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:
This page will outline the main benefits to you of using Linkedin, including the LinkedIn Alumni tool, suggestions for creating a great profile as well as further resources.
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 and developing commercial awareness.
- A place to vent about fellow employees and employers. Posts on LinkedIn tend to be positive, supportive and reflective.
- A chat site. Conversations on LinkedIn are usually purposeful and closely linked to networking and relationship building.
- A way to expand your social network. This isn't just 'professional Facebook', it is a good way to build and demonstrate your professional brand and explore opportunities available to you in terms of your future career.
Creating a Profile
We strongly encourage students and graduates to create a Linkedin profile because of the amount of information you will have access to as a result. When creating a profile, Linkedin, will guide you through the sorts of content to add to your profile to make it appealing to employers.
There are lots of optional sections you can include, depending on what you have done so far – you can add publications, certifications, language skills and more. There is also the option to add your profile in multiple languages, meaning you can reach more employers if you are multilingual!
If you haven’t already got a Linkedin profile, or you want some tips and advice on how to make the most of the platform you might be interested in taking part in one of our LinkedIn Labs, bookable through Handshake. The interactive Lab will guide you through creating a strong profile and use Linkedin well.
Profile in Review:
Careers Consultant Sarah Blunt reviews a Linkedin profile and highlights what works well as things that could be adjusted.
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 filterable 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.
The Alumni tool from Learning LinkedIn for Students by Oliver Schinkten
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: Perhaps 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.
The Linkedin Alumni tool is a powerful way to find out more about the opportunities available to you, explore your options, consider different career paths and build your networks.
Useful articles and resources
- TargetJobs Graduate’s Guide to Linkedin gives an overview of how to create the ‘perfect profile’
- Social Media and Job Hunting – Prospects explores how employers are using social media to recruit, and how you can find a job this way.
- Virtual Internships and Linkedin from The Forage
- Using Linkedin Groups to build your networks and commercial awareness.
- My Career Zone Digital has resources on e-hireability.
- Social Media resources on My Career Zone Digital.