LinkedIn Grad Guide

LinkedIn Grad Guide

By: Jeannie Chong
  7169 reads

Welcome to the job market and social media world, class of 2013. If you don’t have a LinkedIn Profile before or if you do and you haven’t logged in for a while, then you may want to revisit and refresh your online presence. According to a survey of recent graduates by an online privacy company, Abine. Inc., only 16% of the class of 2013 is proactively improving their professional online presence while 60% of them are not worried about their online profiles affecting them to land a job.

As a new job-seeking graduate, you will realize that social media is not just about sharing pictures with your friends or tweeting about what you had for lunch. Instead, social media is a useful tool for your job search and your career. You can search job postings through LinkedIn, create your unique online resume, join various discussion groups or even get recommendations from your previous employers.

Over 200 million professionals are currently connected worldwide and with that much activity, it can be a bit challenging to catch the eye of potential employers, especially the hiring managers who are searching for candidates online. You want to make sure you have a well-designed LinkedIn profile which describes your education, career history, achievements, interests, etc. to improve your LinkedIn visibility.

Here are 10 useful tips to help you kick your LinkedIn presence up a notch!

1. Rock your profile headline: Just like newspapers, make the most of your headline by using keywords to catch people’s attention. Summarize everything into one sentence to make you unique and special. Never say something negative!

          Do: SFU Beedie Graduate | Social Media Strategist | Seeking new opportunity

          Don’t: Unemployed Graduate 

2. Post a professional profile picture to make a good first impression. A funny face or a picture with your puppy is not a good fit for LinkedIn. Have a warm-smile with a professional outfit for your headshots. Don’t leave your display image empty! Profiles with pictures are much more likely to get clicked on. According to LinkedIn Career Expert Nicole Williams, she said, “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one.”

3. Write a concise and inspiring summary: show people how awesome you are with your achievements and express what you are passionate about in 200-300 words. Be sure to include keywords that are related to your industry. It helps improve your name appearing in LinkedIn search results and your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Think of the summary as an elevator pitch to promote yourself. Williams further recommends that you can write the summary in the first person to give it energy and personality.

4. Update your status regularly: Keep your status fresh to show people you’re active. Of course, you can’t update your LinkedIn status like Facebook! You want to refresh your network about your professional accomplishments and progress or share the inspiring career-related articles you found.

5. Join and participate in alumni discussion groups/ industry groups:  There are more than 2.1 million LinkedIn Groups. Do some research and find a group that ties back to your industry field or career. If you can’t find one, why not start one yourself?

6. Add sections to enrich your profile. Employers understand that fresh graduates don’t have much work experience. You can include your volunteer experiences, skills, expertise, languages, certificates, projects, organizations, courses you’ve taken or other relevant experience to build up your LinkedIn profile.

7. Ask for recommendations and endorsements: “Recommendations are one of the most powerful tools on LinkedIn,” says Williams. Take the advantage of your connections, such as your former employers, mentors, supervisors, etc. and ask if they’ll recommend you on LinkedIn. Tell them what position you are interested in and what qualities or strengths you would like them to highlight for you. Your professional credibility may grow!

8. Don’t simply send LinkedIn’s default connection request. Tailor the invitation message to explain why you want to connect. You want your message to be more appealing than LinkedIn’s default “I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

9. Set your personalized URL with your name. Create your unique LinkedIn URL to polish your professional status.

10. Quality over quantity. Having a lot of connections is good but make sure they are related to your field.

Want to learn more about LinkedIn? Check out the article on Forbes, 8 Mistakes You Should Never Make on LinkedIn

Expand your connections and network, meet new professionals and connect with classmates, professors, past employers, co-workers, mentors, etc. Who knows? These connections may pay off someday! 

BONUS TIP: Login to LinkedIn right now and ask an employer or colleague to write you a reccommendation!

Jeannie ChongJeannie Chong is a Special Projects Assistant with SFU Career Services, and a fourth year student studying communications and publishing. Jeannie also volunteers at a radio station, spends time doing crafts and Chinese calligraphy, and loves to indulge her sweet tooth.


Lead image: creative-commons licensed photo by Nan Palmero on Flickr.

Posted on June 11, 2013