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A graduate’s guide to using LinkedIn

Written by Kimberley Startup | August 20, 2013 | 0 Comments

Graduates and LinkedInCongratulations. You’ve graduated. Welcome to the real world of full time employment and mass responsibility. So what’s the next step?

If you want to be perceived as the hardworking and committed employee you will be, then it’s time you switched your attention to LinkedIn.

As the world’s largest professional networking site, LinkedIn is a business powerhouse offering an entirely different type of network to the ones you’re used to on the likes of Facebook & Twitter.

Instead of nights out, things you like, retweets and pictures shared, LinkedIn focuses on your professional experience, key skills, the connections you’ve acquired and the ability to develop and build relationships to help you embark on the career you really want.

What’s more, it’s simple to use and completely free to set up an account – so there really is no excuse.

Here are 10 quick tips to help you start building your profile on LinkedIn and hopefully make the connections to land your first job since graduating.

1. Create a memorable headline that communicates what you want to do. Make sure you use keywords so that people who are looking for talented individuals like yourself can find you.

2. Keep your picture professional. Use a headshot and don’t wear anything too revealing or risqué. Check out this article for tips on making your online picture employer friendly: How to make your online profile pictures professional.

3. Write an ‘elevator pitch’. Think about what you want to be noticed and recognised for and use this to write a few lines about your qualities.

4. Join groups & follow companies. Use these communities to keep updated about job openings and industry news. Likewise, ensure to add valuable comments to discussion threads to get yourself known among the community.

5. Add your academic history as well as any experience. If possible, sprinkle this with relevant key terms and specific skills you’ve acquired to ensure you appear in searches carried out by recruiters and hiring managers.

6. Connect with alumni, teachers & students. LinkedIn has made this really simple by letting you filter your searches for connections by education.

7. Personalise your messages. If you’re sending an invite to connect to someone, take the time to explain why you would like to connect with this person and the value you can bring from this connection. If you don’t, I hate to say it, but it’s likely your request will just be added to the trash.

8. Connect with hiring managers & recruiters. If you’ve applied for a position, why not connect with the hiring manager or recruiter on LinkedIn? It will show your interest in the position and also give you a chance to do some research on the person who’s about to interview you.

9. Request recommendations. Make sure they’re work-related and professional. If someone doesn’t have the time to write a recommendation about you, offer to write it for them. It’s a brilliant extra touch to a profile that is already gleaming.

10. Proofread your LinkedIn profile. And then ask someone else to proofread it too! (You can never be too careful).

This is just the beginning of using LinkedIn to find your first graduate job, and like most things, it takes a little bit of time and commitment. When done correctly, however, you’ll reap the rewards and be on your way to career success in no time.

Looking for some more tips on how to use social media to benefit your job search? If so, check out some of these articles.

Graduates – enhance your LinkedIn usage & get the job you want

10 ways to make the most of LinkedIn

How to catch a company’s attention using social media

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