LinkedIn: Five tips for a great profile

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Most students who come in to use the Careers and Employment service have an idea of what LinkedIn is, many have started to create a profile…but most say they aren’t sure what to put on their profile, or how they should be using LinkedIn.

So, in this first post on LinkedIn – five tips for a great profile!

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A full head shot is best, rather than an arty picture of you in the distance. Your photo will appear as a thumbnail in any search results for instance – where a full head shot will be easier to see. Aim for a reasonably professional-looking photo ie not one that is clearly of you on a beach, or in a bar…

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LinkedIn will set the headline under your photo by default, and it will often say “Student at Sheffield Hallam”. While this is accurate, it does nothing to help you stand out from the other thousands of Sheffield Hallam students. Possible alternatives include:

First Year Software Engineering Student

Final Year English Student with Marketing Experience

Media Graduate | Range of Work Experience | Social Media Expertise

 

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A good summary will entice viewers of your profile to carry on reading the rest of your profile. However, a summary can be difficult to write – after all, how do you sum yourself up?

Refer to your key strengths and skills, and the most important things you want to say about yourself. If you have a clear career in mind, include the keywords that employers in your industry look for. Refer to particularly relevant work experience, or key achievements. It is helpful to say what you are looking for – maybe: “…currently looking for a graduate management role in the UK retail industry”, or “seeking summer work experience in the advertising industry in the north of England “.

Avoid cliches and general statements. Get a friend to read your summary – do they recognise you, or could it apply to anyone on your course? If it’s the latter – change it!

 

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Most students don’t write enough on their profiles. LinkedIn gives you more freedom than a CV where you are limited to two sides of A4. Give details of the work experience you have, and the skills you have developed. Don’t just write your degree title in the “Education” section, but add some information – don’t expect employers to know about the content of your degree. Write about particularly relevant modules, or modules you feel are a strength, projects and achievements, and your research project/dissertation.

 

 

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The privacy settings can be found by clicking your tiny profile photo at the top right of the black header bar. You might want to keep your profile completely hidden while you play around with it and get it looking how you want to – go to “Edit your public profile”, then “Make your public profile visible to no-one”. Don’t forget to make your profile visible again, once you are happy with it!

Need more help?

Come to one of our weekly LinkedIn drop-ins, or an “Are You LinkedIn?” workshop: https://careerscentral.shu.ac.uk/finding-job/social-media or book an appointment with an Employment Adviser.

What can you learn from business leaders?

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Donna is a first year Business and ICT student, who took up a recent opportunity to meet business leaders at the Higher Education Academy in York. Here she tells us what she gained from the day…

Through the Careers and Employability Centre I recently had the opportunity to attend an “Experience” day at The Higher Education Academy. During the day I had meetings with the Head of Business Development, the Head of Business Administration and a Business Analyst. I also attended a Programme Board meeting, where department heads gave updates on their business areas.

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This was a fantastic opportunity for numerous reasons but primarily because it allowed me to get an idea of what future career I want to follow, as while you can read job descriptions it isn’t the same as someone sitting down with you and telling you what they do in a typical day. Secondly it allowed me to apply what I had been learning in my modules to a business setting. Being told the theory is one thing but seeing how it is applied allows you to make connections between topics that you may not have been able to do previously.

Finally being able to socialise with business executives allowed me to ask if they have any advice for me – what did they wish they had known at my age or when they were first starting out in business. They stressed to me the importance of deciding what career I wanted to follow as a target, and then I can develop my learning around this to allow me to gain the skills that match the job description of my target job. This would enable me to be the perfect candidate for when I am ready to apply.

In addition they gave me advice in terms of the importance of continuous development. There are always going to be changes or updates in your chosen field, and if you don’t keep up with them or invest your own time in attending workshops/seminars then you may become stagnant.

Finally they stressed to me the importance of social media and creating a database of contacts who could support me in my career. With this advice in mind I have attended sessions held by the Career and Employability Centre. A key workshop for me was “Learning to use Linked In” as with me being a business student this is something my future employers will check when considering hiring me and the earlier I build connections within my chosen field the more opportunities I will be made aware of.

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Another workshop I have attended is “Creating your own Brand”. I really enjoyed this as we went through creating a business persona and deciding how you want other people to view you ie. do you want someone to think you are creative? intelligent? knowledgeable?

