15 January 2020 | Grads Corner | Guest Author
With more than 660 million users globally, representing some 30 million companies, LinkedIn has a truly colossal reach. And for job seekers it's an invaluable platform, with circa 20 million open job vacancies waiting to be filled.
But LinkedIn is much more than a jobs board. It also serves as your public CV, portfolio, networking tool and helps recruiters and employers find you. Sophie Phillipson, co-founder of student and graduate support site HelloGrads, offers five tips to help job seeking grads get more out of LinkedIn.
1. Tweak your settings
Adjust your settings to show that you are ‘open to new opportunities’ and specify what type of role you are looking for. This will allow you to show up in searches and flag to recruiters that you are looking for work. This status is hidden from your current employer and affiliated companies and all your activities are private by default so you should be able to search in safety. If you want to further tweak your settings, you can edit what you broadcast over in the ‘Settings & Privacy’ option by clicking the ‘Me’ section.
2. Help others find you
Leaving the headline (usually a job title) and summary fields blank does you no favours. LinkedIn’s algorithms, employers and recruiters will not be able to find you unless you use the right keywords in your profile. That means you can leave out vague and overused descriptors like “confident”, “passionate” and “capable” and use relevant terms that’ll get you found e.g. “Recently graduated and actively pursuing entry-level roles in PR and communications” or “Bristol University graduate with first class honours in Engineering. Actively seeking work experience and internships.”
As well as an opportunity to maximise your SEO, the longer summary field is also your elevator pitch; it’s a chance to briefly tell your story, put your own spin on your experience and get your personality across. Your aim is to stand out from the graduate throng so, again, avoid CV clichés like “strategic”, and don’t use hyperbole or words like “experienced” or “expert” as they are neither required nor believable for entry-level roles.
3. Perfect your profile
Complete your profile by adding at least five skills. LinkedIn says users with more than five skills on their profiles are 27x more likely to be found in searches by recruiters and 100% complete (aka ‘all-star’) profiles are 40x more likely to receive opportunities.
On top of skills, you can add your own media to all your work experience when completing your profile, effectively using LinkedIn as a portfolio. This is particularly useful for grads seeking roles in creative sectors like media.
Pack an extra punch by approaching past employers and colleagues to see if they’ll add glowing testimonials and endorse your skills.
4. Engage in groups
Start using LinkedIn as a global professional networking tool and seek out ways to grow your connections, boost your visibility and learn more about the industries you want to work in.
Find groups in the ‘Work’ section and take your pick from university alumni groups, graduate groups and industry-specific groups. But remember, networking as a graduate is all about asking intelligent questions and gathering information. The goal is to build some excellent connections who can help develop your career in the short and long term, and maybe even secure a work experience opportunity. Many people will be happy to talk to you about their career paths and give you some advice, so don’t be shy. Engage in conversations and send connection requests with polite added messages to those who work in the industries you’re interested in.
5. Post regularly
Given its global reach, a single post that engages people could put you on the radar of thousands of recruiters, hiring managers and business owners. This video post, created by job hunter Chelsea Miller – now an innovation & experience designer at Accenture – got more than 10,000 views and almost 700 comments. This whiteboard video was recorded on her iPhone and edited in iMovie.
On top of getting noticed, staying active will keep you up-to-date with your industry and increase your likelihood of rubbing shoulders with interesting people. Adding connections is the simplest way of keeping your profile active while proactively growing your network.