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LinkedIn is, as we are sure you know, a social business-oriented networking website geared specifically towards professionals. Since, you are about to or have recently left university but not in employment, you might be wondering, does that make you a professional? Not yet, but shortly. So, our suggestion would be to join LinkedIn sooner rather than later and enjoy some of its benefits. ūü§©¬†

People on LinkedIn predominantly use it to create their own personal professional brand with their specific profile they create to showcase their expertise, company, achievements and connections. This profile can then help them open doors to opportunities and networks, or track ex colleagues or utilise those they know to make additional contacts to those that can further their professional endeavours. You as a graduate need to think similarly.  

In its most basic form, it allows you to keep up with friends or acquaintances as they move from job to job. So, start off by connecting with those who you met at college or school. Once connected you can see where they are at as their career progresses and through messaging can contact them as required.  

However, more importantly for career prospects LinkedIn can assist in several other ways.  

1. Gain exposure to Hiring Managers and Recruiters

The majority of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates. LinkedIn makes it easy for them, using APIs, they can easily and rapidly research and recruit candidates. Since, recruiters are paid not by quality but by delivering potential candidates they will try to achieve this with the least amount of effort. If you don’t have an up to dates profile then you are at a loss compared to others who do as they query and sift through LinkedIn.  

Secondly, as LinkedIn holds your public profile it also means others using a search engine will come across your profile. Good for LinkedIn to get people to come to their site and good for you for exposure. As such in this digital world your LinkedIn profile can be as important or more so than your CV. 

2. As a research tool

LinkedIn, once logged in, allows you to research companies, interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers. This is very useful in submitting applications and researching who’s interviewing you (their interests, background etc) and conducting interview research regarding the company its culture and other that work there.  

3. Job Opportunities

Since LinkedIn make the majority of their revenue form recruiters it’s not surprising, they also make it easy for jobs to be posted. The response is typically very good and it means that recruiters get lazy, which means the opportunity may not be listed on other job boards.  

That said, LinkedIn also makes it very easy for those logged in to directly apply for roles, save job searches, as well as flagging to recruiters that you are open to hearing about opportunities.

4. Highlight your skills and talents 

LinkedIn allows others to recommend and endorse you for your skills and past work which will show up on your profile. This function further credits the skills which you say you have by others who support and agree with your perception which adds weight to your claims. This verification can come from friends, lecturers, family, café boss or anyone you have done odd jobs for. It’s a two-way street so the best way to start receiving endorsements is to give out a few yourself.  

5. Follow Companies

LinkedIn can also help research organisations and the people that work for them. So, going back to your friends from School and Uni, it will show rapidly if they have connections in a company you want to work at.  Make the connection, ask for an introduction. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.  This is can often help not only with your research as to whether it’s a nice place to work, but also get the inside line on ongoing opportunities.  

  1. Join Groups

LinkedIn groups¬†extend your reach beyond¬†connections to those with similar interests, skills or industry focus. Groups allow you to take part in discussions. This is a great way to exhibit your knowledge on topics, or gain insights¬†especially¬†related to your¬†chosen¬†industry.¬† You can also¬†ask questions and start conversations with key people in key organisations¬†–¬†who might well then connect with your or vice versa.¬†¬†

LinkedIn has few competitors and great reach. The benefits of creating a LinkedIn profile, and managing your brand can be very helpful in accelerating your career. With how large LinkedIn has become, not having a profile will definitely make things harder. However, as with most social media you need to weigh up the value extrapolated as supposed the¬†value,¬†they get from you. As they say if it‚Äôs free it probably means you are the product¬†ūüė䬆