LinkedIn is an online platform for professionals and companies, enabling networking, job searching, hiring,company research, and connecting with affiliates, including alumni, industry, and a variety of other business related groups. For students, it is a valuable tool and source of inspiration for networking, researching industries and companies and exploring job opportunities. The sooner you get started building your profile, the more visible you will be in your community.
It's quick and easy to get started using LinkedIn. You'll need to sign up for LinkedIn and create a LinkedIn profile. There are two main tiers of membership - Basic and Premium. The basic membership is more than sufficient for students to jobsearch and network. As soon as you log in, you'll be able to start using LinkedIn to connect, to network, and to job search and boost your career.
Your profile can be as elaborate or short as you wish. Complete profiles rank higher in the search results than profiles that have incomplete sections. LinkedIn shows how robust your profile is by ranking your profile strength status from “Beginner” to “All Star”. To achieve an “All Star” profile your profile should contain the following:
- A profile photo
- 2 or more positions you have held listed
- 5 or more skills listed
- A summary about yourself
- Details of your industry and postal/zipp code
- Your education details
- At least 50 connections
Profiles with a photo are more professional than those without one. It can be the first opportunity to engage with others and you want to make a positive impression. Make sure it is recent, that you are clearly visible and that you are dressed like you would be at work.
This is the sentence that shows up under your name. Make sure your headline gives an impression of your skill/ expertise and/or your career goal. Your headline is an informative trigger, making people curious for the rest of your profile. You have 120 characters available, so make them count. Don’t just include ‘student at TU Delft’ (this is too general), at the very least mention your programme. If you are near graduating you can also state ‘looking for a job’ which informs others about your current employment status.
If you already know what particular types of positions you are interested in, include it in your headline. Use keywords that are relevant for the positions you are focusing on and represent your value. For example, ”Available – MSc Aerospace Engineer| Specialist in fluid dynamics | Experience in Automotive industry”.
A keyword is a word or a phrase which has been identified as one which users and/or recruiters use when they search in the LinkedIn database. Recruiters search for keywords on LinkedIn profiles that are relevant to the positions they have available. They are buzzwords, industry language and in general how companies describe the job, the applicant, the profession or tasks.
When searching on LinkedIn the algorithm shows recruiters the (complete) profiles with the highest scores on those keywords so the aim is to ensure your profile contains a good balance of key words appropriate for the role you are applying for.
LinkedIn draws keywords from your headline, summary, experience and skills sections. To find keywords, pay attention to the words used in the job announcements - titles, job responsibilities, degrees, lists of requirements. You can also copy and paste the text from your CV or job boards into a word cloud and you will have a visual representation of the keywords.
Your summary is your introduction of you and highlights your professional interests, your personality, your career story, accomplishments. A good summary will encourage viewers to read your profile further. It is a good place to include relevant keywords to your industry.
When you list your experiences make sure the title creates complete and impactful image. “Student Assisstant” becomes “Student Assisstant – data input, analysis and testing”
Make sure that the skills you want to be highlighted are displayed first. LinkedIn picks up the first ten with the highest endorsing score but you can change the order manually.
A glowing recommendation from a supervisor or client provides social proof that you are competent. Two good LinkedIn recommendations are valuable so don’t be afraid to ask key contacts for a recommendation. These need to be genuine so don’t ask a friend or family member.
Languages, Volunteer work, accomplishments, etc.
LinkedIn allows you to share additional information such as language skills, voluntary work and any additional accomplishments. This additional information can make your profile look more complete and give versatility to your professional image.
LinkedIn allows you to have a public profile and private one seen only by those in your network. Which setting you will choose depends on your goal for using LinkedIn. We recommend you choose your network not to be notified when you are making several changes in your profile.
Building a strong professional presence in LinkedIn whilst at university can help students in their job search on graduation. It requires investment of time and effort in order for you to be able to maximise its potential when you need it. Here are some tips on how you can use LinkedIn.
Who to invite?
Who you are inviting may depend on your personal LinkedIn goal. In general LinkedIn is built around the concept ‘the strength of weak ties’. This means that the added value is not so much in your own contacts but in their unique connections that provide you access to new networks. You can map your network with Socilab (socilab.com) to see how interconnected your network is and who your ‘weak ties’ are that provide you access to new networks.
Inviting and accepting contacts – do’s and don’ts
You can search for people with the search box on the top of your LinkedIn page or you can follow LinkedIn’s suggestions of people you may know. When inviting someone always send them a personalised message and potentially remind them where you met and what you spoke about. This especially increases the chance of them accepting your invitation when you have only briefly spoken, for instance at a conference or job fair.
Did somebody invite you to connect? LinkedIn recommends that you only accept invitations from people that you know. However if there seems to be a reason to connect with people you don’t know such as a recruiter an alumni you might consider accepting it.
Groups around a certain topic can be a great way to stay on top of industry news and developments, share tips and ideas, and to ‘meet’ people who already work in the field that you are interested in. You can find groups by using the search box of the LinkedIn page or by browsing the groups LinkedIn suggests to you when you click in the search box and select the section “Groups”. Making valuable comments or starting relevant discussions is a great way to become visible in the community.
Using LinkedIn to find your next job
Besides completing your profile and linking with connections you can actually proactively use LinkedIn and learn about new jobs and organisations that formerly were unknown to you.
Advanced People Search
This search is often considered to be the most insightful one when you are looking for inspiration on what job or organisation to look for and locating the people that already have that match. Click in the search box and select the section “People”. On the right side of the page you can filter using keywords (branch, education level, ect.) and find people with the profiles that match your search criteria.
If you go to the LinkedIn the page of Delft University of Technology and click the tab “ See alumni” you can search by title, keyword or a company. This can be a powerfull tool in order to get inspiration regarding possible career paths of people that had the same educational background as yours, or connect with alumni in order to exchange information and network.
LinkedIn allows organisations and indiviuals to post jobs in different ways. This can be done within a group forum, posting a message from your profiles but also on the general LinkedIn job board. You can browse the vacancies from the job board by going over the jobs that LinkedIn suggests based on the information that you filled in on your profile, or by searching for them by clicking in the search box and selecting the section “Jobs”. You can filter the results by company name, geographic location, experience level etc. LinkedIn also shows if you have people in your network who already work there, giving you opportunity to connect with them as additional source if information and/or reference. If you are curious regarding the vacancies some recruiters might have, you can invite them to become a connection.
- Quickguide for LinkedIn
- LinkedIn blog announces the newest features.
- Several on-line training materials are available:
- LinkedIn session
- LinkedIn vs Resume