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Getting started with LinkedIn as a recent graduate

3 min read

Brands & Campaigns

If you’re like most recent graduates, you didn’t have to fight your way past a throng of potential employers to pick up your diploma. Chances are good that CEOs probably didn’t insist on picking up the tab for your post-graduation luncheon or ask you to stop by their offices sometime Monday afternoon for a job interview. Instead, you woke up on the Monday morning after commencement to start combing through job listings like everyone else. Isn’t there a better way to get an employer’s attention?

Even if you’ve already got some experience under your belt, finding a position commensurate with your new bachelor’s degree can present a challenge. Luckily for 21st-century job seekers, LinkedIn offers a way to network with more than 8.5 million experienced professionals. Indeed, this professional social network is so popular because it produces results, catching the regular attention of corporate recruiters, headhunters and human resource managers.

Proper use of this network can, at the very least, provide you with a professional network of more experienced peers; offer a platform in which to ask pertinent questions; allow you to engage in discussion forums in which you can answer questions and strut your stuff; and give you access to groups of like-minded professionals. LinkedIn also provides you with the means to research potential employers and contacts within the company at which you hope to work.

How to Make LinkedIn Work for You

Among the most important tasks include the following:

  • Fill in your profile as completely and carefully as you can. Spend a few days working on it. If you try to knock it out in 30 minutes, your profile will reflect your haste. Include any internships and volunteer experience you have under your belt, in addition to any paying jobs you may had before or during school.
  • Customizing your profile’s URL to make it easier for potential employers to remember — and for search engines to find. LinkedIn provides relatively simple instructions on how to accomplish this.
  • Upload a professional-looking head shot photograph as part of your profile. Unless you’re a professional model, don’t show skin.
  • If possible, include links to websites that demonstrate your work in your profile, such  as portfolios for photographers, writers and artists. Avoid posting links to your personal Facebook page or other social media profiles that are overly personal, as that might prove embarrassing.
  • Recommendations are important, but quality is more important than quantity.

Finally, keep researching ways to make LinkedIn work for you, tweaking your page as you go. Every time you make a change to your profile to refine your page, all your connections are notified, so remember to consider your LinkedIn page a work in progress.