Dear Socially Stephanie:
I'm a recent college grad and I don't have a lot of work experience to put on my resume. Do you have any tips on how I can make myself a bit more marketable on LinkedIn for recruiters?
Jobless in Joliet
First off let me be the first to officially welcome you to the real world. I'll give you a minute to mourn your college days, but don't worry, life in the real world is even better and filled with endless opportunities.
Now, I get it. You probably don't have much job experience which is why it is going to be a bit harder to land your dream job. But realistically, the first job you get will probably not be your last. In fact, my first job only lasted 90 days. Yup, the first day I signed the papers for insurance eligibility was also my last. Maybe it's just the entrepreneur in me.
Anyway, did I scare you? I hope not. Because you should really think about your first job as the one you use to beef up your resume. You are there to acquire the skills that will take you to your next position or into a better role at that company. The more skills you have, the more employable you are in the future.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk LinkedIn. Recruiters (and employers) love to use LinkedIn, so your job is to make yourself as marketable as possible with the little experience you have. The first thing to think about is making sure your profile is complete. That means skills, accomplishments, highlighting what makes you a great employee and any job experience you might have had in the past.
The first place you want to start is your profile picture. No college frat parties shots allowed here. Think professional and approachable. Next up is your headline. This is one of the most searchable areas on LinkedIn, so make those characters count. Recruiters are usually looking for people who are actively seeking employment. So, a headline like "Self-starting marketing mind seeking work in Illinois" would be a great fit. It gives the impression that you are looking for work and that you are open to opportunities.
Next it's time to really get to work on the profile. Your LinkedIn profile is your chance to brag. Think about all your work during your past 4 years at school. Did you excel in a specific subject? Put it in there. Did you successfully run for student body? Put that in there too. Did you help your sorority or fraternity save 20% in food costs? Put that in there as well. The point here is to showcase that while you may not have work experience in a traditional setting you have the skills that employers look for.
Now you want to start thinking about who can give you a few compliments and recommendations. At this stage in your life it will probably be from teachers or anyone you worked for at your school. This will give you some serious credibility and in an online world credibility is everything.
Lastly, start scouring the LinkedIn job postings, and start sending your resume and cover letter. If you follow these directions, I have an idea you are going to be just fine out there!
Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?
Please email [email protected] and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells