LinkedIn is an online professional networking community with over 75 million worldwide users in over 200 countries. It's continually growing, with a new member joining approximately every second.
LinkedIn is currently the foremost business networking site. It's an ideal way to network across different sectors, look for and talk to potential employers but more importantly talk directly to key stake holders and decision makers in organisations of interest.
According to its creators; “LinkedIn exists to help you make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return. Our mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
LinkedIn have produced a nice introduction video which talks about the importance of profile and how to job search:
It's a great tool for:
- Contacting key people within organisations
- Linking to peer groups of like minded individuals
- Gaining industry insights via forums
- Making introductions and referrals
- Accessing industry specific information
- Gaining commercial awareness
- A place to vent about fellow employees and employers
- A chat site
- A way to expand your social network
LinkedIn Alumni Tool
LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool is a hugely powerful resource for researching careers and expanding your network. It allows you to find graduates in specific subjects from Universities across the globe to see who they work for, the types of jobs they do and the skills they have.
You can access the tool by going to the University of Exeter's LinkedIn page and clicking on the Alumni tab on the left-side navigation. This will then open up a filterably interface to narrow down your search.
If you would like to undertake a broader search of alumni, outside of the University of Exeter community, you can do this using the top search bar and we would recommend expanding the 'All Filters' menu to narrow down your search.
So how can you use this information?
Example 1: Supposing you’re studying History and you have no idea what you want to do when you graduate. The Alumni Tool allows you to view the current occupation of any University of Exeter alumni that have 'History' included within their profile; this will include both those that studied History at Exeter and those working within this field.
Example 2: Maybe you’ve heard that HSBC is an amazing employer – select HSBC from the ‘Where they work’ tab and you’ll see the types of jobs that 273 Exeter alumni are working in at HSBC right now. You could connect with some of them – make a friendly approach and ask them what it’s really like working there or if they have any tips for getting your foot in the door. You’ll also be able to view their profiles and see their skills-set and work history, so you can gather a pretty good idea of what HSBC might be looking for in applicants.
Example 3: erhaps you have outstanding Social Media skills and want to see where you can put them to good use. Search for ‘Social Media’ in the search bar and see the types of jobs and companies where these skills are relevant or part of their job title/description.
If you haven’t done so already we suggest you create a LinkedIn profile now. You can also take part in one of our LinkedIn Labs, bookable through My Career Zone.
Useful articles and resources
- You've been Googled: what employers don't want to see in your online profile - article in the Guardian Careers Blog
- Why a traditional CV isn't always enough - article in the Guardian Careers Blog
- Don't let Facebook harm your career - tips from newteachers.tes
- The Job-Seekers Guide to Twitter - blog entry from Stirling Graduate Club
- Twitter basics - How to guides from Twitter
- My Career Zone Digital has resources on e-hireability.
- Social Media resources on My Career Zone Digital.