How Students and Grads Use LinkedIn to Land Their Dream Job (or Internship)

Melonie Dodaro  •  Job Search & Career Development

How Students and Grads Use LinkedIn to Land Their Dream Job (or Internship)

There’s something fantastic happening on LinkedIn that not many people are talking about.

Students and graduates are waking up to the reality that LinkedIn can be their best chance of landing their dream jobs and internships regardless of what they studied and what careers they want to pursue.

It’s not an exaggeration.

Where else can students and graduates connect directly to hundreds of millions of employees who are already doing the jobs that they’re looking for? What about access to millions of recruiters, hiring managers, and other executives who hold the keys to the doors they’re trying to open?

And let’s not forget the millions of jobs representing the in-demand skills, knowledge, and experience of today’s job market. On top of this, you have one of the most valuable streams of company news and updates that are revealing the future trends of the world of work. 

If you think about it, it’s exhilarating!

So how are the most ambitious students and graduates using LinkedIn to land their dream jobs and internships?

Use LinkedIn for Research and Job Exploration

Savvy students aren’t on LinkedIn, only looking for jobs. They understand that to land their dream job they need to look for the best way in and that starts with knowing how to search, where to search, and what to search for on LinkedIn.

Knowing how to search means using additional keywords and filters to come up with the best results. This means, for example, taking the time to understand trends in your industry, variations in job titles, and the specific knowledge that is required for different roles.

Knowing where to search means taking a more in-depth look into groups and organizations. This means visiting company pages to learn more about what the company stands for and what they do. What’s the vibe you’re getting from what they publish? Who at that company is active on LinkedIn, and what are they sharing? What can you learn from industry or topic related groups that excite you, or causes you to reconsider your options?

Knowing what to search for on LinkedIn is about content, people, and opportunities. Don’t forget you can use #hashtags to search for and follow communities on LinkedIn discussing the things you care about. This is a great way to explore and discover amazing content and inspirational stories.

The most ambitious students spend weeks, if not months searching for, connecting to, and messaging multiple people at each company where they’re applying. They look for opportunities to gain valuable insights that make all the difference during the hiring process. They then build strong relationships with the people who influence and make hiring decisions – even if it means having these conversations months (or longer) before they need to start looking for a job.

Establish Your Authority and Credibility Early On

The best students and graduates on LinkedIn aren’t waiting to become experts or working professionals to showcase the value they can offer employers. They don’t shout about being students all over their LinkedIn profile, instead, they focus on the passion, interests, ambitions, skills, knowledge, and experience they already have.

If you looked through their LinkedIn profile, you would never guess they’re a student or recent graduate because they’re so focused on what employers are looking for rather than their grades or degrees. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of and sharing academic achievements, but the student getting the internship opportunity of a lifetime was probably leading with his/her achievements outside of university.

These students take their student life and flip it to demonstrate the professional value of their assignments and projects related to the type of careers they’re looking for. The most important social media posts of their lives will be the ones they share on LinkedIn that are seen by their future bosses – the ones shining a light on their potential.

When employers receive CV/resumes from these students and graduates it catches their attention, but what captivates them is when they look at their LinkedIn profiles and are the young professionals staring back at them with a story and mission that is hard to ignore.

Students and Graduates Land Dream Jobs by Turning Online Chats into Offline Meetings

Having real conversations – offline – is ultimate tactic that turns students and graduates into professionals thanks to their presence and activities on LinkedIn.

It’s super easy to connect with hundreds of people. It’s easy to message them and chat with them online after connecting, and most will stop there.

What’s not easy is getting busy professionals to give you their time and attention on a call, and even harder to get any face time. But it’s not impossible! 

While decision-makers probably get hundreds of emails every day, it’s much less likely they get hundreds of messages on LinkedIn. Savvy students and graduates know and take advantage of.

Every online touch point brings them closer to being able to ask for the person’s time. This is done by showing enthusiasm, asking the right questions, and demonstrating what you have to offer aligned to the job description and business requirements.

Seize All Opportunities LinkedIn Can Offer to Find Your Dream Job and Develop Your Career

What these students and graduates learn online and offline is then being applied to refine their LinkedIn presence and activities. It doesn’t matter if they don’t get those first several interviews or job offers. They get past their fear and anxiety thanks to the amazing people and opportunities they’re finding.

Seeing the glass half full on LinkedIn means knowing that behind every job that got away is a multitude of other people, companies, and jobs waiting to be discovered. LinkedIn continuously reminds you of this by recommending other people you might want to connect with and jobs similar to the jobs you’ve applied for.

The possibilities are endless when you are looking for them.

This is how the most resilient and ambitious students and graduates get better each time against setbacks and rejections. LinkedIn is still there to help them navigate to other opportunities and to keep on trying.

And one day, after weeks and months of using LinkedIn like a pro, something amazing happens.

A message lands in their inbox from a recruiter or hiring manager who believes that they would be an excellent fit for a job they’ve just posted on LinkedIn.

You’ve been discovered, and people are listening carefully.

You’ve mastered LinkedIn.

Use LinkedIn to Build Your Career for the Long-Term

It doesn’t stop there!

LinkedIn is a great tool to succeed early in your career. We’ve seen interns use it to connect quickly across their team, department, and offices across the world.

Students have used it to share what they’re working on and what value they’re bringing to their work every day, even if it’s just a part-time job or short work experience.

The visibility these young people get across their companies is unprecedented if you think back to how we used to think of interns even 10 – 15 years ago.

Now, if you look through LinkedIn, you can find young people in their first jobs or early in their careers using it to share their company’s success, ask for advice and support on projects, and to connect with professional events and communities that bring people together from across different organizations.

With all this great information and resources, the students, graduates, and interns of today are better placed to make career choices that lead to their versions of success by finding where their unique value and contributions can make the most significant impact.

We know LinkedIn can achieve this and more because we’ve been on this journey for over a decade, and we want others to benefit as much or even more than we have.

Are you a student or graduate struggling to get a start in your dream career?

I can help you reach the next level…

My new book – LinkedIn for Students, Graduates and Educators: How to Use LinkedIn to Land Your Dream Job in 90 Days – unveils a proven, step-by-step process that shows how anyone fresh out of college, or still in school, can land their dream job (or internship) within 90 days – even if they have ZERO experience. Click here to grab your copy now.

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