<a href="https://capital-placement.com/author/niranjan/" target="_self">Niran</a>

Niran

Co-founded Capital Placement in 2012 and he has lived, studied and worked across the globe, with experience in the United Kingdom, United States, Asia and Europe.

LinkedIn is the genius pairing of social media and career networking. The social media aspect of LinkedIn breaks the ice by adding a warm element to the whole process of developing career leads and opportunities. Fortunately, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool even if a person has little or no experience in his or her chosen field.

A fundamental understanding of what LinkedIn is and what it is NOT is the first step. Although LinkedIn is definitely social media, it’s social media dressed up with a clear career focus.  It is for this reason that LinkedIn is not appropriate for those casual pictures of you and your best friends in Ibiza during the summer holidays, or even pictures of you and your dog at the park.

Where the Focus Should Be: 

The focus is to tune to directing traffic to your profile that generates opportunities and connections to help you in your chosen field.  Although the platform makes allowance for a slightly casual touch and there is definite encouragement in terms of marketing your skills, interest and personality. In addition, refrain from anything considered unprofessional. 

Better Profile Pictures

Pictures should be professional looking.  This does not mean that you actually have to have professional photographs taken.  It simply means that pictures should convey a polished image, free of background props and people.  A conservative headshot is best.  This basically means that skimpy clothing, and other types of casual and unprofessional attire should be a no go.  Your profile picture should reflect a clear professional image.

Top Tip: Remember, the first thing people see is your profile picture and don’t forget that first impressions are crucial. To get a professional look, take the photo in white and black. 

 

Achievements and Experience

The work experience portion of LinkedIn should not list duties and responsibilities, but rather accomplishments and experiences that show promise and ability.  Even students or recent graduates can create a powerful LinkedIn profile if they list club affiliations, academic achievements, internships and volunteer work. Employers don’t care if you have had paid internship or unpaid internships, it is the experience that matters. In addition, references provided by lecturers/professors at your university can add more credibility to a profile.

Be descriptive in listing experiences and achievements.  Explain how you approached your responsibilities/experience and what you did to overcome obstacles that led to your achievements. When requesting a reference, make it specific and relevant so that the reference shows some skill or attribute you displayed. 

For Example:

If you worked with Mrs. Smith at a charity shop, you might remind her that the two of you worked together and tell her something memorable you did.  This gives her a very specific memory to attach a more detailed and compelling reference to.  Detailed references that are specific rather than general create a more tangible credibility.  Companies that are looking for people with a specific skill set get a better feel for you and what you can do when references are specific and detailed.

 

Top tip: Try and get a mix of academic and professional recommendations, there is no such thing as too many recommendations.

 

Connections

When requesting to add someone to your profile, be sure to clearly state your purpose for adding him or her. After they accept you, thank them.  On this note, once you’ve stated your reasons for wanting to add someone to your profile be sure to converse with them from time to time, otherwise there is no real purpose for adding them.  LinkedIn is about networking. In order to use this powerful tool to the best of its abilities your actions have to be purposeful and show direction.

Top Tip: LinkedIn now sends daily emails about connections’ work anniversaries, this is a great reason to get in touch with people you have not spoken to in a while.

 

Strategies to further enhance your profile 

There are many additional ways that you can create an impressive profile on LinkedIn.  Be sure to keep a bio that provides a compact snapshot of your skills, abilities and career direction.  Give your bio a personal feel by speaking in the first person, however keep it professional. 

Instead of starting your profile with your name and or title, write a headline.  A headline is a great way to introduce yourself to potential employer’s. Refresh your profile every year by adding updates to keep everything fresh and current.  Add videos and pictures of your accomplishments/projects.  This gives potential employers real examples of what you are capable of.

Top Tip: Try and add as much detail to your profile as possible. If you have a published article or essay, ensure that you mention that on your profile and leave a link to the article.

 

LinkedIn Groups

Another way to enhance your profile is by joining LinkedIn groups that fit the direction of your career and aspirations.  Joining a group or groups shows active interest in developing yourself as a professional.  It’s also a great way to actively network.

Top Tip: As groups show your career aspirations, try and avoid taking a scattergun approach when joining groups.

