Many college and university students may have rising worry and anxiety as they approach their graduation. For these young adults who have grown so accustomed to their years in academic study, once those studies end, they can’t help but ask themselves: What now? Being able to secure a job after graduating- one that you are happy with- can be a struggle, especially depending on one’s degree major and whether there is rising or depleting demand within that field.
When looking for ways to establish professional connections and source out possible career openings, many students neglect to consider LinkedIn as an excellent tool for this search. Many may assume this website is for the use of those who already have a secure place in the job market and already maintain various professional relationships with others. However, it is quite the opposite! Within this article I’ll walk you through the ways in which LinkedIn is a perfect place to begin and expand your professional connections, as well as your opportunity to find jobs.
- Starting Simple: Familiar Names and Faces
Where do you start on LinkedIn? As is the case with any connection-based app, like Instagram and Facebook, begin with people you know personally. This can include friends, family, coworkers and supervisors that you have experience with. Starting with who you know lays the foundation for your profile. Especially through connecting with your coworkers and employers, this will automatically open you up to possible connections with others within a similar field of work as yours.
- Flipping the Script: Employers Can Come to You
Instead of going through the time-consuming witch-hunt of searching for jobs one-by-one and sending in your resume, your LinkedIn profile is like a virtual resume accessible to any and all employers and other connections. From a one-minute scroll of your profile, all of your work experience, volunteer experience, references and achievements are available for viewing. Being able to access your credentials within a simple click of your profile, employers, companies and professionals within your field of study will help increase your connections with relevant organizations and employees, as well as possible interest from employers that come across your profile through these connections.
Tips: To begin the expansion of your connections, search people on LinkedIn based on characteristics or education that you share in common- such as your major, degree type, or even the university you attended. Another significant tip is to also make connections with certain companies or organizations that you are interested in working for or are similar to your line of work.
- Easily Accessible References
For some employers, verifying and collecting references can be tedious. From requesting references from a job candidate to finding an appropriate time to contact them and receive a reference from them, LinkedIn helps make this process quick and easy for employers. With an account, you can request past employers, organizations and coworkers to write a recommendation for you which will be accessible on your profile. This allows those with past experience with you to attest to your skills, hard-work and overall performance for potential employers to view.
The Importance of References: When viewing job positions available, LinkedIn also provides users with advice on how to increase your chances of receiving interest or interview requests from the employer. One piece of statistical information they include on every job post is advising candidates that including references with your application would increase your chances by 2x!
- Comparing: Where You Stand Among Other Candidates
Another helpful tool that LinkedIn provides is the ability to view recently hired employees for jobs you are applying for or companies you are looking to be employed with. This allows you to view their individual profiles and compare your skills and education to theirs. This gives you a snapshot into what that employer is looking for in their candidates and whether you would be a good fit for the position. Other career-related websites and services do not provide this perk, which once again reveals how LinkedIn offers a variety of unique and helpful tools to give you insights and advantages! You’ll never decide to not apply for a job just because you don’t think you’re an ideal candidate — now you can confirm that for yourself and not miss any possible job openings!
- LinkedIn Learning: Expanding your Education and Experience
Not only does LinkedIn connect you to jobs and people, it also provides you with a variety of courses, videos, and other educational tools to expand your learning on any subject or topic you are interested in. Their resources range from free to purchasable with varying fees — nonetheless, any of these sources you decide to utilize will reflect your dedication and will help expand your experience and your resume skills.
Tips: You can search for these courses and videos using keywords, such as your major (i.e., psychology, business), a skill you would like to improve on and learn how to master (i.e., communication), or a software you would like to start using or would like to become familiar with.