Finding a job is difficult, especially without much experience. What you need is for someone to give you a chance. The people most likely to give you this chance are those that know you. Let’s start building your network now, before college graduation!
LinkedIn: A Resource to Research Before College Graduation
As you know, you should have a solid LinkedIn profile. What is solid? It should convey your skills, personality/work ethic, and passion. That’s not easy. Your profile should have more information about you than your resume.
A few more words about your profile: Include a professional looking head shot and strive to make your profile 100% complete as soon as possible:
- Make it professional and interject enough of your personality so the reader feels they know you.
- Use the right “key words” for the occupation you are pursuing
- Skills are skills. You don’t have to confess in your summary how you acquired them.
- Don’t forget to include even more skills and talents in the Specialties section.
- List all your experience: Internships, work/study jobs, activities, clubs, other volunteer activities, summer jobs. (This will allow LinkedIn to find recommended connections for you)
- Describe some key accomplishments or special assignment you are proud of during each position you list.
- Instead of saying Volunteer, use a meaningful job title. Tour Guide/Volunteer or Fundraiser/Volunteer or whatever role you played.
When you think of all the people you’ve met in college and through the activities you’ve been involved in, most of them would be eager to write recommendations. The old fashioned letter of recommendation is great, but even better, more visible and portable are recommendations on LinkedIn.
- Carefully evaluate who would write a good recommendation. It doesn’t have to be a supervisor/manager, it could be a peer or colleague.
- Explain what you would like them to say about you. Give them prompts.
- Sometimes it is nicer to give than to receive. Write a recommendation for someone you respect and value.
Build Your Contacts
People you should add to your network could include professors, alumni you’ve met at events, fellow students, people you’ve volunteered with, college/university staff, people you’ve met during internships. (As you can see, building your LinkedIn network as you go is much easier than trying to do it retro-actively).
- When you ask someone to join your network, customize the default message. Explain why you want to connect with them.
- Use the appropriate “how do you know this person” tag
LinkedIn is merely a tool to manage your network. It doesn’t replace face to face meetings or provide you a job. It helps you build and manage your professional reputation. It also allows you to stay in contact with people long after you have parted ways.