LinkedIn is a professional social networking site with truly global reach. Over 3 million companies have a LinkedIn company page and of the 400 million members, over 39 million are students and recent graduates.

It has become an increasingly popular tool for employers to use to search for potential candidates and to advertise positions. It's therefore really important to know how to use this tool effectively as part of your job hunting.

How it can help?

It's a really useful and effective tool to:

  • Research organisations
  • Gain information on the job market
  • Market yourself to future employers
  • Promote your skills and strengths
  • Network with Heriot-Watt Alumni and other contacts
  • Search for jobs

Top Tips for Using LinkedIn

Create a Strong Profile
  • Include a summary to highlight your key skills, what you're capable of and what you're looking for.
  • Show off your qualifications and experience and tell people what you're passionate about. Think key words mirroring what employers will be searching for on-line to find good matches for their jobs.
  • Collect valued recommendations and endorsements from previous employers and other appropriate contacts.
  • Include a professional looking photo and add relevant documents that evidence your knowledge, skill-set and interests.
  • Ensure all content is correctly spelt and grammatically correct
  • Manage your account and privacy settings by following this advice
Build Relevant Connections
  • Start to build up your network not just for today but for your future.
  • Start by inviting people you know to ‘connect' with you from your wide network of coursemates, current and former bosses at work, friends, family, academic tutors, careers adviser. This will open up new connections which may lead to opportunities. Remember it's the quality not the quantity of your connections that's important.
  • Send some personalised invitations to give context for your connections. For example, “Thanks for speaking with me at the careers fair last week. Will you join my network so we can discuss possible job opportunities? Thank you very much.”
  • Or “Would you mind if I called you later this week for a 10-15 minute chat about your experience at Nestle and your thoughts on the current job market within the food industry? I'd really appreciate any time you can provide.”
Join Relevant Groups and Follow Organisations
  • This allows you to view industry or company information, build up your commercial awareness and access job vacancies. See what groups others within the industry are in. Share and like content to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm. If you feel confident enough, create your own relevant content
Search Heriot-Watt Alumni
  • LinkedIn's Alumni tool LinkedIn Heriot-Watt Alumni Group is a fantastic way to find out what Heriot-Watt graduates from your course have gone onto do. By scrolling down to the Career Insights section you can see a snapshot of who they work for, where they're based and what jobs they do. You can search the alumni group by title, keyword or company.
  • Make the most of your alumni network by being proactive and opening up a dialogue with some key alumni them by sending a personalized professional message. Remember they've been in your shoes so you can be open and honest and most will be more than happy to help you in some way.
  • Tap into their wealth of inside knowledge and tips about getting into their career area, current labour market, starting out, application and interview advice. They could end up being your informal careers mentor or even better it could lead onto actual job opportunities!
Use the Job Search Facility
  • By clicking on the ‘Jobs' tab in the top menu bar you can use keywords to search for graduate positions within your fields of interest. You can also update your career interests to keep recruiters up-to-date, receive relevant messages and stand out in their searches
Be Professional
  • Remember LinkedIn is a professional NOT a social networking tool like Facebook. The majority of employers use the internet to research applicants. It's therefore vital whether editing your profile, writing a direct message or posting within a group to ensure your content is relevant, grammatically correct, correctly spelt and professional.