Although we don’t cover fresh graduate or entry-level roles at Cogs, we do our best try to help those looking to set out on a career in the digital industry with guidance and advice.
New talent flow is key to the long term success of the industry, helping to stem any skills shortages in the future and we like to help where we can.
LinkedIn should be viewed as a professional media site, that can help give you an insight into the world of business, a place to present your personal brand and meet future employers.
As a fresh graduate starting out, it’s unlikely you’ve had any “LinkedIn” training – but using it in the same way as Facebook is NOT the way forward.
As experienced recruiters we see first-hand the effects a bad LinkedIn profile can have on a candidate’s ability to be employed and over the years we’ve developed a proven plan which will transform your new profile into a professional business offering:
Being a digital native – you will be happiest swiping on an app. The free LinkedIn app enables you to search for jobs and apply in one click, join groups and update statuses. With a free LinkedIn account, on a desktop, you can only connect with people in your network, but connections to anyone else are prevented without a paid-for premium membership. However, the app actually enables you to grow your connections quicker and easier without additional costs – and a bigger network will get you closer to new opportunities.
Once your profile is set up it’s vital that people can actually see it. Many profiles will be set private automatically and you’ll need to manually change this to ensure you’re are as accessible as possible. Go to ‘profile settings’, then ‘manage profile settings’ and here you can switch your page to a private one to a public one.
While you are editing your profile settings, it is a brilliant idea to create a personalised public LinkedIn URL, for example, www.linkedin.com/in/JohnSmith. All profiles are set up with a lengthy mix of numbers and letters – but creating your own looks more professional, easier to locate and you can even add the link to your CV.
So your settings are sorted, now is the time to fill your profile with the all the best bits about you.
The summary section is one often overlooked, however, think of this as your “cover letter”, your big chance to introduce yourself and show potential employees what you are all about. Grab the reader’s attention, tell your story adding in your professional passions and drives, your achievements and the highlights of your career/education to date.
Remember to add keywords that recruiters/ employers might use to search – so it makes you easier to find.
If you are a grad, chances are your employment record is going to be pretty short. Unless it’s really relevant or has developed your skillset – don’t add it.
For example, a Saturday job in a shoe shop is not going to necessarily help to get you into a design agency, however – temp work within a print factory or design workshop would be worth adding.
If you don’t have any work experience that’s relevant, you can add any volunteer work you have completed, any honours or awards you have won, certifications or courses you have completed – anything which helps to give the recruiter a well-rounded understanding of the sort of employee you would be.
Within creative, many grads will know they need to create a portfolio of work, but this concept also works for LinkedIn. On your profile, there is a place to add projects which you’ve completed, so if you have a portfolio or a link to a piece of work you’ve completed then share this here – it’s is a great way to showcase work you have created.
Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing – so there is no better way to promote yourself than letting other people tell the world how great you are. LinkedIn offers a recommendation function – which you can send to previous (relevant) employers, or a university professor – who can recommend you and your work ethics and ability. You also get to approve these before they go live, so if there was ever anything said you would rather not have published, there is the chance to remove this.
So you’ve got an informative, exciting profile with a glowing showcase and some great recommendation – but your picture has the power to totally shatter your LinkedIn image. LinkedIn is a professional network, a photo of you with your pals, cuddling your pet, holding a beer or flexing your muscles is NOT the sort of image that you should portray. Of course, show a bit of personality and smile, but as this is the first thing many employees will see, (and first impressions count) make sure it supports your personal brand.
Many grads automatically add their graduation shot to their profile, believing it shows they “really did graduate” and makes them look professional. However, as recruiter’s we would suggest a graduate photo automatically makes employers aware of your level, and thus would maybe dismiss you as too Junior.
Using a professional image will draw them in and once they are on your page they’ll be able to see just how fantastic you actually are.
If you really can’t find any suitable shots, don’t think that leaving photo box blank is the answer – employers are 14 times more likely to view a profile with a professional picture than a blank profile. So no excuses, if you can’t find a decent headshot, take one – it really will be worth it.
Your network on LinkedIn is your window to the world of creativity. Social media has made it more accessible for everyone to communicate and connect, and for job hunters especially this is great as it makes it even easier to connect with companies you want to work with, and gives you insights into their work, their team and a good feel of their culture.
There are also thousands of groups and communities on LinkedIn which can open up your network to like-minded individuals. Once you have located the most relevant groups you can communicate into conversations, ask questions, share articles – and watch your network organically grow.
If you are a graduate, your university lecturers and fellow students are going to be the first people you connect with. The Alumni tool instantly offers your profile more credibility as you can tag your place of higher education and view the existing members, connect and grow your network. You are also able to explore the careers of fellow alumni members and you’ll get instant access to updates and posts regarding graduate recruitment opportunities.
Employers today are overrun with graduate applications and things like a strong LinkedIn profile and personal brand could be the difference between you being picked over someone else. So take the time to create an all-star profile and be as active as you can to give yourself the best chance at employment.