- Why is it important to have a Linkedin account if you want to move to the UK?
- What your profile should look like to attract UK employers?
Whether you are an avid user of LinkedIn or never heard of the platform, today, you will learn why and how you should use LinkedIn to find a job in Britain.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the Internet that has 690 million users in 200 countries worldwide.
The network is widely used in the British professional community, having over 28 million users in the UK (almost half of the British population).
The platform encourages the fast growth of your network and allows you to meet an average of 400 new people with every new connection you make.
According to LinkedIn, two new members are joining the network every second. So, what kind of people find LinkedIn useful?
Who are LinkedIn users?
The LinkedIn network attracts many users from various backgrounds.
Here are the main categories of LinkedIn users:
- Business owners
- Job seekers
- Sales professionals
There are several free and paid LinkedIn membership plans that satisfy different users' needs.
Paid tiers are quite expensive, but as a job seeker, you can benefit from LinkedIn without spending any money.
However, if you are interested in purchasing paid membership levels, you can read this article that compares different paid plans to learn about which one is better for you.
What can you do with a free LinkedIn membership?
As a foreign professional or an international student in the UK, you should use LinkedIn primarily as a tool to build your professional image and grow your network to generate new opportunities.
There are many other functions of the platform that you can access cost-free.
Have a personal account that lists your education, work experience, skills, professional achievements, work projects and references.
Engage in conversations with other members and talk to the employees from your preferred company or industry.
Present your professional persona and get seen by recruiters and employers.
Search for and view profiles of other LinkedIn members.
Find and reconnect with your former colleagues and classmates.
Express your opinion and publish articles.
Meet other professionals and grow your network.
Receive unlimited InMail messages from members outside of your network.
Follow the latest news from the industry or companies of your choice.
Search for jobs posted on the platform, save up to three searches and set alarms for similar jobs.
Finally, if you are still unsure why you should be joining the platform, 94% per cent of recruiters claim that they use LinkedIn to vet candidates.
Don't miss out on the opportunity to make a good impression on your potential Tier 2 sponsor.
Now that you know more about the platform and its functions, let's discuss how you can improve your profile to generate more job offers and get yourself a Tier 2 job.
How to improve your LinkedIn account to attract British employers?
As previously mentioned, there are 28 million LinkedIn users in the UK. So, how can you stand out from the crowd and make a good impression on recruiters?
Having a good-looking account increases your chance of being found by potential employers or making an impression on recruiters when they vet your social media.
Complete your profile sections
You would be surprised to find out how many incomplete profiles there are on the network.
If you have a minimal profile with your current job title and education, you are not using the full potential of the platform.
Many people don't recognise that this creates a negative impression on recruiters and limits your ability to demonstrate your professional expertise and skills.
According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities from recruiters and get shown in the search engine results.
You will know that you have completed all sections right when LinkedIn awards you the All-Star badge.
Let's go through each section needed to complete your account.
Present yourself as the best candidate
Take a look at your Intro and About sections of your profile. You should provide the most up-to-date information about yourself, including your contact details.
As an international job seeker, you can put the United Kingdom as your location even though you are not currently there.
By doing this, you increase the chance of being found by British recruiters.
The most important part of this section is the headline next to your photo.
You only have 120 characters, so think carefully and strategically about how you want to portray yourself. You should optimise your headline according to your current role and what you want to do next.
Your headline should speak about your unique expertise and ambitions, so you should avoid vague and ambiguous terms, such as "Ambitious graduate looking for jobs".
Find 5 job descriptions from your favourite companies and think about how you can match your headline to be their perfect candidate. "MSc Computer Science@ Imperial College | Demonstrated working knowledge of Python, C++, RoR | Corporate & Startup Experience
UK employers and recruiters can find you by keywords that you put in your headline. So, pick your words carefully and avoid cliches. For more headline ideas, read this blog post.
The summary is similar to your headline, but it gives you more space to tell others about yourself. A good summary grasps the attention of other LinkedIn members and helps you make new connections or be found by potential employers. This article explores how to write a job-winning LinkedIn summary.
You need to summarise what you do and where your skills and expertise lie, in an easy-to-digest format that people glancing at your profile will quickly understand. Only put essential highlights of your career and your core skills, you don't want to be sharing your whole life story here.
You can get creative about the format and break up your thoughts into bullet points for an easier-to-read summary.
Once again, think about optimising keywords in your summary to increase the chance of popping up in LinkedIn search engines.
The summary is an excellent place to mention that you are looking for job opportunities with visa sponsorship in the UK.
Have a professional profile photo
First impressions matter and your photo is an integral part of your profile and, along with your skills and employment history, markets you as a strong prospective employee.
Having a professional photo can help you make more connections, as research shows that profiles with photos are 14 times more likely to be viewed.
What kind of photo is suitable for LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a professional network, so not every photo that you upload elsewhere on the Internet would be appropriate.
With this being said, that doesn't mean that you have to spend a lot of money on a professional photoshoot.
Ask your friend or family member to take a picture or set a timer to take a photo of yourself (it's better to avoid selfies).
Profile Photo tips:
- Take a headshot that clearly shows your face. Ideally, you should take a photo that shows your head and the top of your shoulders because a full-body photo would not fit the photo thumbnail.
- Make your photo fit the recommended profile photo size (between 400 (w) x 400 (h) pixels and 7680 (w) x 4320 (h) pixels).
- If you don't want to hire a professional photographer, use a camera or a smartphone to ensure that your picture is of good quality and high resolution.
