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How to kickstart your graduate career using LinkedIn

Embarking on your first job after university is undoubtedly an exciting prospect, but it’s no secret that the job market has faced turbulence since the pandemic of 2020 and beyond.

While job opportunities persist, the landscape has grown increasingly competitive, with a surge in applicants vying for each position.

Fortunately, there are strategic steps you can take to boost your chances of securing your desired job — and one essential move is joining LinkedIn.

This platform offers many advantages for graduates — from delivering job prospects directly to your inbox to facilitating networking opportunities — all while you enjoy the comfort of your sofa!

Let’s dive into how you can kickstart your graduate career using LinkedIn.

Craft a compelling LinkedIn profile

Your first task is crafting a compelling LinkedIn profile to establish your personal brand.

While a CV delves into your past, your LinkedIn profile should focus on your future. As you fine-tune it, it’s crucial to keep your career goals in mind.

Pay special attention to key profile elements like your photo, background image, headline, and summary. These are the sections that prospective employers and recruiters will encounter first.

Once those sections are dealt with, build out your skills list. Then, you’re primed to generate and share highly relevant and original content regularly.

Posting consistently to an effective LinkedIn profile typically results in recruiters and employers contacting you directly.

In addition, it opens doors to a world of industry opportunities, like conference invites, free PR, and the chance to become a mentee.

Research work opportunities

Companies frequently post job openings on LinkedIn and share insights into other opportunities. It’s crucial to follow the companies that align with your career aspirations.

Doing so lets you stay informed about job vacancies and gain deeper insights into a company’s culture and values.

Sometimes, you might realise that a company’s vibe on LinkedIn differs from what you expected. While this discovery can be disheartening, it’s also valuable, helping you to decide whether to unfollow and redirect your efforts elsewhere.

Company LinkedIn profiles are regularly updated by the decision-makers in recruitment. Engaging with these companies and establishing a presence can significantly increase your visibility and chances of making a favourable impression.


An over-shoulder view of a woman using LinkedIn on her mobile phone.

In-person networking opportunities are priceless, but LinkedIn is a powerful tool to expand your professional network, whether face-to-face is an option or not.

Begin by connecting with friends, family, and past and present colleagues. As you encounter new acquaintances through your current job, career fairs, or job interviews, extend connection requests to them — gradually building your network.

When reaching out to someone you’ve met briefly or some time ago, always include a personalised message, reminding them of your encounter and explaining why you’d like to connect.

While you can request connections from individuals you’ve never met, these are less likely to be accepted. However, notable figures in your industry might appreciate connecting with a broader audience.

Engage actively on the platform by responding to relevant posts in your feed and participating in discussions within specific groups. Sharing your insights and opinions in the process can attract new connections.

Additionally, maintain your presence by regularly posting updates related to your field. This demonstrates your enthusiasm and showcases your industry awareness — reminding connections of your professional identity and career aspirations.

Lastly, remember that networking may not yield immediate results, but the efforts you put in today can produce valuable returns later on.

Search for jobs

Keeping an eye on job openings becomes effortless once you’ve followed the companies that pique your interest. However, LinkedIn also empowers you to explore opportunities with companies you might not have considered yet.

Head to the ‘Jobs’ tab to unearth relevant job listings that might have slipped under your radar.

To enhance your visibility to recruiters, click on ‘Career Interests’ within that tab. Activate the switch in the top right-hand corner, signalling your willingness to be contacted regarding potential openings.

Remember to fine-tune your preferences here, indicating whether you’re passively exploring employment options or actively applying. You can also specify location, industry, and other crucial factors.

Meanwhile, keep building your professional network — through it, you might even discover upcoming vacancies at your preferred companies before they hit the job market.

As the saying goes, it’s not just what you know but who you know that can open doors to new opportunities.

Use the alumni tool

Imagine the power of easily connecting with fellow alumni from your university and how it could turbocharge your job search. This isn’t just a dream but a practical reality on LinkedIn, and it’s a straightforward process.

Enter your university’s name in the search bar, then click the ‘Alumni’ tab on the left. Once there, you’ll unlock a treasure trove of information about LinkedIn users who graduated from the same university, including details about their current workplaces, professions, and skill sets.

If you’d prefer to focus your search on peers from the same graduation year as you, that’s also an option.

The alumni tool allows you to reconnect with old friends, forge connections with university associates who can introduce you to others, and identify potential professional mentors.

Be consistent

When you aim to secure a job through LinkedIn, it’s essential to adopt a consistent approach rather than dipping in and out depending on what’s happening in your social life.

Building credibility and establishing authority in your field demands a steady and committed presence.

Before crafting each piece of content, ponder its relevance to the companies you aspire to work for. Ask yourself whether your writing would enhance your standing as a potential candidate when the opportunity arises.

Get ready to make a lasting impression on the individuals you want to notice you.

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