The excitement of commencement is in the air as college graduates begin a new phase in their lives. For many this new phase begins with finding a job.
In a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, employers reported an increase in their hiring by 7.8 percent from last year. While many graduates are searching for jobs and researching the companies offering these jobs, these graduates need to be aware these same companies are probably researching them too.
As graduates update and rework their resumes, they also need to update and rework their online presence. A survey by CareerThoughtLeaders.com found that 89 percent of recruiters have used search engines to learn about candidates, and 70 percent have decided not to pursue candidates based on what they found.
Begin by Googling yourself and see what turns up. Then ask: Is this what I want my prospective employer to know about me? If the answer is no, then you need to clean up your online presence. Eliminate those compromising photos and inappropriate postings on all your social media outlets, or change your privacy settings.
Next, you need to decide what to communicate to your potential employer.
You want to tell your story to the right people by expanding your network and taking control of your online presence.
LinkedIn operates the world's largest professional network on the Internet, with more than 300 million members worldwide. The fastest-growing segment is students and college graduates, with over 39 million members.
First, create your LinkedIn profile. The profile serves as your online resume. Be careful to keep both your resume and LinkedIn profile updated with detailed information about your qualifications, skills and experience. Here is where you control the story that your future employer will find.
Post a current professional picture in your profile. In the real estate industry, you hear the term "curb appeal" to make a good impression, so a potential buyer will take a closer look. The well-chosen profile photo offers curb appeal to an employer. LinkedIn says profiles containing photos are seven times more liked to be viewed than profiles without them.
Next, get connected and build your network. The more connections you establish, the better your chances will be in finding a connection to your next job. In LinkedIn, you send an email invitation to a person you would like to add to your network, and the person must accept the invitation before joining. The best practice is to personalize your invitation.
Finally, get endorsements by giving endorsements. Endorsements are a LinkedIn feature allowing people to easily recommend you based on a particular skill and likewise allowing you to endorse their skills. LinkedIn says skill endorsements are a simple and effective way of building your professional brand and engaging your network.
A stronger endorsement is receiving a recommendation, which is similar to a reference letter posted online.
LinkedIn can be an effective way to find that new job if managed well.