Getting Ready to Graduate: A Guide to LinkedIn

So you’ve graduated, now what? You’ve probably spent the last two months focusing on your dissertation, finishing off the last pieces of coursework and revising for your final exams. Whilst some of your friends will be able to enjoy their summer break safe in the knowledge that they have secured a position on a graduate scheme in September, not everybody will have been so lucky.

You may have dived onto the online job boards all bushy tailed and bright eyed and soon realised that the competition is pretty high. The good news is that there are other ways to job hunt, one being LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is not just your online CV. It’s all about networking professionally, sharing expertise, and job hunting and recruiting all on a global scale. It also gives employers a chance to search for you online, so without a LinkedIn profile how will you showcase your skills, experiences and achievements to date? Because your tagged Facebook pictures just won’t cut it. To get you started, below I have created a step by step guide on how to set up your LinkedIn profile.

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Getting Started

The first thing to do is go to www.linkedin.com and sign up. Once you have joined you will need to complete the sections of your profile, and you aren’t constrained to 2 pages of space like with your written CV. Completing your profile fully is the most important part of using LinkedIn as your profile is ranked on ‘completeness’ from 0-100%. The more complete your profile is, the higher you will appear in search results and easier it will be for recruiters to find you.

  • Upload a professional profile photo of you and only you. No friends, no loved ones, no pets, not bottles of beer. You get the idea. Just a smart picture of you, smiling preferably!
  • Write your ‘summary’ – This is similar to your personal profile on your CV, a quick snapshot of your background and current situation. On LinkedIn it is best to write this in first person.
  • Give yourself a ‘title’ or a Headline – to describe you e.g. Sales and Marketing Trainee at x company/First class English and TEFL graduate from Coventry University. Along with your name and photo, your headline will be the first thing that employers see, so make it interesting and give them a reason to want to view more. Keep it positive; don’t say ‘unemployed’, say ‘aspiring graduate seeking internship opportunity’. Be concise and communicate what you do.
  • Select your Industry – This will appear in your headline. This is important as employers often search for people via a particular industry.
  • Make your Profile Public – (in account settings) so that people can find and connect with you.
  • Use relevant keywords in your profile that employers in your industry may search for such as ‘Photoshop’, ‘Final Cut Pro’ or ‘Search Engine Optimisation’.
  • Customise your Profile URL – You can put this on your CV. Here’s how – http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/87

Your Profile is Complete, What’s Next?

  • Join Groups – Click ‘Groups’ then ‘Groups you may like’ on the navigation pane and LinkedIn will have put together a list of groups related to your industry and experience. Here you can join groups that are related to your target industry and read blog articles, discussion posts and browse jobs.
  • Get Recommendations – These are like references, and the best way to get recommendations is to give them. You can ask a person that you have worked with either in a professional or academic environment to vouch for your skills and experience. These carry a lot of weight if you use them wisely. Avoid asking your friends and family for recommendations.
  • Follow Companies within your Sector – This is a great way to enhance your job search. It’s the best way to stalk an interesting organisation as you will be able to see when they post jobs, articles, blog posts, tweets, their employees, their employers in your network, and even when they hire new staff. Look at their employees and new recruits and scan what skills and experience they have, or even how they have completed their profile. Connect with them, ask them about their experiences.
  • Stay Active – Post a relevant and professional status at least once a day if you can so you are consistently visible to your connections. You could post updates and daily activity related to your career, post interesting articles or share jobs and news in your sector.

Making Connections

  • Add Connections – you can either search using your email connections or you can add your connections individually. Connect with friends, family, academics, and previous, current, or even future colleagues.
  • Don’t Connect with Everyone – Why are you connecting with this person? How will they be influential in your career/job search? When you request to connect with someone you will be asked how you know them. Are they are colleague, classmate, we’ve done business together, friend or other?
  • Send a Message with your Friend Request – When you request to connect with someone an automated message is generated. Why not change this? Whether you know the person or not briefly introduce yourself, explain why you want to connect or why they will be influential for you.

Effective Job Hunting on LinkedIn

  • LinkedIn Suggested Jobs – Click on ‘Jobs’ along the top navigation bar and LinkedIn will display a page of jobs that you might be interested in, based on your experience, connections and industry.
  • Advanced Search – You can also search for jobs using the advanced search at the top. Now, here’s the amazing part. You can refine your search according to your connections with the company, the location, date, salary, job function, industry and experience level.
  • Apply Through LinkedIn – When you find a job on LinkedIn you can view the job description and click ‘Apply’, which simply sends your profile as your CV to the employer.
  • Is your Profile Fit? – First ensure that your profile is suitable for the job you are applying for. This is really important if you are unsure as to what job you want and are applying for a few different types of jobs. Are you showcasing the relevant skills needed for the position?
  • Referrals – Do you have any connections who work at the company? They could make a referal for you.

What if…

You’re currently working but looking for a new job and don’t want your employer to know that you’re actively looking for a new job? Turn off your activity broadcasts – these let your connections know when you’ve edited your profile or joined your groups:

  • Click: Settings (Under your name on top right of page)
  • Click: Turn on/off your activity broadcasts (under Privacy, center of page)
  • Click to uncheck box: Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies
  • Click: Save

So there you go. No excuse to get yourself on LinkedIn. If would like more help and advice on how to successfully set up your account then leave a comment below. Good luck!

Michelle 🙂

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Posted on June 24, 2013, in Job hunting, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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