This year I’ve been fortunate to be involved with The Young Enterprise Trust – NZ’s leading resource on all things enterprise and financial literacy for young Kiwis – from mentoring a passionate Young Enterprise Scheme Team, to hosting a group of students in the Entrepreneurs in Action weekend in Auckland.
It has more than 3,500 ambitious students involved each year, and many are being catapulted into successful careers because of the skills they develop through the Trust. This year alone more than 800 business ventures were kick-started across NZ by young Kiwis thanks to Young Enterprise!
However, a challenge many of these students face is knowing how and where to promote the great work they have done and to help them get started with their career journey. The answer? LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful platform for current Young Enterprise students, and especially alumni, to promote the business venture they’ve started, their role, and achievements.
Stephanie Benseman was one of these students and now works for the Young Enterprise Trust. Her LinkedIn profile was ‘alright’ before, but we’ve ‘beefed’ it up!
Here is Steph’s profile originally, our changes, and our tips for anyone who wants to make the most of what LinkedIn has on offer:
Steph’s profile picture didn’t need changing as it was professional, but she did need a background photo. This is useful for sharing your personal brand with others. It could be of you presenting at a Young Enterprise event, an image that shows your YES company, or the career you’re out to get! Steph added a picture of herself and other panel members from a recent business trip to China.
She added a summary, giving her the opportunity to add more detail about herself and what she can offer a business. Keywords play an important role for you appearing in searches by recruiters, so make sure you add the words that represent you.
Steph had filled in the companies she had worked for but not with any detail of her responsibilities in each role, and more importantly achievements. Not all students have a work history, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get noticed. You can add volunteer work (Steph is a mentor for a few different initiatives), and the business venture you kick-started as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme as well as the role you played.
Add any pictures, articles, videos, and online links that relate to your experience in your summary or description to further promote yourself and what you’ve achieved. This is where LinkedIn differs from your traditional CV – you can embed pictures and videos to make it interactive. Steph has several reports and videos to upload given her experience within marketing!
This section of Steph’s profile also lacked depth, so she added all the skills she has from being involved in the Young Enterprise Scheme, or is developing now, to her profile. You can have up to 50 skills so rack them up! These are all keywords you want to be associated with and others can endorse you for them. Rearrange them so the top three skills you want to be most known for are seen first. She has already been endorsed by others for Brand Development, Business Planning and Business Strategy to name a few.
Steph is a winner and that is why she has been successful in her short career so far. She has added the awards and certificates she’s scooped up to her profile. Be proud of what you’ve achieved. People like seeing (and hiring) winners!
Start posting on LinkedIn today if you haven’t already! Blogs, articles and photos can show the work you are doing with the Young Enterprise and that you are a thought-leader in the industry you want to work in. Heads up – if you see other people or companies of interest, then like, comment and/or share their content to get your personal brand out there!
Don’t just post all about you, but indirectly promote yourself. If you’re not sure on where to begin, then start by posting articles from blogs or websites you follow and are interested in. Young Enterprise has a news page on their website with lots of great content to share. By adding a comment, you can state why you’ve shared it and why others should read it. Here is an example of Steph’s post about a trip to China and what she learnt.
Don’t be afraid to make connections on LinkedIn from junior employees to the C-Suite. That is what the platform is for, and why so many use it!
‘Add’ people you have met through Young Enterprise – YES volunteers, sponsors, companies involved, mentors, other students, and teachers – etc. When you ‘add’ someone, include a short note to say why it was great to connect with them and any topics you may want to continue chatting about. You can also ‘add’ people you haven’t met in-person, but be sure to say why you want to connect with them. Connecting with people and asking for a job straight away or selling your product/service, especially if they’re not the decision maker, won’t land you much luck. Make meaningful connections to build meaningful business relationships.
LinkedIn measures how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. These are the very attributes Young Enterprise students need for securing a role after studying or growing their YES business. And after you have updated your profile, do not stop using LinkedIn. Undeniably, the more you put into LinkedIn, the more you’ll get out of it.
Click here to see how you’re tracking with LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index.
National Account Manager – Education | MYOB