 

Things you should avoid 

Poor photos that are blurry, unprofessional or low quality create a bad initial impression.  Add subjective statements that say nothing specific about what you have accomplished and you have a muddled profile; a profile that sounds canned and manufactured, telling potential employers absolutely nothing about you.  Profiles that don’t speak about your accomplishments using facts and numbers are easily passed over.

Even though you may be a student or recent graduate, highlighting the fact that you have little or no experience in your career choice AND not listing relevant school achievements and volunteer work is big mistake.  This mistake gives potential employers the idea that you’ve done nothing related to your career interest.  In addition, profiles that lack references and have missing or ill-written bio’s tend to fall into the poor category as well.

Linkedin is not Facebook 

Another bad move is adding random people to your profile that actually have no related significance to your career objectives in any way.  All of which will lead to an overlooked profile.

Although LinkedIn is social media, it’s not Facebook.  Facebook is for purely social/entertainment purposes, and with this in mind, much of what you may see in a Facebook profile may have little or nothing to do with a person’s career aspiration.  Although Linkedin is more of a professional platform, it’s an option not a suggestion.

There are many components to create a powerful LinkedIn profile.  Fully utilising all components can make a profile becomes memorable and effective.  However, just as there are measures that you can take to create a great profile there are, of course, steps that create poor and ineffective LinkedIn profiles.

In Conclusion

A LinkedIn profile should be a cohesive, purposeful and well directed description of whom you are and where you want to go professionally.  It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out.  Your college work, whether you are still a student or a recent graduate, is your career.  Excellent performances shown in coursework, clubs, experiences and volunteer work are still highly effective ways to showcase your talent and potential.

If you would like our careers team to have a look at your LinkedIn profile, drop us a line and we will be happy to give our feedback.

It’s not a stretch to say internships have become indispensable. The competition for jobs has never been stiffer. When making hiring decisions, Capital Placement notes, employers will lean heavily towards students who have at least some internship experience under their belts. 

So, what does an intern do exactly?

Contrary to popular belief, completing an internship isn’t easy. If you think internships are about fetching coffee for everyone and generally riding on the team’s coattails, toss your expectations out the window. Modern intern roles – even the support kind – are as taxing and responsibility-ridden as full-time jobs!

It’s important you enter your internship with the right mindset. If you don’t know what to expect from your internship role, you’ll be better prepared and know what you need to do to succeed. Also, carrying out your intern responsibilities successfully will assist you in building up a potent skillset. 

What is an intern? 

An intern is a trainee who has signed on with an organization for a brief period. An intern’s goal is to gain work experience, occasionally some university credit, and always an overall feel for the industry they’re interning in. 

Internships may be paid, partially paid, or unpaid. The engagement period may range from a handful of weeks up to 2 years. With longer-term internships, you’ll almost always be compensated in some way. The compensation may include a monthly wage, accommodation, travel expenses, and a food allowance. 

Many companies require you to complete an internship with them before they even consider you for a full-time role.     

What does an intern do?

So what does an intern do exactly? That depends on the industry in question and the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. Research internships come with a different set of roles and responsibilities than, say, an internship geared toward easing you into a full-time role. 

An intern is primarily a support role – at least in the beginning. When you join up, your main job will be to assist, learn, and grow. After you’ve settled in, you’ll be expected to pull your own weight. 

Here’s a general overview of the work you can expect to do as an intern:     

1. Assist in day-to-day tasks

As an intern, don’t expect to spearhead a critical project anytime soon. But that’s by no means a bad thing. You’ll be groomed to spearhead projects in the future. Your boss will give you general errands to educate you on to the ins-and-outs of the organisation, to gauge your general skill set, and also to bring your skills up to par.

Here are some day-to-day intern roles and their responsibilities:   

  • Performing clerical duties: It’s almost a guarantee you’ll be taking memos, maintaining files, organising, sorting, creating PowerPoint presentations, drafting reports, and the like.
  • Managing social media and emails: You may be asked to handle the company’s social media accounts, write emails to customers, talk to clients on the phone, and similar duties. 
  • Event handling: Interns are often asked to oversee the scheduling of appointments, organising conference rooms, and taking care of the food and drink.   
  • Research: Interns fresh from a university education have a great deal of up-to-date knowledge. Your organisation may put this knowledge to good use by placing you in a research role. You may be asked to assist in streamlining an organisation’s work process in some way.

