Careers Service

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

Benefits and Drawbacks

LinkedIn is a social networking site aimed mainly at people in professional occupations. Here we've highlighted how LinkedIn can benefit your career.

Reasons to use LinkedIn

There are many benefits to using LinkedIn. It can help you to:

  • stay informed about your contacts and industry
  • find the people and knowledge you need to achieve your career goals
  • create and control your professional identity online
  • find jobs - some employers, for example L’Oreal, now use LinkedIn as a direct recruitment portal 

Being active on LinkedIn also increases your ranking on Google, making it easier for potential employers to find you.

Drawbacks of using LinkedIn

There are some disadvantages to LinkedIn. You only have one profile so you can’t tailor it to individual jobs.

It can initially feel intimidating. You may feel like you are ‘bothering’ senior professionals.

Out-of-date profiles can be common. Keeping yours up-to-date is important as it’s so visible.

Invitations to connect can also be ignored. Make sure yours doesn’t end up in the deleted items folder. It's best to add a personal note when connecting with someone.

Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a useful tool for creating, maintaining and expanding your professional network, and for researching careers and organisations.

Making connections

Begin by connecting to existing contacts such as friends, family, classmates, academics, colleagues and employers from part-time jobs and internships, volunteering and extra-curricular activities.

Read our step-by-step guide, with example questions to get you started and connect with Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn.

Access influential people

Try not to be intimidated by people in senior roles. Connect with people whose careers you admire, by using the advanced people search.

Use a keyword search relevant to your career interests, eg ‘video games’, to show related profiles. Make sure you personalise any request to connect.

Request introductions

These help you to expand your network. You can ask an existing connection to introduce you to someone who is a second or third level connection, but not yet known to you.

Follow a company’s own page

Company profiles often have details of the organisation's products and services. They also often include where people have worked before. Use company search to find these.

Send messages

If you’re a member of the same group as someone, you can send them a direct message.

Add a personal note

Generic invitations are often ignored. To connect with someone make it personal. You should:

  • tailor your message in the ‘personal note’ box when you click to connect with someone
  • look at their LinkedIn profile – do you have any similar interests, anyone in common?
  • be clear why you want to connect but your reason should not be to request a job or work experience

Using LinkedIn proactively

Showing your interest

Comment on industry-specific articles and ask questions in LinkedIn groups. This shows you're engaged and proactive. Avoid controversy unless you want to create a particular professional persona. Asking a well-considered question demonstrates you are business and industry aware.

Be conscious of what you ask in groups. Do your research (at the least a Google search) before you ask a question and don’t ask anything that has an obvious answer.

Researching organisations, roles, staff and jobs

LinkedIn is also a great tool to research different jobs and organisations: 

Find staff who work for the company you are researching

Searching by ‘relationship’ allows you to see your first, second and third degree contacts. Ask any contacts for information that could help you in the application process.

Investigate career paths

You can investigate career paths by looking at individual profiles to identify key skills, knowledge and experience current employees at a particular company have.

You can also search by degree subject, particular skills you want to use in a job and get inspiration from what alumni are doing by using the LinkedIn Find Alumni tool.

Find advertised vacancies

You can also use LinkedIn to find advertised jobs

Before an interview

Before you go for an interview, it's a good idea to check your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile. This will help you find out more about them and see if there is anything you have in common.

More Help

The Careers Service organises a workshop for using LinkedIn, and can provide feedback on your LinkedIn profile. There are also a number of external websites that can provide information and advice for using LinkedIn.

Advice from the Careers Service

Attend our careers workshop, ‘Using LinkedIn for career success’. For dates and times, see our events section.

You can also get feedback on your LinkedIn profile in the Careers Service. For advice on how to create a profile, see our CVs and applications section.

Advice from LinkedIn

For help with using LinkedIn, visit the LinkedIn Help Center.

Search for Newcastle alumni and find out what they've studied, what they're skilled at and where they work using the LinkedIn Alumni Tool.

Follow news and industry leaders (‘influencers’). Search for news relating to specific ‘channels’, eg Higher Education, careers, marketing strategies, through LinkedIn Today.

See also the LinkedIn blog: Career checklist for students.