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Using LinkedIn and your network

LinkedIn has become a vital media in regards to job searching and recruitment. In Denmark more than 2 million people has signed up. However, but many tend to make the profile without really knowing what to use it for. LinkedIn is a great tool when you are searching for a job due to personal branding and visibility, using your network and relations, and being spotted and available recruited by employers. 

Recruitment

People think they need to be very active on LinkedIn if something good is going to come out of it. Therefore many users run out of gas in maintaining their profiles. For the majority it pays of to be more passive, so the profile primarily works more as an online CV.  This behaviour can bring approaches from potential employers, recruitment responsibles and HR employees. So when you log on to tune your profile, remember to think about how these people can find you - search optimisation. 

Optimise the seach for you with the right keywords

First of all, you should make a list of competences and qualifications - both personal and professional(check out the guide for identification of competences). 

Consider what you have learned during your education, student job or volunteer work and put yourself in the employer's shoes: what would he/ she search for, when looking for new employees for jobs that match your qualifications. 

Remember that the employers rarely have the same education as you, so make sure to include the broad and more general competences within your field - not just the specialised ones. 

Implementing keywords in your profile

After identifying your competences and keywords they should be implemented in your profile. The purpose is to affect the algorithm, optimise the search on your profile and ensure better visibility. The keywords should recur various places on your profile such as in the headline, in the brief description and in the sections with education and work experience. It doesn't matter if you use bullet points or whole text, but a mix of the two will make the text manageable and give your profile some depth. 

You can influence the following sections on your profile: 

The headline – the top card

Make sure that the headline covers your qualifications. For instance ”Molecular biologist with specialty in quality control and development of food" or ”Chemist | Laboratory technician | Quality control | Teaching”. List the keywords after relevance. Potential employers are skimming through their search results and newsfeeds to find what is relevant for them. We recommend that you don't write "job seeking", "looking for new challenges" etc. Not because you need to hide it - it's just not relevant. An employer wants to know what you can do and if you are able to solve the potential tasks. If it is essential for you to state that you are looking for a job, then put it in your brief description. Generally, the headline should tell the story you want to tell about yourself. 

The brief description

In this section you can present yourself and your competences. State what you can do, how you work and why you are passionate about your field. If you are searching broadly then make sure to state the general aspects of your field and what you want to work with. If your are searching limited and goal-oriented then make sure that it is expressed. Remember to use relevant keywords, maybe in bullet points, like: 

”As a newly graduate Master of Engineering in Technology-based Business Development I am specilialised in innovation of business models with focus on implementing green business models within the construction industry.

I work with:

  • Management and strategy within technology and business development
  • Project management and processing
  • Calculations of steel, concrete, wood and bricks
  • Qualitative and quantitative analyses
  • Visualisations in AutoCAD and Revit

In general, I work analytically and organised. I thrive in a flat work environment in which the tasks are juggled between colleagues and departments"

Education and work experience

Explain what you have learned and done during your education. State which competences you have achieved and maybe upload your thesis or other project descriptions if they are relevant. Projects and articles can also be further down on your profile, and you can decide the order of the sections on your profile yourself.

Same goes for work experience: present your tasks and responsibilities. Try to keep it relevant. If you have worked in customer support at IKEA for instance, you should state it. For you as a graduate that has a good signalling effect to an employer and shows that you are used to being a part of a professional team and know the day-to-day running in a company.

Volunteer work should also be stated in this section, like homework assistant or student politics worker. You can compensate for missing work experience in a salaried job with volunteer work since the main focus is on the competences you have achieved here. If the tasks at your volunteer job is more relevant then maybe list this section before the one with work experience. Again: remember the keywords.

Also, you could ask a fellow student, a friend or a previous colleague if they could write a short recommendation based on studies or job. It is in general a good idea to look for information from others within your field. Don't be shy - even though people can see  that you have visited their profile, there is a consensus at LinkedIn on checking each others profiles. 

Language and photo

Consider creating your profile in an alternative language. Others can then potentially search on technical terms in both Danish and English, for instance. Likewise are some technical terms and expressions written in one word in Danish, like "molekylærbiolog", and two words in English, ”molecular biologist”. Also remember to type in your language skills on your profile.

Make sure to have an accurate photo. Studies show that profiles without photo are skipped. The photo should reflect you, so think about what the signalling effect it should have - do you want to look "corporate" or more "casual".

Network, groups and companies

The purpose of LinkedIn is mainly to give you a platform with an overview of your professional network. In connection with your job search this is also the platform for using your relations. You can see how potential employers are connected with you, and maybe use your network to make contact and recommendations. You can also let your network know that you are looking for a job and be inspired by others within your field. Follow companies and organisations and participate in relevant groups, both field groups, alumni and job searching groups.

Take control over your online profile

The big challenge today is to gain control over the info about you that exists online. That's why it's a good idea to Google yourself once in a while because this is possibly what a potential employer would do. In fact, the recruitment analysis for 2016 from the Labour consultancy Ballisager shows that approx. half of the contributing employers research their future employees via Google. Also 67 % of the employers checked out the candidates' LinkedIn profiles, while 43 % had a look on Facebook. 

There is a moral dilemma in using Facebook for professional matters since it is a private platform. Just know that it happens and maybe consider if the content should be public or private. Also make sure to have a personal URL for your LinkedIn profile, since this helps in a Google search.

The numbers

The Labour consultancy Ballisager makes a recruitment analysis every year in which they analyse hoe the Danish employers have found their employees throughout the year. Landing a job by using ones network has been a sure thing the last 3 years - this year's result is 58 %. LinkedIn is a crucial tool for that purpose since LinkedIn provides a full overview of how you are connected with a company, an industry, a potential employer, etc.  

The analysis also shows that more employers use LinkedIn when they are looking for new employees. 42 % of the employers have recruited this way, which is a massive increase since 2012, where only 10 % of them used LinkedIn.  

This is also becoming a tendency on Facebook. 14 % recruited via Facebook in 2015, and in only one year this number increased to 20 % in 2016. 

1432208 / i40