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    You might have already heard a lot of people talking about...

    You might have already heard a lot of people talking about LinkedIn being the best place to connect with professionals and kickstart your career and they’re not wrong. LinkedIn can be a great tool to enhance your professional profile, make a great first impression and open yourself to new opportunities, but setting up your profile properly is important if you’re reading this article it means that you’re looking for the perfect way to get your profile up & running as well as making a good first impression.

    We’ve got a quick guide and some key pointers for setting t up your LinkedIn profile. You’ll soon know how to look truly professional while keeping your profile unique to you, so here we go.

    Personal info

    Like all social media platforms, LinkedIn will ask for your basic details but please remember that this is a professional platform, so interesting users names that you might use on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat etc. will not suffice. Make sure you use your name and surname. If you prefer to use an abbreviated or shorter version of your name, that’s okay, just make sure you don’t use any pet or nicknames.

    LinkedIn will also ask you to fill out an employment status section. If you are unemployed, you can put a good spin on your employment status and say something like, “looking for employment opportunities”. If you’re a student, be sure to highlight that as well as the fact that you’re interested in learning or employment opportunities.

    Don’t make the mistake of using the email address or contact number you use less often because you don’t want any direct disturbances, the whole point of LinkedIn is having the ability to constantly keep your finger on the pulse because you never know what might be waiting for you on the other side of the door. So make sure you use contact information that you check regularly so that you can keep track of the messages, connection request etc.

    Make a statement with your headline

    Along with your profile image, your headline will be the first thing recruiters and connections see on your profile, so you’ll want to make sure that it communicates relevant information about yourself and your career. Whether you’re a student, young professional or looking for your first job,, always make sure your headline entices people to click on your profile.

    A picture says a thousand words

    As we mentioned before, LinkedIn is a professional platform, so it’s important that you use a profile picture that is professional (no bunny ear filters) and will give the best representation of who you are. We are in 2021, so you don’t have to use an image of you dressed in your best formal attire, however, whatever image you use should be one that you feel will attract recruiters in your field. Headshots are usually the way to go and of course the quality of the image matters, so make sure you use a good camera to take the picture.

    Your account

    On LinkedIn you can choose to use either the free or premium version The free version will give you the basic LinkedIn experience. You’ll be able to connect with people, search profiles, post updates, send private messages, give and request recommendations from your connections and get alerts on saved searches.

    The Premium version offers minor changes that make a huge difference such as being able to search more profiles (the free version limits you to 100), being able to track people who have searched your profile for a longer period of time and many more. The key to a premium account is knowing what you want to use it for, which is why they offer four different premium options which will be tailored to your needs: Job Search, Talent Recruiter, Sales Navigator & Premium Professional. All these options come with a one-month free trial, so you can easily test out which one you think will best for you.

    Education & background

    If you’re starting out, your education is probably going to be the foundation of showing your skills, competency & knowledge. Make sure you include all schools you attended on various levels because that can also allow for connections with mutual alumni’s (former students, classmates etc.). You can also add any achievements, like if you were a prefect, captain of the soccer team or won the interschool debate competition.

    Of course, adding a qualification from a University, college or an online learning platform like Trace Academia will help.

    Experience matters, no matter what it is

    Although education is important, most recruiters are interested in your experience because it shows that you can work in a professional environment and you know how to do at least some of what their role requires. If you don’t have work experience, think of what life experience or skills you do have. Maybe you started a babysitting service, or washed cars to make extra money – that shows you’re entrepreneurial. Maybe you’re comfortable using the Microsoft suite of programmes or understand the ins-and-outs of social media networks; these skills can bring value to your employer

    If you do have formal work experience in your field, great, make sure you definitely include the role title and the responsibilities you had in that role. Internships, volunteer work and leadership programs are also important to include as. If you’ve spent a summer as a waiter or doing any job that you think ‘won’t count’ because it’s not in your field, you’re wrong. As a person entering the world of work, it’s important to show your ability to work in a corporate or professional environment and experiences such as those could indicate to recruiters that you have drive, and ambition.

    Put your skills to the test

    LinkedIn will ask you to select skills that you have in order to help set an algorithm that will show you more opportunities and connections that are primed for your skills, you can add up to 50 skills but make sure you choose a minimum of 5 so that you don’t get boxed in.

    Summaries work well (some recruiters start there)

    Summaries are usually where recruiters start, before they read your entire profile, so you want to make sure you give yourself the best shot to impress them and show them who you are. Don’t be shy to show off a bit of your personality because that’s essentially what will complete your package and illustrate how unique you are.

    Ideally, try to make sure that it isn’t less than 60 words so that you can give as much information about your specialities as possible. Think of the potential keywords recruiters would use when searching for candidates to fill roles that would interest you.

    As we mentioned, a personal comment to this section is important so you should try talking about your goals as well, which will say a lot about you to recruiters.

    To end it off, now that you have your profile ready to go, you have to make sure that you maintain it and the basics of this are pretty simple; Update it with any new information you have, like courses you have taken, and share articles or industry news you find interesting and that you think would add value to your connections. Network and have conversations – you never know when your next opportunity will pop up. Another thing to remember is that it is a social media account, so they will continuously introduce updates that will allow you to do more things or even just more conveniently, so make sure you make use of new features, too.

    Good luck and enjoy pimping out your LinkedIn profile!