The Graduate Career Guidebook

2nd Edition

by Steve Rook

Chapter 8: Managing your networks and social media

5 top tips for creating a stand-out LinkedIn profile

Your LinkedIn page is a brilliant place to outline everything you have to offer, in detail, and can therefore be used as your virtual CV. Here are some tips to make yours stand out:

  1. Create an ‘All-star’ profile, as indicated by a circle at the top right-hand corner of your page, by thoroughly filling in every section. This is important because, when employers search for talent with certain keywords such as ‘London’, ‘accountant’ and ‘intern’, they’ll get thousands of hits, but the ‘All-star’ profiles will be on page one – and who looks past that?
  2. Focus on your skills, experiences and achievements that are relevant to the career you want to follow.
  3. Provide a targeted summary. LinkedIn advises you to: ‘Describe what motivates you, what you’re skilled at, and what’s next.’ This is your opportunity to outline your accomplishments, strengths, ambitions and interests and tie them to the work you’re seeking.
  4. Secure some recommendations from employers, academics and influential contacts.
  5. List up to twenty skills that are relevant to your industry so people can endorse you, as these can dictate the types of vacancies that turn up in your jobs folder.

Networking exercises

Unsure where to start? Try building your network with some of these strategies.

a) Set up a networking database in your student society, where everyone has to provide three contacts that are happy to talk to students.

b) Play a game with a group of at least six friends:
  1. Split the group up into smaller teams.
  2. Get each person in each team to write down the name of a contact they would like to have, e.g. a ‘marketing professional’ or a ‘civil engineer’.
  3. Screw up all the contacts and put them in a bowl/hat.
  4. A member of each team simultaneously pulls a name out and groups take three minutes to write down who they know as a team who may know someone who knows someone… who may know someone in the role they’ve chosen.
  5. The winning team is the one that makes the most contacts.
  6. Share the contacts with the person who requested those links and help them get in contact.
c) Look up people in a particular sector with a common name such as your name or one like ‘John Smith’, and create a ‘John Smith’ network in your chosen sector that all the John Smiths can use to network.

Activity: Self-assessment

If you know one person, you have access to thousands because networking is not just about who you know but also, who they know, and any one of them could launch your career. Try using this activity to identify three people who may be able to help you in your job search.

Click here to download activity sheet.

Further resources