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How to Use LinkedIn for Hospitality Students and Graduates | LinkedIn 101

 Do you have a LinkedIn profile but don’t know what to do with it?

Everyone else seems to be on it but you don’t know where to start.

Look no further, these are the 3 steps to start using LinkedIn to its full potential!

LinkedIn 101 for Hospitality Students and Graduates

Let’s start with the basics, and then look into ways you can make the most of LinkedIn by using it on a regular basis.

Step 1: Review and update your LinkedIn profile

Headline

Your headline should tell about you, your work and the results. It’s searchable so don’t add “available to work”, recruiters are not looking for that, they are looking for keywords like “receptionist” or “customer service” or “revenue management”, whatever is relevant for you.

It follows you everywhere on the platform, so make it reflect what you do quickly.

For example, I am being recommended to connect with these people based on our mutual connections and similar experience. I can only see part of their headlines and it should be enough to tell me what they do. The key message needs to be at the beginning.

Picture

Make sure your picture is recent and professional, take a simple headshot with your phone and make sure to look into the lens, not at yourself on the screen!

Using tools like Canva or Remove Background, remove your background and add a general colour background, like this:

So on your profile, it looks nice and clean.

Background photo

This is an opportunity for you to showcase your personality and your values. I have had this one for a while as I stand by this statement and believe it shows my work ethic and growth mindset.

Don't worry about making a statement, just use your own picture and not a generic background.

Work experience

Add descriptions of your achievement and responsibilities to all of your jobs. Make sure to use the keywords you want to be found for here again.

You want to show here what the results of your work were, showing the reader that you are a valuable employee that has delivered results.

Unlike a Resume/CV, on LinkedIn, you can also list some of your responsibilities after achievements.

Skills

Update your skills and endorsements, make sure that they are up to date. Do you still need “PowerPoint” there? Can you add new skills that you recently acquired?

Again, these are searchable so think about the skills you want to be found for. You get recommended jobs based on this, see how you match by opening some job descriptions and checking your compatibility.

Summary

Update your summary to represent you and what you are looking to do. It is a hard thing to write, just like on the resume. Key things to think about are:

  • Write in the first person, this is your personal page, so tell them about you.

  • Show your recent achievements and make sure to quantify it. (this can be a volunteering experience, not necessarily work experience)

  • What are you looking for next? You can be as blunt or as subtle as you like, as long as it fits the tone and personality of your profile.

  • Make sure the first sentence grabs their attention because that’s the first thing people see before they click “see more”.

Now that you’ve got your basics sorted, let’s take a look at your home feed.

Step 2: Curate your LinkedIn home feed

When you open LinkedIn, you need to make sure that you see content that is relevant and interesting to you and your career. It needs to serve you relevant industry news and updates.

Do this to curate your LinkedIn feed:

  • Follow industry-leading companies

  • IHG, Marriott, Hilton, Booking.com, Tripadvisor, etc.

  • Follow these companies’ CEOs

  • Follow companies you’re interested in

  • Follow industry hashtags

  • Subscribe to newsletters

  • Follow people that inspire you even if they are not in hospitality

  • Join relevant groups (it allows you to reach more people)

Once you start following industry leaders and companies, you will start seeing more people and companies to follow on your feed as well. Make sure to always explore and expand your reach this way.

Now that you have content relevant to you and your career, you need to engage with it.

Step 3: Engage with content and people on LinkedIn

Everyone seems to say to engage on LinkedIn, but what does it mean? What are the practicalities of engagement? Here’s what you do:

Endorsements

Endorse your colleague’s skills and leave recommendations. It shows as activity on your and their profile and is simply a nice thing to do as well. You got to give some to get some, you can’t expect people to do it for you.

You can see the number of endorsements your skills have next to them, and you can also see who endorsed you!

Like and comment

Like and comment on content in your feed, share your viewpoints and ask questions. You can build new connections that way and expand your network.

Don’t say generic things like “That’s interesting” but try to be more specific. For example:

“Thank you for sharing, that’s an interesting perspective and really showcases the impact on the industry. I would love to see this study replicated in other parts of the world and see what the results show.”

If you are following companies you are specifically interested to work for, engage with them directly. When they post, leave a valuable and insightful or thought-provoking comment. Start a conversation with them!

Your activity will be visible to your network and depending on the settings of the post you engaged with, with the public. Make sure it's something you are willing to stand by!

Expand your network

As you engage with content and people on LinkedIn, you will connect with new people that either interest you or are similar to you. Don’t be afraid to connect with them on LinkedIn.

Even if you haven’t worked with them directly and don’t know them in real life, don’t be afraid to connect and say hello!

Just like this guy did, sending me a connection request:

Start by connecting with me over on LinkedIn

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