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How Recent Graduates Can Make the Most of LinkedIn

Feb 22, 2012 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

If you’re about to graduate or just earned your diploma, chances are most of the employment advice you’ve gotten recently includes one admonishment: get on LinkedIn. But if you’re getting that advice, chances are everyone else who graduated with you is getting it as well. Yes, LinkedIn can help you with your job search—but you need to know how to stand out. Here are a few tips.

Focus on expertise as well as experience

As a recent college grad, you may not have as much work experience as you’d like. Still, you can list expertise you may have gained anywhere—including in class—that may be valuable to employers. The more you list, the more your profile will be visible to employers searching for those terms. It’s always best to fill in your profile as completely as possible for this reason.

Leverage your second- and third-degree connections


Getting a job isn’t easy for new graduates in this economy—and you’ve got to do everything you can to stand out.
If you have an ideal company you want to work for, you can use LinkedIn to determine if you have any connections who might be able to help you get a foot in the door. Do a search for the company and correct geographical area, and you’ll see people who fill those requirements—and your possible connections to them. Then email your mutual acquaintances and ask for an email introduction.

Get recommendations

There’s room on LinkedIn for people who’ve worked with you in the past to recommend you, and these are highly valuable—think of them as testimonials. Ask as many people as you can to write you recommendations—your boss, your colleagues at an internship, your professors, and others. If you like, sweeten the deal by writing recommendations for others. This will definitely make you stand out from other LinkedIn users, many of whom won’t take the time to do this.

Download the browser

You can go to the bottom of any page on LinkedIn, look to the right of the “tools” heading, and download the LinkedIn Browser Toolbar for free. This toolbar will then show you how many people in your network work at a certain company you’re checking out on CareerBuilder, Monster, or another online job site. It makes leveraging your network to find a job much easier and more efficient.

Keep it professional

Some social networking sites blur the line between personal and professional—and introduce opportunities for an uncomfortable blending between the two worlds. Not LinkedIn. Here, it’s all professional. Avoid candid pictures of yourself, revealing personal details about your favorite movies or hobbies, or anything that isn’t work-related. Keep everything focused on what you’ve done in the past and what you can offer to employers in the future.

Update your status

You can update your status on LinkedIn much as you would on Facebook. Here, though, it’s all professional. Tell the world whether you’ve been taking a class, going on an exciting interview, or reading an interesting book that’s relevant to your career goals. Employers will see that you’re continually interested and engaged—and that your interest in their industry is long-standing.

Getting a job isn’t easy for new graduates in this economy—and you’ve got to do everything you can to stand out. Don’t just create a LinkedIn profile and leave it alone. Instead, dedicate some time a few days a week to stay engaged—and update your profile. In addition, use it to determine where you have connections—and who might know someone who can help you. If you do, you’re likely to get much more from LinkedIn—and stand out from the competition.


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