As a soon-to-be college graduate, all I can seem to think about is how to start a career after graduation. I’ve asked several alumni and other professionals the best way of going about landing that dream job and everyone has the same answer: networking. It’s all about who you know. And the majority of these people agree that one of the best new ways to connect is LinkedIn. It’s where recruiters and employers are searching for you, not the other way around. It is where people can look at who you are professionally without the need for physical contact or a resume. As a college student, a LinkedIn account is crucial and every student should have one. This may sound like a generalization but in today’s digitally social world, almost every profession has HR or recruiters on LinkedIn that are waiting to help you land that dream job.
Make sure your profile is complete. The more you put in your profile, the more an employer is likely to find you. LinkedIn uses keywords so that when someone searches for a specific skill, education or previous experience, people with more applicable information will be at the top of the list. List as many special skills as possible that apply to you. Be descriptive in your previous work experiences section. When LinkedIn prompts you to complete a section at the top of your profile, do it until you get the All-Star profile rating.
Update your information frequently. Think of your profile as an active resume. Every time you do something worthy of a resume, or maybe something that doesn’t quite make the cut for an extensive resume but is something employers might want to know, add it. Make your skills and experience marketable. In college, you will get the opportunity to have a lot of resume-building experiences. Take advantage of them and let employers know what you did.
Get solid recommendations. You don’t want to have a recommendation from someone down the hall that thinks you are a good guy. This is a professional digital document. But if you had a job or volunteered, ask the most credible person to write you a recommendation or endorse your skills. At SUNY Oswego, you have the chance to work with professors that have done some amazing things and even the chance to work with extremely successful alumni. Take advantage of them! Most would be more than happy to write on your behalf. The same goes for your boss at an internship. Don’t be afraid to ask if it will help you get to where you want to be after graduation.
Branch out. Some people argue that you should make as many connections as possible. Some people say to connect with only people you know. I think it should be a combination of the two. Connect with as many people with value as you can. Connect to reputable people that you would not be afraid to talk to in person. LinkedIn has a feature where your connections can “introduce” you to their connections. If you can connect with someone that knows a lot of people in your field, make sure you take advantage of that and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Put your LinkedIn profile link on your resume. This is a chance for employers to get an even better idea of who you are. It will lead them to those great recommendations and all the information you want them to see that you can’t fit into your resume or elevator pitch.