In conclusion it was a great opportunity that taught me loads, reinforced my knowledge and allowed me to create connections with people who could help me in my future career.

Journalism student shares three tips for success

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Journalism student Joshua Barlow gives you the three vital tips to help you succeed that he has learnt during his three years at Sheffield Hallam.

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During my time at university I have learnt a variety of skills and developed into someone who I barely recognise – no longer am I a shrinking violet.

When I first started my degree I wanted to be a fashion editor. I wanted the hustle of a newsroom and the glamour of runways around the world, but having had the past three years to reflect on who I am as a person I have realised that I may have watched one too many episodes of Ugly Betty.

 

Tip 1: Network.

In my seminars and lectures we are constantly reminded that the journalism field is an extremely competitive one. We are told to take as many opportunities as we can and network, network, network.

The old saying ‘It’s not what you know it’s who you know’ has never been more appropriate.

Looking back I realise I feared putting myself out there and making myself known to ‘professionals’ – I was the kind of person who used to think to myself; “Why would they care about what I say/think?”

Everyone has a story to tell, something to share that means you should read their work over someone else’s – and whilst it may appear that I am fighting a losing battle at times, the key is to keep trying and to have a voice.

One of the biggest revelations in networking that I have discovered at university is LinkedIn, which acts as an online CV and gives you a professional space to create your own personal hive of contacts – adding that one person who you interviewed in your first year can be the difference between receiving a professional endorsement or not.

Networking makes links which in turn can lead to a whole variety of opportunities including work experience and jobs.

However, it is not as simple as walking up to someone and saying “Hi, my name is …”.  Whilst this is a nice way to approach someone, it is vital that you have something to offer.

Tip 2: Specialise.

As mentioned above when I started university I wanted to work in the field of fashion, but having developed both professionally and personally I have discovered that my goal is to work in features.

In his essay, Why I write, George Orwell says; “I lacked political purpose” and this is something that speaks to me on many levels.

I believe that as a journalist I have the ability to use my skills to change the world around me – almost like a superpower, and I intend to use this to help those who need it.

My specialisation is mental health writing and it was the realisation of this that has helped me begin to form my journalistic career. It’s led me to write for the university magazine SHUlife, form the basis of my dissertation examining mental health stigma and given me various other projects to work on.

Having a specialisation can set you apart from the rest of the world when you are applying for an internship or job. It is also a major discussion point when you network as it is more likely to make someone remember you – and whilst it is good to have a specialisation, it is also important to note that having a set of general skills ensures that you are not putting yourself into a pigeon hole.

Tip 3: Demonstrate your Skills.

Personally, I am working towards a qualification from the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and am close to achieving a certificate in shorthand.

Whilst you can put a list of skills from your degree on your CV, for example;  writing, interviewing skills and blogging – you could also showcase various examples or experience from work which you may have completed outside of your academic studies. Skills from part-time employment can be transferable and you never know when they will come in handy.

You may think that the customer service experience gained from retail may not help you land your dream job, however, it shows potential employers that you know how to communicate with people and deal with their wants and needs.

Every little skill helps and it is displaying these that could very well set you apart from the crowd (and of course LinkedIn helps as I mentioned earlier.)

So remember, if you are to follow these three tips you have a fighting chance at succeeding in anything you aspire to. It’s about getting yourself out in the world and making yourself known to those who are already working in the professional field – and yes, there will be times when doubt your own ability, but it’s about dusting yourself off and trying again.

You can follow Josh on his blog https://jrbarlow.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VC gets linked in as visit marks official launch

Yesterday marked the official launch of the new centre. The theme for the day was ‘using social media to find work’.

Sessions in the teaching space upstairs were full booked with many students and a handful of staff finding out more about using social media to enhance
their employability. The VC, Philip Jones, attended the launch at lunchtime and spoke to students in the LinkedIn workshop.

There was a steady stream of students and staff in the centre all day to enjoy the free cupcakes and to find out what was on offer to enhance the employability of students at the University.

Today (Tuesday) current students will present their ‘top tips’ on gaining experience to enhance your cv (NB – a Top Tips booklet is available  https://students.shu.ac.uk/services/careers/docs/Top_tips_2013.pdf)
and in the afternoon there is a workshop again involving current students, to launch the new Global graduates scheme, and a workshop on presentation skills. Places are available at each workshop, bookable through the employability tab on shuspace.