Assalamualaikum, and hi 🙂
In a previous post (Networking your way to success!), I wrote a little about how fresh graduates like you could utilize LinkedIn to build and expand your professional network. If you haven’t read it yet, I do recommend you to read the post, or any of the other Fresh Grad 101 posts!
In this post, I’ll be expanding a little bit more about how you can utilize LinkedIn for your jobsearch and career. If you’re a university student or a fresh graduate, this may be particularly useful for you as you embark on your career journey!
Do note, as always, that this is written from my own perspectives, and depending on how you use and portray yourself on LinkedIn, you may or may not experience the same thing.
Building your LinkedIn profile.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online resume. It’s an extension of your resume, another way for potential employers and recruiters to look you up.
That being said – you need to work on building a good profile on LinkedIn. Now – there are a lot of resources out there that can help you with this. Some of the tips that people typically say include:
- Working on your headline, which can help you stand out among other users / jobseekrs.
- Including keywords that recruiters can use to find you, which helps to improve your profile views.
- Writing a kick-ass summary, which can help to attract people’s attention when they visit your profile.
As you read through a lot of different articles / websites about building your LinkedIn profile, you’d probably stumble upon different advice. For instance, some people say you should use adjectives like “Inspirational” or “Ambitious” in your headlines. Others, however, say don’t use it because it doesn’t really mean anything.
So – which one should you follow?
It’s totally up to you on how you want to create your personal brand on LinkedIn. Feel free to experiment, try around some headlines and make changes as and when necessary. See how well your profile grows and then adjust if needed.
After all – your LinkedIn account is a part of your personal brand, so make it yours. Let your personal brand shine through your profile. Be authentic and be you.
Getting a job through LinkedIn.
You’ve probably heard of a Malaysian guy who went viral on LinkedIn earlier this year. This is just one of the many, many examples of how you can utilize LinkedIn for your jobsearch and career. Granted, not many people are brave and extroverted enough to post something like Azmil, but fret not!
LinkedIn is full of recruiters and HR people who are constantly sharing vacancies and openings. When I scroll through my LinkedIn feed, I’ll see at least three or four vacancy posts per day – sometimes even more!
A lot of people use LinkedIn to seek new opportunities. While most may not be as extroverted as Azmil (see link above), some share their resumes online and ask for recommendations or referrals.
And, most of the time, you’ll see that people are generally kind enough to help you. Most will share / like posts to increase its visibility, whereas others might tag their contacts that may help you. Some may even give you suggestions on things that you can do to help improve your applications!
LinkedIn also has the Jobs feature, where you can search for opportunities in your area. One thing that I like about the Jobs feature is that you get to see how your profile compares for the position. And, if you have LinkedIn Premium, you can also compare yourself with other applicants!
Granted, not all companies will use this, especially in Malaysia. But, hey, at least it’s another way to apply for jobs, right? After all, different companies will advertise their vacancies in different platforms. So it’s best to look for opportunities everywhere to keep your options wide open.
Following companies & organizations.
You also have the opportunity to follow organizations and companies on LinkedIn and sign up to be alerted if they ever advertise a vacancy. This would be super helpful if you’re looking to get into a particular company.
It’s also useful if you’re still a student and wanting to keep up with the current news of your intended industry. This can be helpful for future interviews, where you can show that you are well-informed about the industry.
Other than that, you can utilize LinkedIn for your jobsearch and career by reaching out to current employees and HR managers of particular companies. This can at least help you to get more information about a position / department before you submit your application.
For example, last year I was looking into various graduate schemes for higher education / education management here in the UK. As it was something new to me, I wanted to learn more about it. I ended up reaching out to 5+ people on LinkedIn to ask more about their experiences. And, best of all, they responded and were more than happy to share their stories.
Building your connections on LinkedIn.
When starting out on LinkedIn, it may be daunting as you might not know who you can connect with. So here are just some of my own tips on how to start building your ‘connection’ base on LinkedIn.
Start off by adding the people you know. This can be your classmates, your university lecturers or your colleagues from your part-time / full-time work / internship. I personally started using LinkedIn as a class assignment back in 2014, and most of the people I added back then were mostly friends and ex-lecturers or teachers.
You can then start branching off and add other people who might not be in your immediate network, but still somehow connected to you in some way or another. This can be the head of department at your university, the hiring manager at your company, or even your parents’ friends that you might have met at a family function.
Finally, start reaching out to other people outside your network. This can include people like recruiters and HR managers, your favorite motivational speakers or authors, well-known people in your intended industry or people whose work you admire. Don’t forget to also reach out to other people who are in your intended industry so you can learn from one another!
But why do I need to add all those people I’d probably never meet in real life?
Your connections on LinkedIn are useful in many ways. For instance, some people share beneficial tips and advice on LinkedIn, such as the #career57 posts or posts by KB and Oleg. Recruiters and HR people will also share job opportunities and vacancies, which may or may not be beneficial for you.
Other than that – your connections are also useful when you need referrals for a new job application. When you look up a job vacancy on LinkedIn, you’ll be able to see if any of your connections work there. This can help you to get a better picture of the organization / position, or even a referral to the HR manager.
You also get to see if there are any alums from your university who works there. This can be useful if you want to utilize your university’s alumni network in your jobsearch.
You can also probably find non-work opportunities through your LinkedIn connections. For instance, I’m currently volunteering with the #career57 team to help them with their social media presence. It’s something that I enjoy doing, and can do on the side during my free time.
And, who knows, maybe one day you’ll get to meet some of your connections during a work event or a conference?
For instance, I added Ms Hanie because I love her posts and am motivated by her work. We’ve never met before, but we’ve talked and discussed on LinkedIn. Poof, one day we got to meet at an event at Monash Malaysia when I was working there. And, best of all, she remembered me! 😀
Take action now!
LinkedIn is a powerful tool, if used correctly, and can definitely help you in the long term. Not only can it help to connect you with other professionals in the industry, but it can also help you to build a name for yourself.
It’s like building an online portfolio of your past experiences and posts. You can also use LinkedIn to discuss and learn from other people in your industry. You also get to hear about different successes that are happening in people’s lives, which can help to motivate you as well!
Personally, I enjoy it because of the different things that I learn everyday. When you follow and connect with people from different industries, you get to see things differently. I’m connected with people from various backgrounds, and their posts just inspire me to do more in this life.
Hopefully this post has helped you in learning more about how to utilize LinkedIn for your jobsearch and career. Feel free to share some tips that have been useful for you in the comment section! Or, best yet, share this out to your friends so that they can benefit from it too!
Before you go – don’t forget to read the other Fresh Grad 101 posts, such as how to make your job application stand out and how to ace your job interview!
Update (April 2022): I created a LinkedIn guide for students & graduates – download it here!
Until next time, add me up on LinkedIn, take care and stay awesome peeps! 🙂
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