Sure, some recruiters will show up on campus, but most aren't looking specifically for new grads, so you need to get a way to get your information in front of all these recruiters. You may assume that LinkedIn isn't the place to be--it's where your mom looks for a job. But, because it's where recruiters are, a LinkedIn profile is a great way to make a splash in the professional world, even when you're inexperienced.

Gen Z is generally well versed in social media, but LinkedIn is a bit different than exchanges with friends.

Tony Restell, Director, Social Media Marketing at Social-Hire recently gave some tips to help college students maximize the benefit of LinkedIn. With his permission, here are Restell's tips:

i). having a profile that'll be found by recruiters because you have done your keyword and skills research

ii) having a profile that'll be clicked on by relevant recruiters because you've written a headline that really entices them to click on your profile rather than someone else's

iii) building a network of alumni and industry contacts well in advance of needing to land a job

iv) engaging with those contacts to build goodwill and trust. It's amazing how many students will be approached with interview offers from people they've interacted with on LinkedIn... if the time is invested early enough to have made an impact by the time the end of your studies are nearing

v) show an interest in the sector you aspire to get into. Whether that's by sharing relevant content, writing articles to showcase your interest, engaging in group discussions...

All Restell's tips are good ones, but I want to focus on engaging with others on LinkedIn. People who post on LinkedIn have already indicated that they are interested in conversing on a professional level. (Yes, there are people who forget that LinkedIn is not Facebook, but please, ignore those people.) 

So, connect with people in your field and pay attention to your news feed. (If you don't know what field you want to work in, that's okay, too! Follow people in multiple areas. This is a great way to learn what life is really like out there.) Make relevant comments from time to time. Note, it's important that you don't just go around saying, "great ideas!" on every post. It gets old quickly. Additionally, disagreement is fine but make sure (really sure) you know what you're talking about.

Yesterday, I had a man make comments on a LinkedIn post of mine saying that the bar association wouldn't like me giving out legal advice. True, they wouldn't, if I were giving legal advice, which I wasn't. When an actual employment lawyer jumped in to explain that I wasn't doing that, this fellow dug in deeper. End result? I got a couple of private messages saying, "who is this guy and what's his deal?"

Don't be like that. I'm well connected in the HR and Recruiting world, and in this person's attempt to look smart, he ended up looking foolish. And who knows how many recruiters saw him being foolish. You don't want to risk it.

Before you start disagreeing, watch how other professionals do it. LinkedIn is not Twitter and it's not Tumblr. There's no all caps. There's no name calling. Make sure you keep it that way.

But, if you do as Restell suggests, and begin building and enaging your network, you'll be advantaged over your classmates when you do start looking for a job. And that's well worth your effort.

Published on: Nov 30, 2018