As a new graduate, the job market can seem very confusing. Where should you start your search? There are many avenues to job hunt – the job centre, career fairs at university and multiple job-hunting websites. But the best platform to start your job search by far is LinkedIn.
What is LinkedIn? What sets it apart from other job listing sites? And why is it the number one employment-focused social media platform? LinkedIn provides more than a platform to find job vacancies but also a place to network, optimise your profile and engage with other professionals. So, let’s go through how to search for jobs on LinkedIn.
Get Started on LinkedIn
It is important to have an optimised profile on LinkedIn to be successful in landing your dream job. Your profile is often one of the initial impressions you give to the organisation you are applying to. We will go step by step on how to curate your best profile for LinkedIn.
Sign Up For a LinkedIn Account
It’s free to sign up for a LinkedIn account. You just need an email address. Remember, this email address needs to be professional. If the email address you use now is not appropriate or is a school or university address, you should create a new email address. Choose an appropriate password and enter your first and last name. It is important to remember that you have to use your real name as using pseudonyms and company names are against LinkedIn policy. It’s also important to note that it is against LinkedIn’s community policy to make multiple profiles.
Upload a Professional Profile Picture
Having a profile picture, although not necessary, makes your profile more appealing. The right profile picture can create a good first impression when applying for a job.
Ensure that your LinkedIn profile picture is:
- A high-quality, professional portrait of yourself that includes your head and shoulders.
- A recent and well-lit image of you, with a plain black or white background.
Write Your Headline
Your headline will be a maximum of 120 characters. It needs to grab the attention of potential employers on LinkedIn and create the right first impression. When organisations browse LinkedIn, this will often be one of the first pieces of information they see of you, so make it count! Your headline needs to sum up who you are, what you do and what you want to be in the future. Remember, the better you come across in your headline, the more likely you are to attract potential employers.
Do your research on your future employers to:
- Know what they are looking for.
- How to best appeal to them.
Once you’ve drawn people in, you need to keep them interested with your summary. This is where you need to flesh out what you wrote in the headline. This will be the meat of your LinkedIn pitch to employers so tell your story, your passion and your life goals. It always helps to be proactive in your job hunt, so end with a ‘call to action’ to encourage employers.
Remember to leave your contact information:
- Layout your contact information clearly on your profile.
- Make yourself accessible. Make it clear they can phone you or drop an email anytime.
Add Your Experience
One of the most important aspects that an employer looks for in a new candidate is their past experiences. You should be prominently displaying these on your profile whether it be work placements, shadowing, internships or volunteering. The best way to list out your examples of work experience is using the STAR method.
If you have any online examples of work you’ve done, you should link to them on your profile. List out all your previous work experience and jobs. For each one, describe in detail what it involved and the skills you learnt. Keep in mind the job you are currently aiming for and focus on the skills and experience you have most relevant to it.
Have your experience reflect positively on you. Show examples of times that you volunteered for good causes. Volunteering shows you have commitment and that you hold particular values. Organisations love to hire candidates who share their values and supporting the same causes as they do can endear you in the hiring process. Think hard about what parts of your previous experience are relevant.
If you can’t think of any:
- It’s never too late to start volunteering for the right causes now.
- Volunteer for causes you know your employer will like.
Present Your Skills
Adding your skills to the Skills section of your LinkedIn profile can boost you up in searches. You can have up to 50 skills on your profile and the more skills you include, the higher you will appear on searches. Think of the skills you have that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. The trick is to add as many skills you have that match the requirements of the job listed on the job specification. This will make you rank higher on searches and more visible to potential employers.
Include your Educational Background
Most Graduate jobs require a certain level of academic achievement, such as a 2:1 or UCAS points from A-levels. Lay out your educational attainments clearly so employers can view them easily. To make this even better, focus on things in your education that are relevant to the job that you are pursuing. This includes projects you did or awards you won.
Start Your Job Search
Once you’ve completed your Profile you will be ready to start applying for jobs. The job section has a search tab, filter and alert system to help you search and refine the job you’re looking for. Once you find the job that interests you can either ‘Easy Apply’ or follow a link to apply on the organisation’s website. You should always be prepared to have a CV and cover letter to hand, tailored for the role you are applying for. You should start now writing multiple drafts of your CV for each specific job title you plan to apply for.
Job Search Tab and Filter
The job search tab is useful because you can job search via multiple avenues. The obvious search is to look for jobs by their title e.g. Project Manager roles. But you can also look for jobs available that require certain skills that you possess or even search for vacancies at specific companies.
Once you’ve searched for a job, you should filter the results to efficiently sort through the roles that you should consider seriously. This all depends on what you are looking for and finding a job that meets your requirements. It is important to set your location particularly if you are looking for a role that needs you to commute into work. The most important filters for refining your job search are experience level and salary, as you should be applying for roles that you are qualified for and meet your salary expectations.
Set Job Alerts
It is important to remember that your dream job may not be on offer when you are first applying for jobs. Therefore, in cases like these, it is best to set a job alert so you can be notified when there is a position advertised that would be a good potential fit for you. Set your preferences so the job alert knows precisely what you want and will only alert you when the right role becomes available.
Applying for the Job
Once you’ve found the right job it’s time to make the application. Some positions allow for an ‘Easy Apply’ where you can apply directly on LinkedIn while others require you to apply through a third-party site or directly on their website. You need to be ready to provide basic details about yourself such as personal details and contact information.
Each application is different and will ask different things of you. Some may ask you to take a test or set you a task to complete. But most will require a CV and a cover letter. It is important that you write both specifically for the role you are applying for. You want the employer to know how much you want the role at their specific company as it will show your dedication. Handing in a generic CV and cover letter will not give the right impression.
Here at Graduate Coach, we offer a digital internship to help put the best CV forward. There are many free resources on this website that will help you write the best CV. Look on the graduate coach website to find many PDFs and courses to make your CVs the best.
Network with Industry Professionals
Networking on LinkedIn can be used to the advantage of many people in different positions. Networking is primarily used as a way for companies to highlight their services and products. But just as it is used to make professional connections, recruiters can use it to connect with talent. Because people are looking to connect it is advantageous to network to increase your connections with employers.
Employers can reach out and message you if they are interested and showing interest helps first establish a connection. Show interest by following the organisation you want to work for and follow the people who work there.
Conclusion: Optimise your use of LinkedIn
If used properly, LinkedIn can greatly improve your job search, especially if you use all the available features. To do this involves curating a profile that magnifies your personality, qualities and skills.
Using your profile, you can job search using filters to efficiently refine your hunt. Remember that LinkedIn can function as a social media site too, so be social with people and network with employers.
Finally, be direct and particular when applying. It is tempting to send the same application to many job vacancies. However, taking the time to apply for positions with carefully written applications that are specifically for that role makes the application more genuine.
Written by Laurence Stables