More than one parent has written me asking for help for their new grad. That is understandable since 72% of college grads who just got their diplomas don’t have a job yet. Debbie’s email caught my attention when she stated she was a Baby Boomer parent and a program manager who had hired many people in her career. Yet she was stuck helping her daughter who was just graduating and unemployed develop a LinkedIn profile. She asked for help. I went directly to LinkedIn and their career expert, Blair Decembrele, answered some questions on this topic. Here’s what she said:
Robin Ryan: What is LinkedIn’s job search focus – are recruiters really searching for new grads?
Blair Decembrele: Yes, recruiters are searching for new grads to fill roles. In fact we know there are 20 million jobs available on LinkedIn and more than 1.4M hiring professionals are using LinkedIn every day to find talent at every level. A big part of making the most of LinkedIn is engaging with the LinkedIn network, going beyond waiting for recruiters to reach out and instead reaching out to your own network — whether that’s your professor, a family member or a former classmate — to see who might be able to help you find your way into the job that’s right for you, or provide you with valuable advice.
Robin Ryan: What are your 3 tips for a New Grad to get attention on LinkedIn?
Blair Decembrele: First, perfect your profile. Your LinkedIn profile serves as your first impression with potential employers. 65% of people believe that the impression you make online is just as important as the one you make in person — and nearly 80% of professionals find it difficult to overcome a bad first impression. So, putting your best foot forward and having a strong, updated profile is key to getting noticed and the first step to finding the way in to your next (or first!) opportunity.
Next, raise your hand to recruiters. The Open Candidates feature on LinkedIn is the best way to privately signal to recruiters that you are open to new opportunities, and makes you 2x as likely to receive relevant opportunities. You can specify the types of companies and roles you are most interested in and be easily found by some of the 1.4 million talent professionals who actively use LinkedIn everyday. Turn on Open Candidates in the Career Interests section of your profile’s Jobs page.
Then, reach out, and repeat. According to our research, more than 70% of professionals get hired at a company where they have a professional connection, and job applicants who are referred by an employee are up to 9x more likely to get hired. So connecting with your professional community could actually land your first job. Start to seek out people in your network who are in roles that you find interesting or in industries that you’d like to break into. The more you reach out, the more you learn, the more your network grows, and the closer you get to connecting to your next opportunity.
Robin Ryan: Do you know the numbers of grads hired off LinkedIn?
Blair Decembrele: It’s a great time to be entering the workforce. Unemployment is at a near-50 year low and there are millions of entry-level jobs available around the world on LinkedIn. Last year, about 55% of 2018 graduates reported starting a role in the same year, a statistic that has been steadily increasing since the Recession. With more than 20 million jobs available on LinkedIn, millions of those being entry-level, personalized recommendations and deep insights about your career, like salary and information about your potential team, LinkedIn is the best place to get started on the job search.
Robin Ryan: Can you recommend the best ways for them to find an entry-level job?
Blair Decembrele: Before starting a job search, it’s important for grads — or anyone really — to know what they’re “in it” for, and what their job must-haves include. Since we spend 90,000 hours of our adult lives working, we should make it count. Dig into what interests you and what makes you tick, examine your values and what you want to get out of your job. Our research shows that 71% of professionals would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that has shared values and a mission they believe in — would you? Millennials are defining a “good job” as one that offers flexibility, values and skills, and nearly 20% of professionals are looking for free food and game rooms. So think about what type of culture you want in your workplace, and what you’d trade off for those things.
Once you know what you’re looking for in a job, take advantage of LinkedIn’s search tools. Use the filters on LinkedIn’s jobs platform to narrow your search by job function, experience level (entry-level!), title, industry and type, and then use the open search box to add key phrases like “remote” or “work-from-home” to find opportunities. You can also set your location to where you currently live, or broaden to U.S. – or even worldwide – if you’re willing to relocate.
Robin Ryan: Are there any tutorials i.e. YouTube, for setting up a profile you recommend?
Blair Decembrele: We have a free class for students on LinkedIn Learning, our online learning platform with 14,000 courses, that goes through all the basics of setting up their profile, building their network, using the feed, and looking for a job. The LinkedIn blog and Feed also have a steady stream of insights and tips that students can leverage as they embark on their professional journey.
This is also a great opportunity to reach out to your network to ask for help. Join Groups or participate in conversations on LinkedIn to find others in your desired profession or do some research into where alumni from your school have ended up and reach out. More than 40% of professionals have used their network to help someone else get a job, so your connections could be your biggest asset in landing a job.
Robin Ryan: What about older workers earning their first degree – does that impact the algorithm and help?
Blair Decembrele: LinkedIn’s job recommendations are based on actions the member takes themselves, so it wouldn’t be impacted by others on the platform. New grads can improve their job recommendations by setting their Career Interests from their profile dashboard, which will help recruiters better understand what kinds of jobs they should be reaching out with.
Grads can also set Job Alerts which will feed directly into the recommendation algorithm. They can set alerts for specific roles, companies or locations that will help us pinpoint exactly which jobs to send, and we can send these recommendations in a matter of minutes so job seekers can be the first to apply, which actually makes a huge difference in getting hired. Being one of the first 25 applicants means you’re up to 3x more likely to get hired! You can also tell us in the job search feed if these job recommendations are right for you with a quick tap or click.