How international students can use LinkedIn to boost their employability during Covid-19

How often do you engage with your LinkedIn profile? If the answer is ‘not often’ or that you don’t have one, this guide should help you harness the value of your account to help your employability no matter what stage of your student or graduate journey you’re at. A LinkedIn account, unlike other social media accounts, has a sole focus, your career. Using your account to its full potential can increase your skills, connect you to your industry and put you in line for new job opportunities.

Why should international students create a profile before graduation?

During a time when the job market has had the most worldwide disruption, LinkedIn can help to propel your career options and remove some of the barriers the pandemic has created. By engaging with your account during your student journey, you’ll allow yourself the time to make solid connections with your industry, learn about the companies on your job wish list and create a robust profile that shares your talent. The world of online recruitment has grown even faster over the past year, and having a professional online presence puts you in a position to be offered these roles. Where an employer can look up your skills, educational background and where your unique selling points lie at the touch of a button gives you access to a much wider pool of employment.

Top tips for creating a LinkedIn profile

Use an appropriate photo

Adding a photo is your first step. You don’t need to be in business wear or an office, just choose a neutral location and have the focus on your face so that an employer could identify you in a meeting. Having a photo also boosts your profile, as you’re 14-21 times more likely to be viewed if you have one!

Pick your keywords

Many companies search with keywords to find employees with certain attributes or talents, so use this to your advantage! Research job descriptions for your ideal role and see where your skills match the essential criteria and include it. Just ensure you are capable of all the skills you have included as you may be tested at the interview stage. This is a great way of including your profile in employer searches and putting yourself in a good position to be approached for roles.

What’s your headline?

The headline section of your profile needs to be a clear concise description of who you are and what you can offer a new employer. Include around 5 keywords here to increase your chances of employers finding you.

How to update your summary

This is your chance to catch an employers attention quickly, so write your summary in the style of an elevator pitch. Try to catch their attention in the first few lines and break it down into four key sections;

  1. Key details - who you are

  2. Your skills and achievements - your qualifications, MA, skills learnt voluntarily and any USPs

  3. Your passions - explain why you are so interested in your subject or industry and show your energy, passion and knowledge for the job or sector

  4. Aspirations - what are you looking for, and where do you want to end up?

LinkedIn is not just a tool for employers to search but can be used for your own research too. Try to make some connections while you’re studying and actively seek out recommendations from professors, volunteer leaders or anyone who can endorse your skills. Connecting with your course mates while studying can also give you links to different parts of your industry once you have graduated. LinkedIn groups are also a valuable tool, you’ll see relevant articles in your newsfeed and can see what those in your industry are commenting on.

It can be hard to know where to start but with these tips, you should be able to create a profile that highlights your key talents. For more news and tips for international students, register with GradLink and gain access to our global jobs board and worldwide employers!

By Jen Garmston Published: Feb 18,2021