Seniors, I’m hearing from a lot of you that you’re having a tough time finding the right job and graduation is looming.
As you know, LinkedIn is the first place recruiters and hiring managers look when they want to know more about you. I look at profiles all the time, and there are a number of mistakes, or simple lost opportunities, that I see among people of all ages. Here are some concrete things you can do now to get your profile in great shape for employers.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile tells your story – your real, human story – not a corporate-speak knockoff of other people’s lifeless descriptions. Here are the three pieces of a profile people tend to leave out and are the most important:-A good professional headline: Search profiles of people your age, with similar education, major and career path for ideas. Do not use the headline “Student from X College” – the headline should reflect your career focus. You can test various headlines by trying a couple of variations and seeing which gives you a bigger uptick in profile views.-A summary in the first person that tells your story and has some personality, and-A photo – casually professional in attitude but not necessarily taken by a professional. And it should be full-face, warm and not blurry. And be sure to avoid “boyfriend arm”!
- Get some recommendations! You’ve had summer internships and jobs, right? So why aren’t your former bosses and colleagues writing recommendations for you on LinkedIn for all the world to see? If you don’t have recommendations (which are different from Endorsements), potential employers may wonder why not. So don’t be shy – everyone wants to help a graduating senior looking for her first job.
- Build your connections by inviting everyone you know to connect, without worrying about how you know them, whether you like them or what they do for a living. The goal is to grow your network, not make friends.
- If you plan to contact someone you don’t know for a job or informational interview through LinkedIn, do not invite them to connect first. Here’s why: since they don’t know you, accepting your connection is doing something for you, a stranger. If you then go back to them with a request to speak with you about a job, you are asking them to help you twice.Instead, contact them using your InMail credits, and ask if they would be willing to speak with you, your reason, and a promise to keep the call brief and to the point. If they agree and you establish a relationship, you can ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn later on.
For tips on what to say when you ask someone you don’t know on LinkedIn to give you advice, contact me here.