Graduates should be on LinkedIn

Today I was asked by a graduate if LinkedIn, is Business Facebook for old people! (at least they didn’t say… “like yourself ” LOL ) 

Forbes recently reported that LinkedIn is the number one social tool for both job hunters and recruitment teams.

This makes it the perfect opportunity for students and graduates to build professional relationships. This is the easiest way for you to create a professional identity online.

This is what is key to be found on LinkedIn:

1.       Write an amazing summary:

This is your chance to describe who you are and what accomplishments you have had. Be elaborate and add in those awards and achievements that make you stand out. A blank summary can be perceived as laziness.

2.      This is my experience:

LinkedIn automatically puts your current position as your profile headline. Change it.

Try stand out by stating what you have to offer and identify your unique selling point to attract recruiters. Write an informative headline e.g. BCom student seeking a financial accountant role.

The more industry relevant keywords you have in your profile, the higher you are on recruiters search ranking.

List the jobs you have held and a brief description of what you are responsible for and what you accomplished.

Don’t be shy – LinkedIn is an appropriate place to show off your achievements. Let the world know!

3.       Get the right shot:

It has been proven that LinkedIn members who add an appropriate photo are far more likely to have their profile viewed.

Take a high-quality photo of you alone, professionally dressed. No animal shots, cartoons or party shots. Pack away the cleavage and remember to smile.

4.      Go ahead and connect:

Connect with people you know or genuinely want to keep in touch with. You never know how those connections pay off.

Write a personal note when connecting. I always delete “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”, and write a personal note.

“Dear Stefan, I noticed we both completed ABC degree at UJ. I would love to connect with you and perhaps meet for coffee to establish common ground”.

I always try explaining why I am connecting with them.

5.       Network in LinkedIn groups:

LinkedIn groups are a great way to meet people in your industry and have meaningful conversations. They also provide company information, industry news and job opportunities. Search for groups which are relevant to the subject you have studied and the industry you are looking to work in.

6.       Recommendations:

Ask for recommendations from your fellow students, lecturers, people that inspire you. Trust me, recruiters do read these often to get an overview from the outside on your profile.

7.      Keep your profile public:

Open your profile up publicly to connect with new people, but keep in mind this should be a professional profile. Be careful what you share.

8.      Apply for jobs:

If you are going to apply for jobs on LinkedIn, you should always include your detailed updated CV and a cover letter highlighting how your experience and qualifications match the job requirements.

9.      Customise your LinkedIn URL:

To ensure that headhunters and recruiters find you easily and to show you went the extra mile, follow these steps to change the URL to hhtps://

Once logged in, click on Profile at the top of the page. Under your picture click update public profile settings next to the link under your profile picture.

Change your URL to a personalised name and surname after and click save.

Janice Wagner