LinkedIn is a powerful tool for networking and job searching and as a result has become an essential tool for Graduates entering the job market. 95% of recruiters and employers use LinkedIn to hire so a completed profile, which provides relevant information, will make you more attractive to them. High levels of graduate unemployment and limited workplace opportunities means today’s job market is a highly competitive place for many graduates. This article covers using LinkedIn effectively as a Graduate, including basic steps to assist you in creating a positive online presence and driving traffic towards your profile.
Optimise your headline and complete your profile
- Your headline is underneath your name and it’s the first area recruiters or employers will see. It should include job titles or areas of expertise. Think about what you want to be found as. Be specific about your industry so you can be found by the appropriate employers and recruiters in your industry, e.g. Graduate Mechanical Engineer – Automotive Manufacturing.
- Make it obvious what you want to accomplish and position yourself accordingly.
- Adding a professional photo will multiply your profile views by up to 15 times. Ensure that the photograph is smart and professional. There is an option for you to customise your URL and make it easy for people to find you. You can add this URL to your CV and email signature.
- Use keywords in your summary and experience sections that are relevant to your job search, such as job titles, functional skills, specific knowledge and technical skills.
Add in a summary
- The Summary is now featured in the first section of your profile; the first 2 lines of your summary will always be visible, so think about making these lines as strong as possible. Include your job title or say you are a graduate and include your discipline and some words to describe you, e.g. “Motivated, hardworking, professional”.
- Highlight and promote your skills and achievements as well as specific projects you completed during your course.
- Make this relevant to your target audience and include keywords to optimise your profile for recruiters and employers to find you. Keywords include job titles, functional or technical skills. What are your USPs? What sets you apart from other graduates?
- Include job titles you are interested in which align with your long term career goals.
One way of using LinkedIn effectively as a Graduate is through work experience. Your experience should include jobs you had whilst studying, work placements, and jobs you have held since graduating to show transferable and job specific skills and knowledge. This will increase the keywords used throughout your profile and ensure that you are appearing in relevant search results. You could structure this section by using a few sentences offering an overview of the company and the role, some bullet points listing relevant responsibilities and some key achievements.
Include volunteer work and projects
41% of employers consider volunteer work to be as important as paid employment. Unpaid work experience is a valuable way for graduates to show commitment and employability skills.
Ensure that you include projects you would like to highlight from your educational experience, work experience, internships and elsewhere. Give an account of the responsibilities you have held and your accomplishments to make this area most effective. Project work can be a valuable way of showing your ability to work as part of a team, make decisions and work within timeframes and budgets, which all contribute to your employability.
Join LinkedIn Groups
Groups are a brilliant way to meet people with similar professional interests and expand your network from other graduates to professionals already working in your industry. Groups allow you to take part in discussions. This is a great way to exhibit your knowledge on topics related to your industry, ask questions and start conversations with key people in key organisations. Join your University Alumni and professional society groups. Recruiters and head-hunters and other industry professionals will take notice of this. You can use this to help people; remember, networking is a two way process.
Groups allow you to network with other members of the group, giving you access to connect with other people in your industry or field and turn group networking to individual one on one networking. Some groups also give you the facility to be able to search for jobs advertised by other group members and information on graduate recruitment processes in certain industries and organisations. Look for job boards that specialise in graduate recruitment as they often have groups associated with their job board.
LinkedIn is a brilliant tool for researching organisations and people that work at them. You can use this to target people within your network that work for organisations that you really want to work for. You could start by following your University and companies offering graduate schemes to build up a good set of companies to follow.
Companies use their LinkedIn pages as an engagement platform to let their followers know what is going on in their organisation. This could include, successes, company growth and employment opportunities. Follow companies that you want to work for to keep up to date with opportunities or organisational developments which may indicate an increase in employment opportunities.
It is important to optimise your profile and proactively use LinkedIn in order to ensure you are sourcing opportunities effectively. Utilise LinkedIn groups and follow company pages to gain access to group member profiles, find new connections, discover industry news and share your expertise within discussions.
If you’re interested in discussing further how to utilise LinkedIn effectively as a Graduate, or as part of your job search, consider the services of a Career Coach. We’re able to offer you one-to-one support and access to a suite of comprehensive online resources to help you through your career transition. Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org