Now that the end of the school year is just about here, students are heading online in droves to hunt for jobs and summer internships. In Canada, there are more Google searches for summer jobs in April than any other time of year, and globally, LinkedIn sees more students active on the platform than any other time of the year.
For those of you that haven't yet found a role, there's no need to panic. Here are my five top tips to help those looking to jump start their career.
1. Nurture your network:
Don't leave it until after graduation to start growing your professional network; start connecting with family, friends and contacts from internships and other work experiences now. As 80 per cent of job openings are never advertised, tapping into your network can help increase your odds of finding your dream opportunity.
2. Search for relevant positions with LinkedIn Student Jobs:
Know what you're looking for, but not how to find it? LinkedIn's Student Jobs tool connects you with student internships and jobs for graduates on LinkedIn, and allows students to filter by industry, location, company and more.
3. Complete your profile:
Hone your profile, making sure to avoid generic buzzwords to help you stand out from the crowd. The more complete it is, the more appealing it will be to others, so make sure you fill out each section to boost your chances of being 'found' by recruiters and potential employers.
Remember, a great profile doesn't just state what you've done; it should show who you are. Start with a strong opening summary statement, then complete the profile sections designed just for students, such as courses (for anything related to your desired industry), volunteer experience and causes (to help round you out), projects, languages, certifications, organizations and more.
4. A picture tells a thousand words:
LinkedIn isn't Facebook. Upload a high-quality photo (your profile will be 14 times more likely to be viewed) of you alone, professionally dressed. You don't need a professional photographer to take a professional headshot; your smartphone can do the trick. LinkedIn has created a guide on taking the perfect work selfie. Consider uploading PDFs, photos or documents to your profile to create an online portfolio that showcases your best projects.
5. Connect with your university alumni:
Reach out to alumni who are already working in your dream job or field, and use their career paths to help you map your own. Become a member of your university's alumni group on LinkedIn; engage productively and professionally in group discussions by commenting on an article someone has posted or starting a discussion of your own. Introduce yourself and be upfront about your goals. Often, you'll be surprised by how willing people are to give you the inside scoop on the graduate job market.
Want to really stand out? Publishing a post on LinkedIn is a great way to demonstrate how you can communicate ideas and opinions. Share your thoughts on issues or trends in your field or share a personal anecdote (suitable for a professional audience!). A short but well-articulated post can help show potential employers who you are and how you think.
Taking the time to do some online research, strengthen your profile and create (and maintain) a robust network doesn't require a significant time investment and can pay dividends for your career in the long term.
While as a student or recent graduate you might not have a wealth of relevant professional experience, cultivating a strong online brand which showcases your passion and where you want to go in your career can help you make a lasting impression on recruiters and prospective employers.
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