10 tips for mastering LinkedIn

Here are The Gateway's top tips for managing your professional presence online

More and more employers are starting to take the social media activities of their applicants into account when offering jobs. While it's best practice to ramp up your Facebook privacy all the way and always tweet with caution, LinkedIn is the perfect opportunity to show yourself off as a credible hire. And with recruiters in some industries even hunting down attractive workers via LinkedIn, having a great profile could really pay off one day, making it worth the investment while you're still a student...

1. Don't be afraid to connect

The threshold for adding someone to your connections list is a lot lower than making a friend request on Facebook. If you meet someone on work experience or at a networking event, then it's absolutely appropriate to connect on LinkedIn - and that's how you build a strong network.

2. Stay concise

LinkedIn offers unlimited space for you to wax lyrical about yourself, but make sure you're writing for potential employers and not your own ego. The quicker you can demonstrate why you're great at what you do, the more likely someone is to act on it.

3. Endorse and recommend

It'd be ridiculous to endorse Sir Alan Sugar's skills in entrepreneurship, but you know your peers and can back up their expertise. Your generous spirit will inevitably pay off as people think to endorse you in return, enhancing your profile.

4. Remember you're in public

Anyone can see your LinkedIn profile, so don't put anything on there that you don't want everyone to know. If, for instance, you get an amazing internship offer, it's best not to announce it before you've politely backed out of your summer job. There are adjustable privacy settings, but as the page is for professional self-promotion, it's best to only post things you'd be happy for a stranger to see.

5. Be search-friendly

Bear in mind most people will find your profile either from Google or LinkedIn's own search engine. Play up to the search functions by getting key words into your profile. Mention your career ambitions on your page and you'll be more like to appear in search results, and establish a connection with your dream career.

6. Get a good picture

Your photo is the first thing people will notice about your profile, and it's all too easy to dismiss accounts with a placeholder image. While that snap of you in a toga might look divine, it's best to go for something sober, perhaps even suited, to fit in.

7. Group up

Every university will have an alumni group and companies and societies might offer a user area as well. Make sure you check up on these as people often post job opportunities that don't appear publicly.

8. Be honest

It's always tempting to whitewash your credentials on social media but, because LinkedIn displays a lot of the same information as your CV, you should make sure it's just as accurate and representative.

9. Keep at it

While the network isn't as fast-paced as Twitter or as engrossing as Facebook, make sure you invest some time in keeping up-to-date. Noticing a career move by an old friend might be just the opportunity you need to find out more about a career path, or get an inside track on what a company is doing.

10. Beware the overshare

While LinkedIn is a valuable tool, there's a line to be drawn. Constantly updating, endorsing and sending out requests gets annoying fast, so practice moderation if you want to succeed.