Summer is a great time to get some work experience and many students secure internships for this period. If you haven’t done so yet there is still time to try. LinkedIn can be a very useful tool in achieving that internship.
Showcase your experience and achievements
Following from my last post about where to start with LinkedIn, now you have set up your profile and started to build your network by connecting to people you know. Make sure that your profile is accurate and detailed including education, volunteering activities, part-time work, extra-curricular activities or academic projects. Use your headline and summary to announce to the world that you are looking for an internship. So instead of “Student of XYZ” you can use something like “Aspiring XYZ looking for internship in ZYX”. Ask for recommendations or endorsements from your university tutors if you think they were impressed enough with you to do so or managers from your part-time jobs.
Top tip: Turn off your Activity Broadcast if you are changing or updating your profile. If you don’t, every time you make a change your connections will be notified which can be irritating.
Develop your network
In my last post about LinkedIn, I advised you to connect with people you know: family, friends, former colleagues, classmates, even neighbours could be a useful connection. If you are a more eager student you might have met employees from companies you are interested in at Careers Fairs and Insight Days who you can connect with if they accept your invitation. In this case, make sure to write a customised invitation explaining who you are and where you met. Don’t ask for an internship on your invitation. Start by building a conversation with something like “Dear Mr. Brown, It was great speaking to you at xyz last week. I would like to connect with you to learn more about [company].” Do not get discouraged if they don’t reply. People are busy so you just have to keep trying and contact new people.
“It only takes 50 trusted connections to make an impact on your network so get connecting. You can use LinkedIn University Pages to find out where people from your university ended up and connect with them for advice and introductions” says Darain Faraz, a spokesperson for LinkedIn.
It is important to learn as much as possible about the sector you’re interested in and keep up to date with the companies within it. Visit pages of companies where you would like to do an internship.
In Company pages, companies:
- reveal their culture
- announce recent developments and projects
- inform on how to contact them
- update on who are their current employees and who have they hired recently
- post jobs
You can also keep up with the news in your industry by using LinkedIn’s Pulse (under Interests on the top bar above your profile) and joining industry groups (more on this next week in my next post about LinkedIn).
Don’t expect to find a dream job or placement after just a couple of weeks on LinkedIn. You are supposed to build your network before you need it. At this point, your network is probably of a modest size because you are just starting. Networking won’t necessarily produce instant results. You need to keep working on it. Do this step by step, do not neglect your account but don’t spend every minute of the day on LinkedIn either, especially at a time when you should be revising.
Darain Faraz advises that “Just 9 minutes a day spent making new connections or honing your profile on LinkedIn is all it takes to make an impact. Working this into your daily revision schedule is a great way to get benefits without committing hours of your time”
Stay positive and do the best you can with the time you have.