LinkedIn for Graduates: Personal Branding To Land Your Dream Job

Jun 21, 2020

We’ve all been there, straight out of education and into the world of business. We may see our friends and classmates securing new internships and graduate jobs, but we’re still scrambling with job applications and uncertainty. 

But there is one way to get in front of hundreds of potential employers quickly – LinkedIn

LinkedIn boasts over 30 million company pages, meaning it’s the best place to reverse-engineer your job search and attract an employer to YOU. 

But how do you use it successfully?  Here’s how to create a perfect LinkedIn profile.

This is a guest post by Sakeena Khatib, the strategy director at Hytn.

1) Leave no stone unturned, complete your profile page

Ensure every possible field on your profile is complete. The more complete your profile is, the more seriously you will be taken. 

➡️The more complete your profile is, the priority it will be given in recruiter’s searches. In other words, the more information you share on your profile, the more visible your profile will be in the search results.

Profile photo

Your profile photo should be a headshot. But not necessarily a professional one.

Authenticity sells, and a less corporate, but still appropriate picture showing enthusiasm and personality could pay dividends – especially when looking to work for more creative or tech companies.

➡️LinkedIn profiles with profile pictures receive up to 14x more views.

Background photo

Customising your background photo is a good way to illustrate your personal brand and gives the impression that you have put a lot of thought into completing your profile.

The recommended size for your background photo is 1584 x by 396 pixels. You can use Canva to design your very own LinkedIn background image. There are plenty of LinkedIn background photo templates that you can customise and download for free.

Tagline

 Try and refrain away from a tagline of “Looking for a Graduate Job” or “Graduated from XXXX with XXX”. Although these generic taglines will make it clear you have graduated, they are also vanilla and don’t allow for differentiation in a competitive market.

Be creative. You could try “An expert in Software Engineering, and a recent graduate from King’s College – passionate about all things .NET.” 

Fill out your summary section

Think of your summary section as the first few lines of a well-written cover letter. Keep it concise, highlight your qualifications and express your goals.

Remember to include keywords that are relevant to the graduate jobs you wish to apply for.

Work Experience

Don’t undermine your experience. You may never have worked a day in your life, or you may have worked in retail or as a barista to get you through University.

The trick is to never undermine these experiences because you learn something from everything. All skills are relevant skills.

Graduate employers will be keen to see evidence of transferable skills. You may have gained transferable skills from your work experience placements, internships, part-time jobs or even extracurricular activities.

Once you understand that every experience in your life has somewhat shaped your characteristics, you will take every experience and understand how it can be used in the business world. 

For example, You worked as a Barista at Starbucks for three years. You didn’t just make coffee. You were a master at time-management, juggling tasks simultaneously and working in high-pressure, demanding environments

If you can do that for three years, you have skills and you need to shout about them on your profile. The more experience you list, the more likely you will have something in common with potential employers. 

Where you can, upload examples of your work.

➡️The soft skills that you have developed such communication, teamwork and time management are desirable to graduate recruiters.

Be contactable

Make yourself approachable and contactable.

Your email address and even your phone number should be visible to potential employers and recruiters. There’s also a tick-box of “Open to New Opportunities” – ensure this is on.

Education

Graduate recruiters will be interested in this section to check that you meet the minimum academic requirements for the job.

Pad out this section with as much information as you can including:

  • What and where you studied
  • Your degree classification
  • A-level results and possibly GCSEs (although this is not always necessary)

2) Connecting is great, but content is king. 

Posting video tutorials, pictures, and posts on how you’re upskilling is authentic, shows personality and not many graduates have the confidence to do it. 

Sam Winsbury, a student at The University of Birmingham and owner of That Personal Branding Guy states that exposure makes a person less of a stranger – “simply by appearing on their feed every day, you will become liked and trusted.”

So if employers see you posting relevant and engaging content on their feed and then see you in their application inbox, subconsciously they’ve already warmed to you – you’re no longer a stranger.

If you can do that for three years, you have skills and you need to shout about them on your profile. The more experience you list, the more likely you will have something in common with potential employers. 

3) Nearly every job field on LinkedIn has a relevant group and you should join it. 

The owners, managers and employers all recruiting for that skillset will be there and if you’re able to comment, add value and even offer freelance services to those in that community, you build a reputation, which will bring you jobs and exposure.

Group of preofessionals gathered together at work in the office
Photo by Jopwell from Pexels

4) Use your profile to apply for jobs.

Just typing in “Graduate” into a UK Job search on LinkedIn shows me over 15,000 results. 

And the magic behind applications through LinkedIn is that they’re often one-click, and show the personality behind the application. 

You could even go one step further and message the employers direct with a portfolio of your skills. 

It allows for unlimited exposure and communication. 

5) Connect with people in your network

Be sure to connect with former peers and colleagues. Connecting with the people you know will help you to build up and stay in touch with your professional network.

Once they become connections also ask them to endorse your skills and request recommendations.

Linkedin for graduates app on phone
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

6) Lastly, don’t wait until Graduation day to start this.

The competition for graduate jobs is fierce, and top employers are looking for forward-thinking individuals to join them. 

If you’re already engaging with them whilst studying, you will ooze sophistication and confidence, which will bring employers to you. 

Summary: LinkedIn for graduates

Taking these steps in marketability is training for the business world itself. It teaches confidence, putting yourself out there, and is the first step on the career ladder. 

Guest author bio: With a background in PR, Branding and Recruitment, Sakeena has taken. her core skills to the next level. She combines Marketing and. Branding with Recruitment to create the best possible campaigns for her clients, bridging the gap of understanding between Branding and Recruitment.

If you are in the process of searching for a graduate job, a well-optimised LinkedIn profile is a must! It is equally important that your other social media profiles are also professional!

We hope you enjoyed our LinkedIn for graduates post!

Finding it hard to land a graduate job? Get in touch with the team here at Graduate Coach! We offer students, graduates and career changers career coaching, interview training, online courses and more!

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