When it comes to graduation season, my normally heightened enthusiasm for LinkedIn hits a new level. After all, many recent graduates are seeking employment, and LinkedIn has so much to offer!
In addition to a jobs section, here are some of the ways LinkedIn can help you during your job search. LinkedIn can:
Provide potential employers with a space to learn more about you.
A resume is a snapshot of you as a professional. A LinkedIn profile, though, can shed light on additional experiences, project details, and other information that wouldn’t otherwise fit on your resume. I list my LinkedIn URL on my resume header, as well as in my email signature.
Strengthen your professional network.
Search on LinkedIn for past classmates, supervisors, faculty, coworkers, and others with whom you built professional and academic relationships. After graduation, everybody goes their separate ways. LinkedIn can help you stay in touch. It can also show you what your connections are doing and where they are working. You never know who might be able to offer insight into vacant positions, company culture, salary expectations, and other information that isn’t always readily available. Make sure to check in with connections periodically, just to catch up. Always appearing to have an ulterior motive can be a big turn off.
Identify pathways to your dream job.
Most people aren’t going to immediately follow graduation by stepping into their dream job. Utilize LinkedIn profile content to identify people listing your dream job title on their pages. Type a job title in the LinkedIn search box to see profiles that list that job in their content sections. Depending on privacy settings and profile detail, LinkedIn has the potential to provide you with the career and educational pathways that have led to specific positions. See how different people describe those positions. Doing so will help you decide if your career goal is still one for which you want to strive.
Research jobs for which you’re applying.
The search technique discussed above can also be used to gain additional information on jobs for which you are applying. See how the experience is described by someone who currently holds or previously held that position at that institution.
Identify new resources in your industry.
Using the search technique mentioned above, consider private messaging someone further along in their career to introduce yourself. See if they are willing to answer a couple of questions about their journey. This conversation could provide you with valuable insight and could also be the start to a meaningful mentorship.
Allow you to join beneficial groups.
On LinkedIn, you can find groups targeting anything from specific college program alumni to professional associations to functional area based groups. Many of these are open for anyone to join, but some require an active membership to participate. In all cases, these groups offer job hunters the opportunity to hear about vacancies, to ask advice for themselves, and to observe informational discussion threads.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Cristina Lawson at firstname.lastname@example.org.