The evolving trend of connection-based recruitment is changing how UBC students and alumni tell their professional stories online, find work, and develop their careers. From new to expert LinkedIn users, whether you’re looking for opportunities to practice tell your story, build your personal brand, and strengthen connections or make new ones—don't worry! We've got you.
How to Effectively Use LinkedIn
Build a profile
Professional profile photo
A photo is an effective way to tell your story and engage your audience. Take a moment to consider including a profile picture as profiles with photos are 7 times more likely to be viewed. Your profile photo is a persistent element for your audience. Wherever you appear on LinkedIn, your profile photo will show. Consider what you are trying to convey to your audience (your network, colleagues, or prospective employers) and pick your photo accordingly—a headshot that isn’t cropped. Ask a friend with a smartphone to take your headshot using portrait mode.
For the best quality profile photo, choose one with a resolution of 1400 x 425 pixels.
Tip: Consider changing your background photo as well.
Your headline draws attention to your profile as it is another persistent element that shows up underneath your name. The headline is an opportunity to show your personality and your uniqueness by telling others what you are interested in now or looking to be a part of in the future. You may want to consider which audience or opportunity you are trying to connect with - write a headline that may interest them. Typical headlines include your title/position/student status.
- UBC Philosophy graduate seeking… position
- Sustainability Advocate | UBC Biology student | Aspiring…
If your photo or headline compels someone to click your profile, your summary is the first place where they can learn more about you and decide if they want to engage with you further. The summary is similar to a cover letter, where you can speak about your unique skills and values that you bring to the workplace. This is a chance for your own unique voice to be heard, and ultimately, it should encourage people to read further into your profile.
Consider using a persuasive summary for framing:
- Who you are
- The value you provide
- Something to add a bit of personality
List all your work experiences - both part-time and full time. Each experience should be followed by a brief description of your accomplishments and responsibilities in those previous or current roles. Be sure to write using accomplishment statements to best showcase your experiences.
Now that you have a list of experiences, use this section as an e-portfolio to add some media - a layer of credibility to your written bullets. Examples include writing, infographics, videos, and website URLs, so long as they are not confidential.
Tip: To display your works/accomplishments in a less public space, you can create an e-portfolio on UBC Blogs and add the URL to your profile
Other Sections of Your Profile
We recommend taking the time with the above four sections to ensure that a clear story is being told through your profile. Once you have worked on these four elements, you have an opportunity to continue to practice telling your story through the other sections of your profile, which you can learn more about below.
Tip: If you are interested in learning more about using LinkedIn as a social media manager and building a brand, take a look at some great suggestions in this LinkedIn guide.
Just because LinkedIn has over 610433 million registered users, doesn’t make connecting with people any easier. Meeting new people and networking can be challenging, but consider LinkedIn a place for you to practice engaging with people. Networking is a form of relationship building, which means it takes effort and time. This is why networking is difficult for the majority of us. The good news is that many of you are experienced and understand how to interact in a digital media setting. Do not be scared about the “professional” setting of LinkedIn, as long as you consider your reasons for engaging. Whether reconnecting with people we already know or reaching out to someone new, your first step is figuring out who you want to connect with and why? And how?
Ways to connect professionally
- Like or comment on their posts
- Join LinkedIn groups
- Ask for specific advice
- Request an informational interview
- Post content (articles, videos, job postings)
- Send someone an article
- Conference, association, event connection follow-up
- Endorse them (and their skills)
- Write a recommendation
Methods to Connect
LinkedIn provides a platform that allows you to engage in passive and active ways of connecting with others. Wherever your level of comfort is, you use the passive and active methods below to build up the repetitions and courage needed to define, test, and implement the ways you connect with others through LinkedIn.
Use the UBC Alumni Search Tool to discover connections
You can passively search to see all UBC Alumni on LinkedIn. This is a great way of understanding where graduates are working, what positions are out there, and gather information on how other alumni progressed in their career. Information gathering is vital to understanding your own story and clarifying what you want you future story to be—in careers, you can’t be what you can’t see.
Use Personalized Connection Requests
You can actively build your network through connection requests. LinkedIn provides you with an auto-generated connection invitation. However, you can practice crafting a personalized message emphasizing why you wish to connect.
This can be viewed as a simplified online version of an elevator pitch, a great skill to practice for your career.
Reaching out to someone you do not know can be daunting, so consider practicing with someone you have already worked with in the past. Remember to have grace for yourself, as the process of reaching out to someone will not be perfect and can feel discouraging if we do not hear back from the person.
Consider you are the person that receives a connection request and what would be in that message that might interest you to accept the request. What value do you bring to the prospective connection? How do you want to utilize their expert opinion and their time?
Tip: consider including your UBC education in your “Education” section of your profile. Not only will it keep you connected to other UBC students and alumni, but you'll find it especially useful after you graduate to keep up with what they're doing.
Find a job
Now that you've built out your profile and made some connections, you can start to use LinkedIn as a tool to start your career. You may just be who they're looking for!
- Download the LinkedIn Students App to get a personalized guide to potential career paths. It’s a resource designed specifically for students to explore career options. You can find out the kinds of positions that UBC alumni are in right now as well as the companies that they are working for. The app customizes what it shows you based on your profile details so you’ll be getting information best suited for you.
- Follow companies and organizations that you're interested in. You'll get updates about what the company is up to and if they're hiring. You might just learn about a new student opening, internship, or a shadowing opportunity.
- When you're ready to start your job search, head to the “Jobs” tab at the top of the LinkedIn site. From there, you can filter the kind of work you're looking for by location and experience level.
- LinkedIn also recommends jobs for you in the “Discover” section, so make sure to customize your job preferences in the “Preferences” tab to see the job opportunities that are tailored for you.
- This is also a time to make use of your Connections. If you have a Connection working at a company you're interested in, send them a message and see if they're willing to answer any questions you may have. You never know if you they can get you acquainted with someone or somewhere closer to where you want to be.
- Check out LinkedIn’s tip sheet for students looking to find a job or internship.
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