The LinkedIn Lowdown: if you're unsure how to use it

Meg Timbrell
Content & Social Media Manager
3 min read

Unsure about how to use LinkedIn? Keep reading to find out more.

LinkedIn is free to use (for basic membership), and can help you build up a network of contacts, and engage with companies and individuals in sectors that you're interested in working for. Not only can regularly using LinkedIn help educate and inspire, but can get your name out there into the world of work.

"It's not just for old people with heavy briefcases." LinkedIn

LinkedIn can feel intimidating due to it being a professional profile, but don't panic. We're here to guide you step-by-step through how to set up an account and get the best out of LinkedIn.

If you've already set up your account and just want to read about tips on how to get the most out of LinkedIn, scroll down to 'Getting your voice out there'.

Setting up your account

Choosing the right photo

  • Ensure your photo is not blurry and there's enough light.
  • Be the only person in your photo, so that it's clear who you are.
  • Choose the right expression. This is not a personal Instagram post, it's your professional persona, so think about how you'd like to come across to potential employers.

Background photo

Similar to Facebook's 'Cover Photo', choosing the right background photo for your LinkedIn profile can be the key to making you stand out. This could be a picture relating to the company you work for, or simply a good stock photo to set a particular tone about you. Good websites for stock photos include Pexels and Unsplash.

Write a headline

With 120 characters to play with, you want to create something short and snappy that can grab attention, but accurately summarises you, including:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • What your goals are

Summary

Showcase your passions, highlight your goals, and paint a picture of who you are and want to be. Write in the first person (use 'I'), and try to use powerful keywords so that you're more likely to appear in searches.

Work experience

Add in all of your previous work experience, making sure to include any internships, placements, or volunteering. If you're interested in working in a particular field or industry, highlight the experience that's most useful to this.

Education details

Include where you went to school/university in this section so that there are no gaps in your profile.

Your skills

LinkedIn allows users to add up to 50 skills. Don't feel like you have to max out the 50 skills, putting around 10 is a good place to start, and you can keep adding as you gain experience.

Not sure what skills you have? Check out our article about our new skills analysis tool here.

Recommendations

You can request recommendations from others on LinkedIn. Positive recommendations can help your profile stand out, and help showcase your strengths and skills to potential employers. You can request recommendations from your existing connections - so it's worth connecting with people you know, people you have worked with, or your teachers/lecturers, and asking them for a recommendation.

Get connecting!

Once you've added the basic info to your LinkedIn profile, you should be ready to go! Start following people and companies you're interested in, and connect with people you already know (you can sync up Facebook friends and contact lists to help with this). The more people you connect with, the more suggestions you'll receive, and the easier it is to grow your network.

Getting your voice out there

Depending on what your reason for using LinkedIn is - whether it's finding a job, growing your network, or just learning more about your chosen career sector - try to post regularly to really get the most out of LinkedIn.

Publish posts that reflect your professional persona. Post ideas include:

  • The most exciting moment of your career so far.
  • A work hack that works for you.
  • A throwback relating to education or work.
  • A book recommendation.
  • Your role model.
  • A genuine problem that someone could help with - don't be afraid to share your issues! You never know who might see and be able to help.
  • Achievements and the obstacles you have overcome to reach your goals.

Respond to posts that interest you

  • React (choose from Like, Celebrate, Support, Love, Insightful and Curious)

  • Comment on posts, ensuring to keep your tone polite and language professional

Re-share content that you're passionate about

Remember that LinkedIn isn't like Facebook or Instagram, and that content should always remain professional. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn't want a potential employer or your boss to see something, then don't share it!

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