On Thursday, 1 October 2020, Sunway Career Services held a virtual career talk titled “Enhancing Employability through LinkedIn” with Mondelez International through Zoom from 1-2pm. The career talk was joined by Geraldine David and JC from Mondelez International, 44 Sunway students and moderated by Thisalini Valliatham from Sunway Career Services.
First off, the speaker of the talk, Geraldine David, started the talk by giving a warm welcome to the participants and thanked everyone for their participation. Then, she shared that the main objective of the talk is to improve student’s resume and job employability by enhancing LinkedIn profile as the layout of a person’s LinkedIn can highly affect the job employability. After that, she introduced herself briefly and she shared that after 12 years of experience in recruiting, she found a few important key points that most recruiters look for in an applicant’s LinkedIn when recruiting potential employees. Hence, she decided to share those key points to help more recent graduates or freshies to enhance their LinkedIn profiles.
Before going into the main topic of the talk, Geraldine David introduced Mondelez International to give an insight of the brand. She shared that Mondelez International is one of the most leading snack brands in the world with over 80 brands globally such as Chips Ahoy, Ritz and Oreos, Sour Patch. She explained that Mondelez International took great pride in making more high quality snacks for the consumers and their main objective is to empower people to snack right. Currently, the company has 9 global brands and 60+ local jewels!
What is LinkedIn and what is it for?
After that, Geraldine continued with the main topic of the talk by giving a brief introduction of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is currently the largest business-oriented networking website that is widely used by its 5 millions members. With LinkedIn, she explained that it can be a useful tool for professionals to gain exposure and showcase their skills. She shared that most hiring managers or recruiters, including herself, tend to pay more attention towards individuals who frequently update their LinkedIn profiles. However, she noticed that most students or recent fresh graduates tend to neglect to use LinkedIn as a helpful way to connect with other like-minded individuals from the industries and gain exposure to recruiters globally or locally. As the largest business-oriented networking website, she also encouraged the participants to use LinkedIn to research on companies and leaders.
Basics to Building A LinkedIn Profile
According to Geraldine, there are 7 fundamental rules to build a good LinkedIn profile. Firstly, add a good profile picture where the face is clearly visible. She explained a visible profile picture can help recruiters to avoid any scammers. Secondly, add industry on one’s profile to help recruiters to search easily as LinkedIn will filter the search result down to applicants that fit the requirements. Thirdly, draft a compelling summary. She emphasized that the summary should be straight to the point and she also encouraged participants to avoid using any generic words. Fourthly, add examples of relevant work from the past to demonstrate skills and capabilities to the recruiters. Fifthly, add relevant skills such as project management and good communication skills. Sixthly, add current location. With this, LinkedIn will customise the feed by suggesting any available job position based on the current location. Lastly, add a headline. She explained the headline should be only 3 to 4 words and it should help applicants to stand out among others.
How to stand out on LinkedIn
The LinkedIn profile page is the core foundation for one’s personal branding. There are many ways to a better LinkedIn profile, but these are the six main ways discussed by Geraldine.
First and foremost, add a background image representing one’s interest or field as the default background is a blue image. This helps to grab people’s attention and conveys one’s personal or professional brand. Besides the background image, it is advisable to custom the URL according to one’s name. Take note that not to use a nickname! It will come in handy if the resume is too long, and it can be streamlined by putting the link to find out more on the resume.
Furthermore, Geraldine also discussed notifying the network of changes through the privacy tab at the LinkedIn profile. This can help start a conversation and spark new career opportunities with the connections. Moreover, she recommended reordering skills according to relevance to make sure the audience captures the most relevant on the top. Emphasise the things have accomplished or skills learned such as leadership skills and time management, rather than just reporting the tasks. Last but not least, be creative by adding multimedia or anything that has been done and proud of it. It demonstrates one’s passion and commitment, as well.
Networking on LinkedIn
Science has shown the most successful people are often also those who rely heavily on networking power. Author Porter Gale once said, “Your network is your net worth.” So the question is how to build a network on LinkedIn?
Geraldine suggested that this can be started simply by connecting with familiar people, such as classmates, seniors, and colleagues. Personalize the LinkedIn requests by stating why one would like to add them as a connection. Do not just click connect without any notes, as it would seem like a random adding spree.
Furthermore, one can also leverage the LinkedIn group according to one’s industry to obtain information and enhance the network. Not only that, but she also advised participants to follow the company page, which they are interested in finding out how a business is operating and the company’s updates.
Job and Career on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunities for people everywhere. Here are some tips which are given by Geardline for those participants who are seeking job opportunities on LinkedIn. Always check if there are any of the LinkedIn connections connected to it before applying as they might be able to pull a few strings. Moreover, LinkedIn does have the setup job alerts that can notify the users of the latest job available via emails. This feature is useful, especially to those who are always busy, and with this feature, they will not be missing out on any suitable opportunities. The users will also be able to customise the notification according to their job interests.
Customize LinkedIn Settings
LinkedIn also allows users to customise his/her profile settings. The users can control their email settings to prioritise the notifications that matter to them, especially seeking a job not to miss those messages. Not only that, there is a privacy setting which helps to hide the user’s identity when viewing a profile. Hence, the other user will not be notified if his/her profile has been viewed. In order for LinkedIn to customise the jobs that one might be interested in, the users have to edit their profile by indicating as many job titles.
Other LinkedIn features
Like most social platforms, LinkedIn is constantly evolving and adding features to help users to get the most out of connecting with others, typically for professional reasons. One of the features which LinkedIn provides is attaching a file to a message. The users can attach their resume and any vital documents when messaging someone from Human Resources or Talent Application. Besides that, LinkedIn will read what the users have followed and customise their feed according to it. Lastly, the users are able to download their LinkedIn profile as a resume once the profile has completely updated.
Questions and answer session
Question by one of the participants: Is there a technique to phrase our post on LinkedIn to improve personal branding? Is there anything we shouldn’t avoid in our posts?
Geraldine: There are no such templates; there is no right and wrong. However, you can observe how others post, especially the people you want to emulate and follow.
Question by one of the participants: Can we use LinkedIn for the internship?
Geraldine: LinkedIn is much more for junior-senior level roles. On the other hand, internship opportunities are posted more on Jobstreet first. LinkedIn can be used when you have graduated.
In a nutshell, there are plenty of benefits that LinkedIn can provide, and in fact, it is one of the most powerful professional tools. It allows individuals to build and maintain a network, search for jobs, build a professional reputation, and many more through LinkedIn. Most importantly, the LinkedIn basic account is free for everyone! So why wait?
Written by: Nicholas and Joan
Edited by: Pei Zoe