Social media platforms aren’t just good for showing off your weekend exploits or pictures of your car or dog. They can also help you to get a job. Many dismiss LinkedIn as being for office-dwelling pen-pushers but for motorsport engineers it can be a secret weapon for finding that all important first job.
For those who haven’t ventured onto the LinkedIn platform, it’s a networking and employment based ‘social’ media platform on which you can share insights about your career specialism, read about specific company and industry news as well as search job adverts.
Many people make the mistake of treating LinkedIn as they would any other social platform which has led to some cringeworthy profiles being created by people who didn’t quite make the distinction between what would help their career and what would hinder it. As much as the world of motorsport is known for great camaraderie and good laughs, we’re going to try to help you get noticed by employers on LinkedIn for all the right reasons!
Your LinkedIn Profile
The first step to getting yourself set up on LinkedIn is creating your profile. This is where you get to showcase your experience and qualifications. Your online CV if you like. This is what recruiters see when they click on your profile or view your online application so make it count. Getting through the virtual ‘paper-sift’ is even harder so make sure people don’t click past you.
It’s more difficult to tailor your LinkedIn profile for each position you want to apply for than it is a CV. You need to make sure that in addition to being succinct, it still manages to get across all of your experience.
Do NOT use a photo of yourself dressed in a funny costume. Do NOT use a picture of your pet. Do NOT use a ‘selfie’ that you’ve used on your Tinder profile and leave Snapchat filters well alone! Your profile photo should be professional. Use a shot of you in pit lane by all means but make sure it shows your face. Take a look at these good examples by some of the top professionals from the world of motorsport engineering –
You can also use a larger landscape image which sits behind your profile photo. This is a great place for an action shot, simulation project screenshot or team photo.
This is what employers and recruiters first see when your profile appears. This is your attention grabber. It’s crucial that this headline is relevant to your intended audience. If you are still a student or have graduated recently, use your education level as your headline along with any part-time or voluntary work.
“Final Year Motorsport Engineering Undergraduate & Part-Time Team XXXX Mechanic”
You can also use this opportunity to identify where you want to specialise –
“Final Year BSc Motorsport Engineering Student Specialising in Aerodynamics/Hybrid Technology/Data Engineering”
Or use industry terminology/systems to prove your level of knowledge and experience –
“BSc Motorsport Engineering Graduate | Star CCM++, GT Suite & ChassisSim Proficient”
No one in the industry cares that you’re currently working as a Pizza Chef while you study. But that doesn’t mean your profile should suffer. Even if you’re currently working in a different industry or haven’t yet had a job in motorsport, use a position which says more about your aspirations than your current position. For instance, instead of using your current job role, try focussing on your volunteer experience or place of study.
“2nd Year BSc (Hons) Motorsport Engineering Student | National Motorsport Academy”
“Marshal at Donington Park | 3rd Year BSc Motorsport Engineering Student, National Motorsport Academy”
This part is pretty self-explanatory. As with a CV, start with the most recent first, even if you haven’t yet finished your course. Add as much information as allowed. Include all modules (in brief) in the ‘Description’ section as well as any additional information, CPD modules or outside experience gained as part of your course. For example, NMA students can include participation in the GT Cup Race Team. You might be part of a Karting/Formula Student team. Make sure you include anything relevant about your course.
This is your opening statement. Keep it brief, not more than 200-250 words and use it to fill in any gaps from your CV. If you’ve volunteered your time with different teams, worked on your own cars or friend’s motorbikes, taught yourself new skills outside of your formal education. You can also include your interests. Not all of them. Employers don’t care if you knit or go white water rafting but they will care if you spend your spare time rebuilding the engine of an R53 to take part in the MINI Challenge. Keep it relevant.
You can also include details about your career aspirations but stick to the job roles, not specific companies. You also need to remember that you have to start somewhere. Aspirations are great but can be off-putting to employers if they think you want to bypass the hard graft and go straight to the top. Don’t put:
“I want to work in the Mercedes-AMG F1 team”
“In the future, I aspire to work within Formula 1 as a Data Engineer”
Or “I’m currently working towards a BSc Motorsport Engineering degree where I intend to specialise in hybrid engine development in my final year project. This will help me to come closer to achieving my goal of working on LMP1 cars in the future”
“I want to work for Toyota in the WEC”
This is where you detail your past employment history. By all means include your previous positions working at Go Ape or Wetherspoons but make the sure that the description of your duties is still relevant to the positions you’re now applying for. Motorsport is about teamwork, dedication and going above and beyond. Make sure you highlight these attributes.
If you already have a good amount of automotive or motorsport experience, include information about specific software packages you may have used or specific projects you have worked on. You can also include career highlights, series/championship wins and awards or CPD courses completed.
Licences and Certifications:
Do you have a racing licence or have you completed CPD modules in anything outside of your degree, college or school qualifications? Detail these here.
A great addition to the profile page of LinkedIn is a section to include Volunteer positions. If you already have a CV full of relevant jobs and qualifications, use this section to include any time spent volunteering track side as a Marshal, part of a scrutineering team or as a first-aider, fire marshal or anything else.
LinkedIn has a whole load of skills pre-loaded but you can also add your own. Don’t chose random skills or things your Gran thinks you’re good at. Think practical and think motorsport.
Many people don’t get this far on their LinkedIn profile and it’s not mandatory to fill in every section. This is a section for those further down the academic trail – MSc and PhD students who have published papers and thesis.
This is almost like the ‘References’ section on your CV. You can request a recommendation from your LinkedIn connections which will then show prominently on your profile. It’s a good idea to send a connection request to university lecturers, old teachers and employers who would be willing to help out. When you request a recommendation, it gives you the chance to personalise your request. Make sure you ask politely and tell them that you are applying for jobs and would really appreciate a reference from your time at XXXX XXXX.
Creating a good LinkedIn profile can be critical to your future success when it comes to applying for a job in motorsport. All recruiters now reference your social media before they even consider you for an interview so also consider what’s out there on your other personal channels such as Facebook or Instagram. We’re not saying you shouldn’t share a video of you trying to break the world record for the longest f@rt, just keep it private or risk looking juvenile to a potential employer and definitely don’t share it on LinkedIn!
For more tips on creating a great LinkedIn profile, see this great blog from Autodesk – LinkedIn Tips for Engineers.
Next week we’ll be helping you to network in the Motorsport community using LinkedIn. From using groups to finding and applying for jobs, we’ll help you to develop a virtual community to improve your motorsport career prospects.
Got the skills but not the qualifications to back it up? Take a look at the Final Year Top-Up Degree from the National Motorsport Academy. If you’re qualified up to Level 4 or have extensive industry experience, you can now study for a full degree in only 16 months. Find out more about the accelerated Top-Up here.