If you’ve just graduated, you’re of a generation who live much of their lives by social media, but you might not have given much thought to LinkedIn – a powerful tool which could help you land your first graduate-level job. Don’t think of it as Facebook for dusty old men in suits – think of it as one big audition for potential employers.
Keeping an up-to-date LinkedIn profile is a must for all graduates. If you apply for anything, chances are the first thing recruiters will do is check you out online, and LinkedIn is almost always their first port of call.
With so many graduates out there looking for their lucky break, how can you stand out online?
- Make a good first impression – Upload a photo. LinkedIn themselves say profiles with a picture get fourteen times more views than those without. Just make sure it’s something appropriate and professional, not a shot of you cuddling kittens or draped around your best mate’s shoulder.
- Write a headline to shine – It’s the first piece of info they will read about you, so make sure it will wow. It should be your professional slogan, and it should be short, sharp and memorable. Avoid buzzwords and clichés, and never, ever be a ‘master’, ‘guru’ or ‘ninja’.
- Pen a killer summary – Attention spans are short. Pen a summary which tells them all they need to know, in as few words as possible. Keep it simple and concise to pique their interest.
- Complete every field – Time-consuming as it may be, you want to get everything out there. Don’t be tempted to cut corners and skip the education and experience sections, or say you’ll do them later. Do them now because people are already looking.
- Wow them with your skills – If you have a particular skill, get it listed. Nothing goes to waste here. Use the ValueMyCV tool to find out which of your skills are worth the most to an employer visiting your profile, and get them in there at the top. LinkedIn reckon a good skills section wins your profile thirteen times more views.
- Keep it up to date – Obvious, but so many ignore the warning. There’s no point filling everything in and sitting back – keep it current, keep it relevant, keep adding to it.
As a new graduate, your degree can give you leverage but you need to make online networking work for you. You may not have the hands-on experience yet, but standing out on LinkedIn is all about adding shine and wow-factor to the education, knowledge and skills you can already brag about.