Reasons Why LinkedIn is Important to Graduates Job Search
College prepares students with the academics to succeed in their future working life, but what college does not prepare students for is why LinkedIn is important to graduates job search.
I know this personally from my own college student who did get some help from student advisors on crafting a resume but no help or advice on how to leverage LinkedIn after college, the #1 social platform for professionals and job seekers.
So now it is time to move from college life to a professional working life and there is a lot of competition. Those students who leverage the skills and experience from their college life will gain more opportunities empowering them to be in charge versus being invisible to perspective employers.
Develop a presence on LinkedIn to help your job search
It is very well-known that over 95% of recruiters are using LinkedIn to post jobs and find candidates to fill those jobs. Your LinkedIn profile is the path to gaining exposure for your skills and experience. The greatest reason to use LinkedIn is because it is so much more than a resume. You can write an entire summary demonstrating your personality and why you would be an asset to a prospective employer. You have 2000 characters in the summary section which is something you could not do on a resume!
You can add multi-media such as video’s, images and the best paper you ever wrote that won your best grade ever from a professor! These components will add to your credibility and cannot be found on a resume.
Best Graduation Gifts
A professionally written LinkedIn profile is one of the best graduation gifts because it keeps on giving for years to come. According to LinkedIn, “50% of hiring managers will decide whether to move forward with a candidate’s application based on their LinkedIn profile.” So do not underestimate the power off setting up a LinkedIn profile coupled with learning how to navigate all the features.
Invest in a great photo for your LinkedIn page
Having a professional photo is key. Perhaps you had some college photos taken, if they are not current meaning that if you walked into a room for an interview and you can’t be recognized by your photo it is time to get a new one. There are many photographers that offer great headshots images especially for social media sites, so do a little investigating. LinkedIn reports that you can expect 14 times more profile views when you have a great headshot.
Craft an interesting headline
Next to your great new photo you want to craft a headline that describes what you are doing and where you want to go. You want to include the key word of the industry or job you want.
For example: Political Science major seeking position in government
“Marketing major excited about a career in social media marketing ”
List all of your experience
Chances are you have accrued lots of experience since high school. Include part-time jobs, internships, and volunteer activities. Often students tell me “I haven’t done anything” but when I do some digging, I always pull out things they have done that adds to their credibility. Volunteer experience says a lot about your character and can play a very important part in making a decision about you for a job. If you are applying for a job with a company who is active in the community or champions a cause be sure you highlight the volunteer and causes section of your LinkedIn profile.
“Look for a job you can knock out of the park. Then, become indispensable. You don’t have to kill yourself working seventy hours a week to get there, but consider putting in forty-five. Even a handful of extra hours on special projects will fast-track your success.”— J.T. O’Donnell, CEO Careerealism
Own your skills
It is important to understand that hiring managers can sort through resumes and your LinkedIn profile by skills. It allows them to narrow their search to those that actually have the skills they are looking for. You have skills whether you think you have or not! Not sur about your top skills – talk to your professors, or a boss if you have worked. This way you get clarity on what other think are your best skills. Be sure the top 10 skills are your best.
You can edit the skills section allowing you to drag and drop, add or delete skills. Know that as your career rows so will your skills so keeping your profile up to date can actually equate to more opportunities.
Our society puts value in the opinion of others! So gaining recommendations from credible people will help you on your employment search. Here’s what you need to know first: you can only gain recommendations from someone with whom you are connected. Always personalize your request by asking the person to recommend you for something specific such as the skills you used in your job or internship. A great place to start is with professors or advisors and of course if you have had a job ask your employer. Try to get several recommendations if possible.
Get the LinkedIn APPS
With over 50% of LinkedIn users accessing the program on mobile, LinkedIn has created several useful apps for job seekers.
- LinkedIn Students – prepares student for careers
- LinkedIn Job – job search on your mobile available for iPhone and Android
LinkedIn Alumni Tool
Access your college alumni on LinkedIn for networking – why? First, you have an immediate connection or bond with those who share your Alma Mater. Look for people who might be working in a job or industry you are interested in. Ask questions and learn how you might break in.
Build a network of meaningful connections
Many opportunities are gained through people we know. LinkedIn is all about networking, meeting people who you can build relationships with. Be intentional about this and you will have a more meaningful network you can access for years to come. Building a meaningful network requires that you ask questions and find ways to engage. I always encourage people to take the relationship off-line if you really want to gain traction. Remember people do business with people and building solid relationships can offer great opportunities.
Networking may be a new skill that needs to be learned, but often times opportunities come from who you know more than from what you know. Graduates often need a break to get started in their new career so learning how to network on LinkedIn can accelerate your success.
“Building connections starts with people seeing all you have to offer. Members with complete profiles are 40x more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.” – LinkedIn
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Sending Invitations to join your LinkedIn network
You will get far better results when you send a personalized invitation to connect versus the canned – default invitation that does not include why you want to connect. Want to stand out? Want people to take you seriously? Then write a personal note, I guarantee you will get better results.