A graduate guide to LinkedIn

LinkedIn serves as your online CV and allows you to connect withfriends, colleagues and companies in professional capacity.  Its value is immeasurable yet at Inspiring we’ve noticed that the majority of graduates that we meet aren’t using LinkedIn.

First things first, set up a profile and take the time to complete it 100%. If, like all unemployed graduates should, you have an up to date CV you can import it into your profile to save time.  Write a killer headline (avoid being generic), choose a relatively professional looking photo, sell yourself in your profile, emphasising what you can do, as opposed to what you cannot.  You can also personalise your URL, which will help when potential employers search for you on Google.

Once you have built your profile, connect with people.  If you are having difficulty finding contacts, import your email contacts and start there.  Investigate 2nd and 3rd level connections; will they be able to help you begin your career?  You can ask previous employers for recommendations which function as public endorsements of previous work and adds weight to your profile.  Search for people related to the type of work you are interested in, especially those that would be interested in your work experience and qualifications.  You can also follow companies that you would be interested in working for. Companies that update their pages regularly may provide information that would prove invaluable in an interview situation or even helping you get a foot in the door.

Take advantage of the status update function and let others know what you are looking to do.  People often use LinkedIn to post questions, which offers you the opportunity to share your knowledge and make further connections. So get involved, answer these questions if you can and ask your own.  In a market place becoming increasingly saturated with graduates, those who make the effort to get noticed inevitably will be.

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