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LinkedIn for Graduates - How to Navigate it and Good Practice

23 Jan 14 by William

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If you’re an university graduate who doesn’t have a job yet, spending your time searching can be terrifying, demoralizing, and heartbreaking. AWMAIGAT!!! At least you can use all that time at your parents’ place to do something you’re probably doing anyways: hang out on social media, especially LinkedIn.

In today’s electronic age, LinkedIn is an essential tool for all graduate job seekers. Because the site is an online network for over 8.5 million experienced professionals, many hiring managers and recruiters scour LinkedIn profiles to find top quality candidates.

This article will focus on a few ways to use LinkedIn for recent graduates.

  • Getting started
    This is very important, because, you won’t get started unless you create an account with LinkedIn. Your first step is to create your profile. Always Aim for 100% completion so you show up in more searches. To do this, you’ll need to include your educational history, current position and any other if possible, write a summary,upload a photo, and, finally, get a few recommendations from your connections.
  • Build your network
    Build your network to increase the likelihood that your profile will come up at the top of the list when hiring managers/recruiters are looking for candidates. Invite a few people a day, every day, to join your network and you’ll be amazed at the results. If you’re a graduate in Marketing, you don’t want to show up on page 10 when people are looking for marketing graduates. You want to be on page 1. The more contacts you have the higher you’ll be noticed and showing up in the searches.
  • Join groups and take part in discussions
    Join as many groups as possible, but concentrate first on those whose members are people who could hire you (hiring managers) or can help you find a job (recruiters/executive search consultants). You may also want to join job search support groups and industry groups.
        1. Larger groups allow for more potential contacts and allow you to contact fellow group member even if they are not in your direct network. This can be very valuable in your job search.
        2. Groups are a great source of like minded individuals and are great places search in order to expand your network.
        3. Many universities have alumni discussion groups on LinkedIn. Use this friendly space to figure out how LinkedIn groups work, and to keep your eyes peeled on alumni who are hiring. A shared alma mater can help you get out of the resume slush pile.Share your insights and answers to questions on discussion boards thus demonstrating your knowledge and desire to contribute. Post questions or discussion topics yourself. This will help you make valuable connections while building your personal brand.
    • Explain why you’re connecting
      Once you’ve found someone to connect to, DO NOT just send them LinkedIn’s preset connection request. Most of the times they will click IGNORE. Instead, take the time to explain your situation, and what you’d like to learn from this person.
    • Identify your target companies
      You can identify companies by industry and geography to expand your list of target companies. You can filter your LinkedIn list by exploring the company’s website and job postings.
    • Research recruiters and interviewers.
      Once you have done #5, you can identify hiring managers and HR managers for additional information and potentially informational interviews. If you’re sending your job application to an individual, LinkedIn is a great resource to do some research and personalize your cover letter.
    • Spend time on LinkedIn
      LinkedIn, like any other social media platform, is a very powerful tool to land your first job. Ensure that you fill out your profile completely, and use keywords so others can search and find you easily. If you think your hours of procrastination is not enough to teach you about LinkedIn, then head to the LinkedIn Blog, where every nut and bolt of LinkedIn is dissected.