Using the LinkedIn Jobs search tool should be a part of every graduate’s job hunting strategy. Here’s how you can make the most out of LinkedIn to find your graduate job.
“Relationships matter” is LinkedIn’s slogan. Having a successful career and developing yourself can only happen when you build meaningful professional relationships. After all, it’s not what you know but who you know.
So what does this mean for you as a student?
LinkedIn has changed the meaning of networking, and has changed how employers look for new hires. To date there are over 430 million users. It is a powerful tool, and in this blog post I will show you how it can be used in finding and securing a graduate job.
Topics covered in this post:
- Getting started: making connections
- Building your brand & profile
- How hiring managers use LinkedIn
- Join groups and be active on them
- Recommendations vs endorsements
- Search on LinkedIn Jobs
1. Getting started: making connections
So you’ve taken the first step of joining up. Now you could start to build your network, or as LinkedIn calls it, your “connections.” Spend some time thinking about who you want to invite, despite what you may think it’s all about quality over quantity.
Having at least 20 connections will help get you started. Under 20 looks like you do not keep up to date with LinkedIn and are not an active user. You can also invite people to LinkedIn by email.
2. Building your brand & profile
This requires a similar approach to that of CV writing. Self-reflection is really important.
Who are you?
- A graduate who is passionate about marketing and writes her own weekly blog?
- An analytical student who enjoys using I.T. to solve problems and regularly goes to technology talks and events?
- A determined student seeking a career in investment banking, who has taught himself how to trade stocks and shares and keeps up to date with industry news?
Once you know exactly who you are and how you want to appear, you can present your “brand” to the world.
Take time over your profile, this is what people will read first and it should give a great first impression.
Ensure that you write that you are interested in career opportunities.
3. How hiring managers use LinkedIn
“Some 93% of hiring managers search LinkedIn for candidates, according to a survey by career website Jobvite. 65% search Facebook , and 55% consult Twitter accounts. Another 18% of recruiters search Google+ and, in case there are any homemade videos lurking about, 15% will type your name into YouTube. Rule No. 1: Your LinkedIn profile should be public.”
– MarketWatch article, How job recruiters screen you on LinkedIn, 2016
Recruiters type in keywords.
For example, if you’re looking for a graduate job in London make sure your location is set to London, or at least the UK. Write in your profile if you are willing to travel within the UK for a job.
Make sure your profile is set to “public” and that you have written the relevant keywords in your LinkedIn profile.
4. Join the Right Groups
If you are interested in a career in consulting then join groups relevant to this industry. Take part in the group discussions, only if you have something valuable to contribute.
Always remember this is a professional site so avoid personal remarks or being overly critical.
See groups as a chance to learn from people in the industry. You can gain commercial awareness which will be useful when it comes to attending interviews. If you can say you are an active member of X and Y LinkedIn groups it shows you have a genuine interest in the field and are a proactive person.
Recruiters don’t just look at your profile but also monitor your activity. What are you liking? What comments have you made? Did you post anything recently?
Follow your target company page. You may find out about recent events and interesting facts which you could bring up during your interview.
Everything you do says something about you. Make sure you are always giving the right impression.
Do not like pictures of people sleeping at their office desks, for example!
5. Recommendations vs endorsements
It is tempting, I know, to get yourself a lot of endorsements from everyone you know. Unfortunately as endorsements are given out by anyone to anyone, they lack credibility.
Someone who you have never met can endorse you for marketing skills. Crazy but true.
So focus instead on recommendations.
While you are a student, you have access to many tutors and academic professionals. If you have done particularly well on a project, presentation or any piece of work, ask them to write you a short recommendation on LinkedIn.
Even better, if you have completed an internship or a part time job ask your manager or your colleague for a recommendation.
Ask sooner rather than later, while you are fresh in their minds. It is more difficult to write one for you for an internship you did many months ago.
Recommendations show you have developed good relationships with people. They have given you the thumbs up!
6. Search on LinkedIn Jobs
Just as recruiters use keywords to find you, you can do the same with the LinkedIn Jobs search tool. Search by the keyword “graduate” for example, and you can filter your search by Location, Date Posted, Job Function, Industry, Experience Level and Title.
Create an alert to receive an email on the most recently posted LinkedIn jobs that match your search.
– Get started on LinkedIn today and build your connections
– Build your brand
– Add the right key words to make sure recruiters can find you
– Join the right groups and make valid contributions
– Get yourself recommendations
LinkedIn is less social networking and more business networking, so use it wisely.
As the graduate job market becomes even more competitive than before, you must build your personal brand on LinkedIn. Relationships matter.