- You should have a recent photo of yourself that demonstrates how you currently look. Make sure you are not using a dated photo that was taken 10 years ago. Otherwise, people will get confused when they meet you in person.
- Keep your background neutral. Your photo setup should not distract from your face. It's best to stand against a solid-coloured, light background or pose in a professional environment (a library or office).
- Dress professionally and appropriately (no revealing clothes or too much makeup). Dress code may vary, so if you are in doubt, take a look at other users' profiles who work in the same industry. The universal clothes would be a suit in dark colours.
- Have a light smile and a relaxed pose. This will make you look friendly and more approachable.
Don't forget your Background Image
Many LinkedIn users neglect the background banner and leave the default image of the blue gradient with dots and lines. While there is nothing wrong with this, you are missing an opportunity to demonstrate your personality.
"Your LinkedIn background banner photo should reinforce who you are and visually support the written portions of your profile. This image should communicate your value, skills and professional identity. " - Forbes
Ideas for creative background banners:
- Post a photo of yourself giving a professional presentation or doing your work in action.
- Demonstrate your interests and values. For example, if you are interested in renewable energy, you can upload beautiful shots of wind turbines.
- Upload a photo from your industry (that can be anything related to what you do or plan to do).
- Post a picture of London or any other city in the UK to signal your willingness to move.
- Create an image with words that you want to say on a neutral background. For example, use this space to reinforce your primary expertise or write that you are looking for visa sponsorship.
Showcase your Experience
The Background block of your LinkedIn account is your opportunity to tell UK employers about yourself.
You should personalise your account as much as possible by adding sections that demonstrate your educational and work experience.
Current and previous work
Fill in the details of your current and all previous roles by adding company name, location and the dates where you worked there.
Use bullet points to describe your most important responsibilities or accomplishment in each job that you took. Don't be generic, demonstrate your abilities and detailed knowledge of the system.
Taylor this section thinking about your next job in the UK and what parts of your previous employments you want to highlight.
Describe your academic experience and achievements starting from school.
This section is particularly important for fresh graduates because they don't have vast professional experience yet.
If you think that your education is particularly relevant for the jobs you apply for, you can list modules that you have studied at university or college.
You can also add links to any online or training courses that you took to improve your skillset.
If you have relevant volunteering experience at non-commercial organisations, feel free to share it.
This section is not compulsory but it speaks of your character and interests.
Highlight your unique skills and accomplishments
Add Skills section to your profile to showcase to employers why you are a good fit for the job of your dreams.
You can add as many skills as you would like, starting from general "problem solving" to concrete ones, such as "Ruby on Rails".
We recommend you do some research on the skills that frequently come up in the job ads that you want to apply.
Also, assess which skills are in the deficit in the UK and either name them if you already have some, or work on learning these skills to add them to your profile later.
Furthermore, you can ask other LinkedIn members to endorse your skills.
Languages and achievements
Most of the international job seekers who search for jobs with visa sponsorship in the UK know more than one language.
Showcase your multilingual skills by listing all the languages that you know.
You can add other achievements, such as journal publications, test results, awards and others.
Add engaging content to your profile
LinkedIn allows you to share different content on your page: from the article that you wrote to any media file, including PDF presentations, images and videos.
Use the "Featured" section to showcase your work samples or any other relevant material depending on your industry. This post further explains how you can utilise this section to your advantage.
Get professional Recommendations
There is a great section of your LinkedIn profile that allows other people to provide a public reference about you.
You should utilise Recommendations to demonstrate your performance and ability to excel at your job.
Recommendations from other people increase your credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of employers. This is particularly relevant for those people who don't have any work experience in the UK.
You can ask your colleagues, mentors or supervisors for a professional recommendation, or if you are a university student with little work experience, you can ask your lecturers or seminar leaders.
Make sure that you only ask people you have a good relationship with, and you think are likely to respond.
Also, if for some reason you don't want to post someone's recommendation about you, you can manage which recommendations you want to display.
What actions should you take to land a job offer?
If you followed all our previous tips on how to optimise your LinkedIn profile, you already improved your chances of receiving the UK work visa.
Is there anything else you can do to get your dream job in the UK?
Let recruiters know that you are actively searching for jobs.
You can do this in your Intro section by specifying the type of work that you want to do.
Follow news from your favourite companies.
Pick the companies that you want to work for or where you applied for jobs and follow their news updates.
By demonstrating your insightful knowledge, you will impress your potential employer at the interview. Read more about effective ways you can prepare for a job interview.
Grow your network beyond your colleagues and classmates.
Don't limit yourself to the people you know in real life. Connect with new people with whom you have mutual interests or connections.
It's always a good idea to contact people from the company you apply for to discuss nuances about the role or company culture.
Stay active on the network.
Having a great profile is not enough.
You should also take active participation in the network by writing your opinion pieces, sharing relevant news articles or commenting on others' posts.
This way, you can attract the attention of your potential Tier 2 sponsors or make new valuable connections.
LinkedIn is a great platform for those who are looking for jobs with visa sponsorship in the UK because it allows you to make new connections and present your professional persona. British recruiters often find and vet candidates via LinkedIn.
You should invest your time into optimising every section of your profile. Use keywords from your industry to maximise the chance of being discovered in the search results.
Be active on the platform and engage with users outside your network.
Now that you know almost everything about LinkedIn, try to optimise your account following our guidance.
Let us know about your amazing results!