Setting up a Linkedin Account
If you are new to the job search in Canada you may have not set up a Linkedin profile yet. While the need to do so can seem confusing when you already have a resume, Linkedin can be an important tool not just for job applications but also for job searches, networking and more.
When you create an account be sure to use your full and proper name. Remember, this account is for potential employers to find you so you want the name to match the one on your resume, cover letter, application and email.
Fill in all the information that is relevant to your job search as you set up a profile. When experiences and skills are asked for only list ones that may be important in a professional setting. This does include any side hustles or volunteering you may have done but not hobbies like scrapbooking, reading, or swimming. When adding skills list anything that could be used in a work environment regardless of where you may have learnt it.
Remember it is not necessary to list all the jobs you have ever held in your life on your profile (just like on your resume!). Depending on how many jobs you have had only list the ones relevant to your job search or the ones you’ve held in the last few years. Try to aim for a short list. This is why the skills section is important to fill out but be truthful! If you knew how to use a certain program or piece of machinery ten years ago you should not list it now, instead list “able to learn new programs quickly” or something similar.
Pick a professional looking photo to use for your profile. Make sure it is recent, well-lit and doesn’t contain any other people or anything offensive. It is very noticeable if your profile picture has something cropped out of it. If you need something new, get a friend to take one; find a well-lit space in front of a blank wall or generic background. Be sure your appearance is professional-similar to how you would look when going to a job interview.
When picking a headline use your last relevant job in the field you are searching for or perhaps “student.” Do not use it to say that you are looking for jobs. When writing your summary say what kind of job you are looking for while describing yourself with a few words, something like “organized and efficient science student looking for experience in data entry.”
Now that your profile is set up you can reach out to friends and contacts that may also be on Linkedin. Remember to check your settings as people will get notifications that you viewed their profile unless you are in private mode. If you plan to reach out to people in your field that you have not met send them a short message first telling them why you are reaching out. Do not ask to meet or for advice in the initial message, instead wait until they accept the connection.
You can also follow companies and pages and see what they post in the news feed (very similar set up to Facebook). You can see what your connections are up to and read news about businesses you may want to work for. This is a good way to learn more about a potential field.
Don’t ignore your account once it is set up! Update it when necessary and reach out to your connections to endorse your skills (be sure to reciprocate!). Remember, while some applications may ask for a link to your profile, it should never be used in place of a resume. Your profile is more of a generic overview of your experience while a resume and cover letter should be tailored to each job application. Use your LinkedIn for resume inspiration if needed.