2. Learn and gain experience 

You’ll be expected to learn as much as you possibly can while you work, regardless of the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. What kind of learning will you be doing? It can be broken down into two main areas:  

  • Picking up hard skills: Hard skills are the technical skills you need to carry out your intern responsibilities, and eventually job duties, successfully. Examples include learning how to operate a computer program, drafting a company report, handling the company inventory, and maintaining the company database.    
  • Brushing up on your soft skills: Soft skills are as important as hard skills. Soft skills are all about your ability to relate to people and building mutually-beneficial relationships. Examples are talking, listening, conflict handling, time management, and development of empathy. You need soft skills to manage clients, not to mention get along with your bosses and colleagues.   

3. Job shadow

Job shadowing has become the norm recently. As the name suggests, the practice involves “shadowing” someone as they perform their daily duties, observing their activities, and learning what the role entails via indirect experience. This is an especially popular practice in hands-on fields like engineering and healthcare.  

How does this work exactly? When you join the organisation, you may be assigned a mentor. The first few weeks, you may be tasked with following them around. They’ll show you the ropes while they work. You may be asked to assist with light tasks here and there. You’ll be encouraged to ask questions. Eventually, you’ll be trained to take over the position and of intern roles.  

4. Take on an increasing amount of responsibility 

As time goes by, expect to shoulder an increasing amount of responsibility. Initially, they’ll gauge your current skill set and reliability with “grunt” work. As you prove yourself to your colleagues and bosses, you’ll be entrusted with more crucial tasks. The better you perform, the more the responsibilities you’ll be given. 

When you join as an intern, it’s always smart to give it your all. The work may feel uninspiring initially. That’s understandable. But if you can demonstrate enthusiasm and perform without complaining, you’ll slowly but surely work your way to the good stuff. 

Interns who really impress their bosses can expect glowing recommendations, if not an offer for full-time work.   

5. Network 

While networking isn’t an official requirement as such, it might as well be. Networking involves building relationships with your bosses, colleagues, and customers and clients. You’ll need the backing and support of people in places to build a successful career. Also, building good relationships with customers is always good for the organisation.

Here are some examples of the kind of networking interns do: 

  • Finding a mentor: Mentors act as anchor roles for interns. If you find a good one, you can follow in their footsteps and build a successful career just like your mentor. 
  • Forming a peer support group: Interning is hard. Finding a peer support group who is going through all the ups and downs with you will make it much more enjoyable for everyone involved. 
  • Getting in with bosses and coworkers: Interns who can build strong individual bonds with their coworkers and bosses become a part of the “family”. You’re much more likely to be offered a full-time role at the company down the road. 

6. Make a career call 

Finally, usually at the tail-end of your internship, you have to make a career-defining decision: continue in the field you interned in or try your hand at something else entirely. 

You got a taste of what working in your industry full-time would be like. Did you love the experience and can’t wait to dive back in again? Or do you feel you’d be happier doing something else?

Final Thoughts

Internships are usually short-term. They’re smaller investments in time and energy than full-time jobs. Consequently, they’re perfect opportunities to explore your options. You deserve work that’s fulfilling. If necessary, you can sign up for a different but related internship role elsewhere to see if you’re happier there. 

Your internship is going to shape the course of your career. It’ll assist you in acquiring the skills you need to perform up-to-par when you’re hired full-time. It’s essential you use your internship as the training opportunity it represents. 

You’re sure to have a bright future if you work hard, build positive relationships, and remain grateful for the internship opportunity. Capital Placement can assist you in securing a life-changing internship opportunity abroad, in line with your talents, skill-set, and career goals. Reach out to us now!   

Don't forget to share this post!

Niran

Niran

Co-founded Capital Placement in 2012 and he has lived, studied and worked across the globe, with experience in the United Kingdom, United States, Asia and Europe.

We are on Social media!

Internship Alternatives

Here at Capital Placement, we are all about creating and finding our candidates the internship of their dreams! However, we do not fail to recognise that internships may not be for everyone, or it may not be the right time to do one. Therefore, we’ve compiled seven...

read more

The 4-minute Guide to Your London Internship

CP note: We are proud to introduce a blog from one of our own London interns, Vona! In her guide, Vona covers her personal London experience, the best places to invest your time, and resources and the prime locations for some great bargain shopping. Check out the...

read more