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Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

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3 Creating your online profile

To make the most of LinkedIn, you need to build up your profile with as much relevant information as possible. Having a completed profile offers you a greater chance for networking success, and LinkedIn helps you with suggestions along the way to complete your profile. Creating your profile is the online equivalent of creating your CV, so is a core task of your identity work.

Tips for building an effective profile that attracts recruiters/employers

Figure 3 LinkedIn suggestions

During the first stage of setting up your profile, LinkedIn will give you useful suggestions and recommendations. For example, you may not have thought about adding any additional languages you can speak or awards you have received as well as the usual qualifications (Figure 3).

  1. It’s important to include a professional looking photograph. Your photo should have only you in it from the shoulders up. If you already have a photo on LinkedIn, make sure it’s up to date, as an old photo can cause a surprise when you meet someone in person! To make the most of your profile, get a professional photographer or ask someone with a good quality camera to take your photo. Dress smartly, as if you are attending an interview, and keep the background simple so as not to detract from your face.
  2. Your professional tagline (under your name) is a great opportunity to use some key words to highlight what you have to offer in terms of skills; for example, research and problem solving or communications skills. Most people use the tagline to show their current job title, but if you are not currently working then you will need to think up a tagline that sums up your experience and what you are hoping to do, using language that attracts recruiters. Activity 3 will help you with developing such a tagline.

Activity 3 Creating a tagline that attracts recruiters

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

When you are creating your tagline, you need to use attention-grabbing keywords that will help to entice a recruiter into looking through your profile and seeing what you have to offer.

Start by thinking about keywords that recruiters would use to find you on LinkedIn – you will find inspiration in job descriptions in the ‘essential criteria’ section and other LinkedIn profiles. For example, if you are looking for a mechanical engineering role you could use some of the following keywords: analysis, CAD, development, performance, testing, engineering, electrical, and so on.

In marketing language, your tagline is essentially your Unique Selling Point (USP). What unique qualities or skills do you have that you can offer an employer? Put yourself in the employer’s shoes and ask yourself questions: ‘Why should I hire you? What have you got to offer my company? What value can you bring to a company or organisation?’