills. In a world where social media platforms are using your data to saturate your feed with ads, LinkedIn is more interested in using your data to help you promote yourself and your personal brand.
How do I know what my personal brand is?
Billionaire Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com, says it best: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. It’s not just about your degree and skills, but also about who you are and how you engage with others. For this reason, I like to refer students to this model (below) and ask them to take a few minutes for self-reflection.
Your personal brand - Vicky Simao 2020
Grab your notebook, set a 2-min timer, and divide the page into three parts. Jot down anything that comes to mind. Don’t overthink it – this isn’t about self-judgement, only self-discovery. Here are some prompts to get you thinking:
- What are my core values?
- What is my mission?
- What energises me?
- Who inspires me?
- What do I want to be known for?
When you’re done, look at it objectively. Are there any patterns? What strengths do you see? If you want to take a deeper dive, I personally find this personality test really insightful (and freakishly accurate).
Put your brand into action on LinkedIn
Now it’s time to put your words into fields on LinkedIn. This is a great personal branding exercise, as you’ll start to build the language around your story, which will be useful in future interviews and networking experiences. Challenge yourself to keep your language short, sharp and active with a future focus. Think about someone reading your profile who has never met you before.
Another important section that often gets abandoned is the Skills section. The reason why this is important is because:
a) it allows your skillset to be visible
b) it means your connections can ‘endorse’ you for those skills (i.e.: building your credibility)
c) LinkedIn’s job feed algorithm talks to this section, meaning the jobs that pop up through LinkedIn are those best matched for you.
The face of your personal brand: you!
Profiles with a photo get 21% more views. So, if your profile is in ghost mode, it’s time for a revival.
When it comes to choosing your photo, there are a few important things you want to have in place:
- Make sure you look like you. Ensure your expression matches who you are/what you’re like in person. If you’re a smiler, smile! This is about being yourself, not hiding it.
- Your face should make up 60% of the frame
- Use natural lighting and avoid heavy design features and editing
- Wear appropriate clothing
- Be conscious of your background and make sure you stand out in the image.
Once your profile pic is up, think of the headline you want to pair with it. This is super important, because your photo and headline are what will travel with you in all your likes, comments and DMs. It’s your brand tag!
Build a habit and community
The quickest way to supercharge your LinkedIn presence is to start engaging with content and the community. The more you do, the more authentic engagement you’ll start to see.
- Make a habit of checking LinkedIn 2-3 times a week. 40% of LinkedIn’s members using it daily, that’s 100 million people online every time you log in!
- Interact with posts that mean something to you. LinkedIn shares your activity on your profile, meaning what you choose to engage with adds to your brand.
- Share your experiences, tag organisations and people and hashtag posts to maximise your reach
- Share your opinions and insights – if you want to experiment with article writing, 1900 word articles are the most shared and valued content on LinkedIn!
- Build a community – not only should you follow companies you have an interest in, but people you are studying with! You are the industry professionals and UNSW Business Alumni of our future. Invest in the relationships you have now and watch them grow!