What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a professional social networking website. It provides you with the opportunity to post a professional profile, network, research employers and apply for specific positions. As of July 2022, LinkedIn had over 930 million users worldwide, including more than 29 million in Canada and 312,000 University of Toronto alumni (figures quoted are from the LinkedIn “about us” page.
Do Employers Use LinkedIn?
According to the 2020 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey which sampled over 1500 recruiting and human resources professionals, 72% of employers recruit through LinkedIn.
1. How Can LinkedIn Help You?
You can use LinkedIn to:
- Create a professional online profile
- Connect with your current network
- Search for and connect with new contacts by industry, educational institution (e.g. UTM Alumni), and company
- Research companies
- Participate in online groups
- Get up-to-date labour market information.
Social media is a very public medium. If you choose to be online, remember the following:
- LinkedIn profiles can be reviewed by anyone. If you are concerned about displaying your information publicly, LinkedIn may not be a good resource for you.
- Consider your privacy settings. Do you want your profile open to everyone or to your contacts only? You can choose who can see which parts of your profile in the privacy settings section. We recommend that you keep your profile private until you have had the opportunity to complete it so potential employers don’t see an incomplete profile.
- Keep all social media information positive and professional. Employers will frequently look at the social media accounts of prospective employees. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will sometimes scan for your web presence, and pull information from your LinkedIn profile to compliment your job application.
3. Building a Professional Profile
The first thing that potential contacts and employers will see is your profile. An effective profile includes:
- A professional picture; be consistent through all your social media.
- An up-to-date profile; make sure to update it regularly with relevant information.
- A powerful headline and summary.
- Highlights of your academic background (e.g. Projects, internships, experience) that would be of interest to potential employers.
- A personalized url so you can include it on your resume.
- Presenting your experience with descriptive, relevant language, including your title, summary, and experience sections.
- Recommendations from those who can positively describe your work.
- Log into LinkedIn frequently as formatting changes regularly. Ensure that your information is up-to-date with the current format.
Need Help with Your Profile?
- LinkedIn provides tips on creating an effective profile.
- Once you have completed your profile, you can have it critiqued at the Career Centre. Please call us to make an appointment.
- Check with the Career Centre to have your professional LinkedIn photo taken, for free!
4. Featuring Your Work
Providing samples of your work can enhance your profile significantly. LinkedIn allows you to add samples as documents, videos, links, and presentations.
To add samples of your work:
- Select “Edit Profile”
- At the bottom of each experience and education entry, select “Upload”. Be sure to check supported file formats (by checking the link in this section of your profile).
*Remember to seek the permission of your employer (or team members) before you post anything in this section in case there are any confidentiality or copyright issues.*
5. Inviting Your Current Contacts
- Personalize your invitations. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to mass mail invitations or to personalize them. It’s recommended that you personalize each invitation reminding the contact who you are and why you would like to connect with them.
- Add contacts from other social media networks. Some of the people that you know on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter could be valuable networking contacts.
- Import your contacts from your email. Doing this step can help you establish your first set of contacts, and eventually allow you to extend your network beyond just your mutual friends.
- Treat your connections the way you would like to be treated. This means respecting their time, thanking them for their help and staying in touch (versus contacting them only when you need help).
6. Searching for Contacts
LinkedIn’s search results will let you know if/how you are connected to an individual. A 1st-degree contact is someone to whom you are already connected. A 2nd level connection is someone to whom you have a mutual contact.
7. Networking on LinkedIn
- Search companies you’re interested in to see if you have contacts who work there. If you have a strong relationship with a mutual contact, consider requesting that they introduce you to see if the new contact would conduct an information interview.
- Search for UTM alumni. Consider connecting with U of T alumni working in your field/industry/company of interest for advice. In the search box, type in your school (Eg. University of Toronto Mississauga), and look for the school’s page. Select "See Alumni". You can filter your search (e.g. by keywords, title, and company) to identify UTM Alumni to connect with.
- Monitor and participate in group discussions. You can learn a great deal about your career area/industry by listening to these professionals and asking relevant questions.
- View the connections of your connections. People you know may be connected to people in your career area; if so, ask your connections for an introduction (remember: personalize your requests, explaining why this connection could be helpful).
- Ask for advice, not for a job. Advice and information can help you understand what a career is really like and what you need to do to be competitive when you graduate. As you establish connections, you can ask about potential opportunities and hiring/recruitment practices. Please review the Information Interview tip sheet for tips on the types of questions to ask.
8. Maintaining Your Relationships
- Always thank anyone who helps. Send thank-you notes each time you speak with someone, outlining how they helped you.
- Keep your requests reasonable. While many people are happy to help, you don’t want to overload anyone.
- Give back. Remember that networking is a two-way street. If you find an article or other information that you think a contact would value, forward it, and provide others with connections and help when possible, too!
- Update your contacts. Periodically update your contacts to let them know how you are doing. This way, you are not only contacting them when you need something.
9. Finding Career and Employment Information
- Company Search. LinkedIn can be especially helpful if you know of an organization that interests you already. Simply search for the organization on LinkedIn and you can find stats on the company, current employees, former employees, as well as their past or current position within the company. A number of organizations post their positions on LinkedIn.
- Job Listings. LinkedIn allows you to search jobs and apply filters including location, company, job type, and experience level (eg. entry-level). These positions often have the name of the recruiter listed which allows you to contact them with any questions. To search for a job, click the Jobs icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage, then type a job title, keyword, or company name in the search box and click Search.
- Industry Information. There are many industry-related groups on LinkedIn. Join groups in the industries in which you are most interested in to learn about trends and relevant events.
10. Publishing Articles on LinkedIn
LinkedIn allows you to post article entries, which is a great way to demonstrate your professional knowledge and writing skills. Further information is available at the LinkedIn Help Centre.
Please note that this information is subject to change. It is best to refer to the original sources and sites for the most up-to-date information.
Updated July 2023