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What New Graduates Should Know About LinkedIn

It’s summer and that means that a whole new crop of college graduates are hitting the working scene. Many of these new graduates will be using LinkedIn as a main source of scouting job opportunities. If you’re one of those fresh new faces, here’s what you need to know about securing a position that may be the first step in your career.

(Photo Credit: Sheila Scarborough/Flickr)

Linkedin Is Not Facebook

You’re used to posting photos of you and friends going to the clubs on Facebook and updating Twitter with the latest and greatest in your dating life. However, you may want to reconsider not just what types of updates you’re posting, but try to put yourself in a prospective employer's shoes, according to Business2Community. Would you hire you? 

No, you don’t have to pretend to be someone else, and in fact it’s great if your personality shines through, but just realize you’re entering a whole new arena, in which the stakes are a little higher. If you come across as a party animal or frequently make fun of others, that’s not putting across the best look for your future. It’s time to consider how you want to craft your image going forward.

Be Your Best

Selfies are awesome, but they belong on Facebook. On LinkedIn, you don’t want your image to be of you on the beach or holding up a giant burger (let alone a beer.) You want to do what you can to help prospective hiring managers see you as someone who would fit into their company. Post a picture of yourself in professional attire, smile, and look into the lens of the camera (which someone else is holding, not you) and not off into space. Eye contact is important.

Be Positive and Accurate

Don’t oversell yourself in your profile by using titles like “Director” or embellish the truth on your resume. No one expects a recent grad to have tons of experience. There’s a difference between putting your best foot forward, and trying to make it sound like you did things you didn’t do. The best-case scenario is that the hiring manager reading your profile can tell and simply won’t contact you. The worst-case scenario is that you get asked to interview for a position you aren’t qualified for and bomb, which could ruin your reputation in that industry before you even get started.

Be Realistic and Willing to Start Small

While in a perfect world the expected income directly out of college for a Computer Software Engineer is approximately $70k, the reality is that unproven, first-time employees rarely get what they feel they deserve. It can be tough competition out there, and just getting your foot in the door of the right company can still get you from point A to point B, just by a slightly different route. Be willing to take less pay initially or a do a slightly different job than you planned on. It could be argued that any job you are able to land is a great job right now.

Keep at It

You’re brand-new to this working business world. Don’t give up! It can feel bad to get a lot of noes and you may be tempted to fall into self-pity or get discouraged. Just stay positive. You and the right opportunity will find each other, eventually. In the meantime, keep updating your LinkedIn profile with current events so you look busy and active. Finally, don’t stop improving yourself. You never know what new skills or volunteer work might come in handy on the next job application.

Tell Us What You Think

What advice do you have for new college graduates using LinkedIn? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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