LinkedIn is a platform for professionals to network, discuss and share industry insights, search for opportunities and more. The place where we all talk like a professional when in fact we’d probably never use the words “passionate” and “insightful” in the same sentence normally. But using LinkedIn as a graduate is a great way to become more familiar and comfortable with your career path and opportunities.
I’m not a huge user of LinkedIn but it is a great place for a graduate to grow their network, search for jobs and do sneaky research to benefit their career. So that’s what I want to talk about today, how to use LinkedIn to up your graduate job hunt game. There’s lots of great advice out there about how to optimise your LinkedIn profile too.
I don’t know much about optimising your profile personally, but I do know a few things you can do on LinkedIn to get some great insights into a job or industry. So here are five things you can do on LinkedIn as a graduate:
Track career progression at a company
When a company is listed on LinkedIn, you can have a quick browse through people that work there too. Visit their profiles and take a look at when they started at the company, what position they started out and where they are now.
You can use this to observe whether there is enough room for growth or if you’ll become quite stagnant. This is particularly interesting for those with ‘junior’ still in their title after a few years.
There might be a lot of people that work at one company, so use the ‘All Filters’ tool to search for specific job titles, or even see who at your old school or university now works there.
Look for graduate jobs
LinkedIn is a great place to look for jobs too. You can set up alerts for new postings and can see how well your profile and skillset match the listing.
LinkedIn has an Easy Apply feature too which is great if you’re looking for a job while already employed and can’t dedicate a lot of time to lengthy application processes that websites often have.
Relating to point one, when finding jobs on LinkedIn, the company will often have their page linked and their team will show up too. This is a great way to investigate the company, which is just as important – if not more so – than the role itself. It just makes it all a bit smoother when doing your research by having it all in one place.
Find people at a company to network with
LinkedIn is a great tool for graduates as you can network with professionals in your area. Now this doesn’t mean you should just flood someone’s inbox with questions and requests, especially if you have absolutely no connection to them.
If you find a company that you’d like to work for, filter the employee results to alumni from your university or people that worked at your previous workplace and see if anyone comes up. That way, you can approach them as a fellow graduate or employee and get the conversation going with something you have in common.
Remember to have a look at that person’s profile before messaging, as they may state that they don’t want to receive any messages from connections.
Find what experience to get
As well as tracking career progression by looking at other employees profiles, you can also take a look at what accreditation they’ve done. Maybe they’re a designer and you want to check out what further courses they’ve done or what their portfolio looks like. Or maybe their role involves creative writing and you can see whether they did any classes or courses.
This can also help you to see whether a Master’s is necessary in that field. If everyone at a company has a specific Master’s and you’re struggling to get a job, do some detailed research as to whether it would be beneficial to complete one yourself.
Follow leaders in that industry to get perspective and advice
Use hashtags to find people within an industry that post insightful articles and share tips for graduates entering the field. You can follow the things that they speak about and suggest, as well as seeing what other people share in the comments. This is a great way of finding industry insights all in one place, from a range of people and backgrounds.
Again, don’t flood their comments asking questions, always give more than you take. If you want to know a little bit more about something, provide some insightful thoughts before asking a question or pose a question that will be useful for leaders in the industry to consider for young professionals.
So there are a few things that you can use LinkedIn for – yes it might seem a bit intrusive – but that’s what profiles and job listings are there for. If people aren’t comfortable with having their experience and work details in the public domain, there is an option to hide all of this to people that aren’t connections.
Hopefully this post can reassure you that getting LinkedIn is a great idea for a graduate, it is not just a platform for experienced professionals but for everyone.
How do you use LinkedIn? Would you consider yourself a bit of an expert or someone just starting out?
If you’d like any more advice about careers, check out my posts on jobs, applications and work-life balance here.