Darain Faraz is Senior Manager for Corporate Communications at LinkedIn. Darain has had over twelve years’ international communications experience, working for businesses like Fox Interactive Media, MySpace and WWF’s Earth Hour initiative before joining LinkedIn in 2011.
Transitioning from student to professional
This time of year is a turning point for thousands of young women around the country as they take their final university exams and start making the transition from student to professional.
In fact, LinkedIn has identified this week as its “student scramble,” when it sees a spike in students who have left it to the last minute rushing online to start their job hunt.
It’s not too late to bag a fantastic role, but competition is really fierce at this time of year. As graduates throw everything they have at kick-starting their career, it’s more important to stand out than ever – and a helping hand could make a huge difference.
Whether you’re a student trying to secure your first role, or a professional woman who wants to reach out to the next generation, there are simple steps you can take to handle the scramble.
If you’re in the class of 2015…
1. Get out there
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, get one. Next, show recruiters and potential employers that you’re open for business by stating clearly in your headline and summary that you’re looking for graduate opportunities.
2. Pimp your profile
The more complete your profile is, the more interesting it is to other members. You may not have much professional experience, but this shouldn’t hold you back; include volunteering, work experience and extra curricular activity. You can even ask a tutor to give you a recommendation and upload projects that you’re proud of.
3. Snap your way to success
Make sure you include a photo on your LinkedIn profile – we’ve found that it can make you up to 14 times more likely to be viewed by one of LinkedIn’s 18 million UK members. Remember that this is your professional image, so dress appropriately, use natural light and try not to pose.
4. Reach up
At the very beginning of your career, you might feel you know no one in the working world, but professionals who went to your university are often more than happy to offer advice and guidance.
Use LinkedIn’s University Pages to track down alumni who are working in a sector you’re interested and ask them how they got there.
If you’ve already earned your stripes…
You’re probably used to connecting with colleagues, bosses and industry leaders, but students are LinkedIn’s fastest growing demographic. Make an effort to connect with students you know socially or through internship or work experience positions.
If their profile’s looking bare, offer to help them use their experience and achievements to build a professional brand.
Your insider industry knowledge is like gold dust to graduates, who might not be lucky enough to have first hand experience yet.
Publishing on LinkedIn is a great way to share your advice and experience to your network and beyond, and to inspire the next generation of professionals.
If you know a graduate with bags of potential and a burning desire to crack your industry, introduce them to contacts who might be able to help or point them in the direction of job opportunities.
If you know them well, enough, you could even write a recommendation for their profile, calling out their skills.
You’ve probably spent years fine-tuning you interview technique and learning how to network for success, but they are difficult skills to perfect if you’re new to the working world.
Pass on some of your experiences and tips you’ve picked up along the way by spending just an hour or two one evening with a friend or family member who’s graduated recently.