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.

No Joe Schmo’s Monthly Roundup

I can’t believe the summer is almost over! It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting at my kitchen table, listening to the soundtrack from The Social Network, and brainstorming the beginning stages for what would soon become No Joe Schmo.

In the two months since, the site has featured 36 cool and crazy jobs and six tips & advice articles. As August comes to a close, it’s time for the monthly roundup — a look at the top-shared and top-viewed posts within the past month.

> The Roller Coaster Engineer // Jeff Pike, VP of Sales & Design at Great Coasters International

  • Breaking all previous No Joe Schmo records, this post alone attracted more than 1,000 hits! So here are some more awesome coaster photos.

> 5 Rules For Finding a Job On Twitter

> The Die-Hard Dancer (Who Keeps Meryl Streep On Her Toes) // Warren Adams, Founder of Home4Dance.com

> Foodie Friday: The Cupcake Chef // Mia Bauer, Co-Founder of Crumbs Bake Shop

Which was your favorite? Who would you like to see a Q&A with in the future? Comment below!

5 Rules For Finding a Job on Twitter

Photo credit: socialmediaoutofthebox.com

I don’t know how the unemployed spent their time before social media.

After graduating from Syracuse University, while in my wait, I’m not in college anymore? slump, I spent a good portion (okay, a very good portion) of my time on Twitter. For the most part, my news feed was rife with articles about the spike in recent grads moving back home and the crushing unemployment numbers. Sigh.

Then, one morning, I noticed that a senior editor at The Huffington Post (whom I followed) had re-tweeted a tweet from HuffPost’s technology editor (whom I didn’t follow) about an opening in the department. Not only had I long dreamt of writing for The Huffington Post, but I was extremely passionate about technology. It was the ideal opportunity.

Ignoring the little voice that told me it was ridiculous to expect a reply email, much less an interview, I sent along my resume and cover letter to the email address listed in the tweet. Hours later, I had set up an interview – and a few weeks later, I had nailed the position.

But finding a job on Twitter isn’t just a matter of luck. Get the most out of your search by following these tips and suggestions.

1. Establish yourself as an expert and choose a niche for your tweets. It’s more important to have a specialty on Twitter rather than a stream of consciousness. In other words, if you’re looking for a job in health and nutrition, tweet about industry news and trends and re-tweet authorities in the field. That said, be sure to maintain a voice and personality. Tip: sites like Klout measure and help to build your online social influence.

2. Heard the phrase, It’s who you know, not what you know? Now, it’s about who you follow. Do a little digging on companies you’d like to work for; in addition to simply following their corporate Twitter account, find their top executives on Twitter — or editors and columnists. (Since I loved The Huffington Post and technology, I should have already been following the tech editor.) Some companies even have separate recruiting accounts, like @VerizonCareers and @WSJcareers, which solely post job news.

Photo credit: earthtravelunlimited.net

3. Participate in hashtag chats. These are organized conversations where users interested in a particular topic can join and contribute with a given hashtag, such as #careerchat. Hashtag chats make it easy for anyone watching along to identify the chat. They are excellent opportunities to network, increase your influence, and learn about a topic. Check out Mediabistro’s 15 hashtag chats to follow.

4. Tweet directly at people or companies you admire. But make each of those 140 characters count! Ask intelligent questions, or comment on company news; many companies use their Twitter accounts to boast corporate accomplishments and post links. This increases your likelihood of getting noticed by a job recruiter – and, more importantly, starting a conversation.

  • Don’t tweet: “Hey @MarieClaire, I’d love to work for you guys!! Love your magazine!” Sweet, but vacuous.
  • Instead, tweet: “Editors at @MarieClaire, loved your Aug issue, but was wondering XYZ about the article on bone marrow since I’m a donor.” Specific and a call to action. Ideally, you want to spark a discussion, not just move on after receiving a response.

5. Use Twitter’s list feature. If you’re like me and are following 1,000+ Twitter accounts, it’s easy to miss some important tweets throughout the day (potentially ones about job openings). Creating lists allows you to organize the people you’re following, and then easily scan through tweets later. In other words: exclude your annoying friends that tweet 50 times per hour about shopping and their cute dogs.

Any tips for finding a job on Twitter that I missed? Want to share your Twitter success story? Comment below! You can also find me at @mhess4.

Check out other tips & advice from No Joe Schmo, such as ways to create virtual business cards and maximize your resume.