7 LinkedIn Tips For Recent Grads

Photo: flickr.com / nan palmero

With 100 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. It offers great opportunities to network, seek recommendations, and connect with people in your industry — that is, if you use it correctly.

Simple changes like adding relevant keywords to your profile can boost traffic, which means a higher likelihood of potential employers viewing your site. So instead of tweeting about unemployment and checking in at home on foursquare every day, use these 7 quick tips to optimize your job hunt.

1. Write a specific profile heading. Think of your LinkedIn title like a first impression — it’s your first opportunity to grab viewers. “Marketing grad from XYZ University, Seeking Opportunity in XYZ” is more engaging than simply “Recent graduate.” But beware of LinkedIn’s 10 most overused buzzwords, including innovative, motivated, team player, and problem solver.

2. Strengthen your profile with applications. If you have a blog, add the WordPress app, which will stream posts to your profile. Other apps: books you’re reading (Amazon Reading List), huddle workspaces, where you’re traveling (TripIt), and PDFs of your work.

3. Fill out 100% of your profile, including interests and background. Once you do so, LinkedIn generates jobs you may be interested in based on companies’ postings. Sign up to get email alerts about these openings, which is quicker and easier than scouring LinkedIn.

Photo: Getty Images

4. Customize each message when requesting LinkedIn recommendations. Give a bit of context as to why you’re asking him/her for a recommendation (ex: you reported to them directly for two years). Include a bit of subtle flattery, such as “I really value your opinion,” and offer to write them a rec in return.

5. Research all details about people and companies, and use that information to your advantage. If you notice that your interviewer studied abroad in Japan and you minored in Japanese culture, make sure to slip that into your conversation. Also use this info to know what you shouldn’t ask. For example, if the company’s profile page discusses its mission, don’t waste an interview question on that.

6. Join groups related to your professional interests and affiliations. A great place to start is your college or university’s LinkedIn group, and then search for relevant industry groups, says Gen-Y expert Lindsey Pollak. Group membership grants access to message boards, job postings, and new connections. Need inspiration? Check the “Groups You May Like” tab.

7. Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s co-founder, recommends using the site to do “small goods” for others. In other words: congratulate contacts when they update their job info or “like” articles shared by your connections. It’s a simple, one-click way to network; your connections are likely to give you feedback in return.

Has LinkedIn ever helped you find a job or landed you one? Comment below, and your story could be featured in the next No Joe Schmo advice blog!

PLUS>> Check out other job-hunting tips from No Joe Schmo, such as rules for finding a job on Twitter and questions to ask at the end of every interview.