Ultimate List of LinkedIn Tips for Graduate Job Seekers
Graduate jobs, Advice
August 05, 2021
If you’re in the process of trying to find a graduate job, you’ve probably already come across some of the main websites for job seekers. Student Circus is a good place to start, as is looking directly at the websites for companies you might want to work for.
But there’s another great platform that all international students in the job market should be using: LinkedIn. Not only is the social media site a good place to apply for jobs, network with colleagues and even connect with potential employers, but having an up-to-date LinkedIn page can complement your applications and show recruiters so much more about you than a simple PDF copy of your CV will.
Many recruiters even use LinkedIn to actively find candidates to fill their vacancies, so learning how best to use the platform to your advantage will give you a major boost when looking for a graduate job.
From what to include on your profile to the value of recommendations, here are our top tips for using LinkedIn as a graduate job seeker.
1. Complete your profile
It sounds obvious, but a lot of people don’t actually complete their profiles. A bare profile won’t give recruiters a good impression, and it will make it harder for people to find you when they search for potential employees in a certain field.
This is because LinkedIn’s algorithm favours those with complete profiles, making it more likely that they will show up in search results. Considering that many recruiters search for potential candidates, you need to make sure your profile is as easy to find as possible. To give you the best chance of being seen, fill out every section of your profile, and use keywords (more on them later!) that employers are likely to search for across your headline, summary and experience sections.
2. Use a professional profile picture
First impressions matter a lot on LinkedIn. The best way to do that is by adding a high-quality professional profile picture to your profile. As a general rule of thumb, use a photo that was taken in a well-lit professional setting using a good camera. You should be wearing smart clothes, and looking directly into the camera. Wear what you’d normally wear to an interview.
If you’re applying for a graduate job in marketing or in an industry that heavily relies on social media, it’s also a good idea to keep your profile photo consistent across your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. It helps recruiters to identify you and makes you seem more professional.
3. Identify keywords and work them into your profile
Your keywords will depend on what jobs you’re applying for. You need to think about what skills and qualities recruiters in that field will want to see, and add those words naturally into your profile.
One useful hack is to look at job listings and make a list of the common desirable skills that keep popping up. For example, if one of them is “solid understanding of SEO,” and you have the relevant experience to back it up, then make sure to fit that phrase into your summary or your past experience section.
4. Make your headline and summary stand out
Recruiters are busy people, and though they will likely scan over your whole profile, it’s the top sections they’ll pay the most attention to. The good news is that as a student or recent graduate lacking extensive experience, this can play in your favour.
Your headline and profile photo are the only things that people see before clicking on your profile, so use your headline to highlight specific skills and show who you are and where you want to go next. Your summary should expand on your headline, showing off your personality, relevant experience and qualities. End on a call to action, asking the reader to connect with you or contact you about professional opportunities.
5. Seek recommendations
One of the big advantages of using LinkedIn to find a graduate job is the recommendations feature. If you’ve done any work experience or worked a part-time job alongside your studies, ask your employer or colleagues to give you a recommendation on your profile, or at least give endorsements for your listed skills.
This is one of the best ways to boost your credibility within a certain field. Recommendations and endorsements help everyone out, so if you want to start receiving them, try giving some out to other people in your network.
6. Be an active user (not just when you need a job)
Once you’ve set up the basics of your profile, start posting! Write posts, share your wins and engage with your network. If you’re nearing the end of your university course, announce your graduation. This will help you grow your connections, improve your visibility to recruiters and establish you in the field. Who knows, one of your connections might even end up sharing a great opportunity with you further down the line.
7. Seek inspiration from those within your field
Creating a great profile is easier said than done, and it may take you a while to get it right. Have a look at the profiles of people working in your general industry, or even your fellow students or recent graduates to see what they include in their profiles.
Do they have some great keywords you could use too? How do they structure their summary section? What experiences or achievements have they included from their time as a student? These are the things you should look for and try to adapt to fit your own profile (of course, without directly copying them!)
8. Add your LinkedIn handle to your CV
You’ve created a meticulous LinkedIn profile and you intend on updating it regularly. But unless you direct the recruiters and hiring managers to your profile, it’s all for nothing. Add a link to your LinkedIn profile in your CV, preferably right under your name and contact details.
With that, you have everything you need to leverage LinkedIn as your personal sales pitch!