Avoid overwhelm and comparison to get the best out of LinkedIn
9 February 2022
If you're thinking about careers, graduate opportunities, a job alongside your studies or a summer job, you'll probably be familiar with LinkedIn. UCL Careers Advisor Victoria shares her tips on reducing overwhelm so you can make the most out of the network.
LinkedIn is a social media platform to connect with other professionals, students, colleagues and experts in your specialism or field. You can explore career opportunities, showcase your skills and competencies, plus it’s a great vehicle for your academic achievements and professional successes. It’s also fantastic for keeping up to date with trends and developments within your sector. A pretty useful and invigorating place to hang out, you might say?
However, the dreaded ‘comparisonitis’ and feelings of overwhelm and ‘enough-ness’ can invade your thoughts all too quickly. Looking at someone else’s life on LinkedIn, with their media-savvy profile picture, long list of accomplishments and enviable internships can soon engulf your thoughts and lead to negativity.
Avoiding social comparison, ‘The Thief of Joy,’ when using LinkedIn
The social media effect
An obvious but important point here; what you see is not always what you get. Of course, everyone loves to present their highlights and successes on LinkedIn, with a clear disregard for the low points, struggles and downright failures. Remember that the profile on screen is not always a realistic or true representation of reality.
Remember the bigger picture
When building your profile, display as much about your professional self as possible – not just internships and work experience, but also your volunteering, university projects, extracurricular activities and your articles, blogs, and personal interests. These all add a depth of personality and showcase you as an individual, not just a social media presence.
An opportunity to learn and grow
Instead of feeling overwhelmed when scrolling, consider using LinkedIn as a platform for continued growth. Take inspiration from the successful people or thought leaders that you follow on the platform. What have they done throughout their career, and even more importantly how, to continue learning and growing? How can you emulate their achievements or even better, create your own version of success?
Positivity cannot be overlooked! Try to replace pressure with inspiration, defeat with collaboration, and overwhelm with creativity.
Practical tips to make the most of LinkedIn as a tool for your professional growth and career development
Creating your profile
Creating a profile may seem daunting at first, but if you have an up-to-date CV, then you have the starting point for your LinkedIn profile. A professional headshot is also recommended for your profile image.
Don't skimp on the details
Your profile should largely reflect the information you are giving in your CV, with a clear breakdown of the skills and the area you wish your career to develop in. Don’t forget, recruiters regularly use LinkedIn as a tool to find prospective job candidates, so using the right key words can boost your visibility.
Start building connections as soon as possible. You do not have to wait until you have a few years’ experience post-graduation under your belt. You can start small by connecting with friends, family, fellow students and work colleagues. As you connect with people, you will then have access to their own networks, and this is how your sphere of influence can start to grow.
When sending connection requests, take advantage of the option to send your request along with a brief message. The personal touch can make all the difference when building professional relationships. Similarly, remember that you do not have to connect with everyone who sends you a message.
Expanding your network
If you are finding it hard to expand your networks into a particular industry, LinkedIn also has a useful Groups function that can allow you to network with employees in that line of work and join in with professional discussions. Take part, share content and engage.
As your LinkedIn confidence grows, you can also ask people who have worked with you to give you a recommendation or endorsement, further boosting your professional credentials.
If you didn’t already know, UCL also provides free access for all currently enrolled students to LinkedIn Learning.
Great features on LinkedIn Learning include:
- Over 6,000 courses supporting learning in software, creative and business skills
- Keep track of your course history and recent activity
- Bookmark your favourite courses, tutorials, and specific points within movies
- Earn certificates of course completion
If you would like more support on curating your LinkedIn profile, UCL Careers have some great additional resources available and you are always welcome to book an appointment for some one-to-one advice on crafting your profile or boosting your networking possibilities.
Victoria Abbott, UCL Careers