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Leverage LinkedIn

LinkedIn has well and truly made its mark within the world of social media. In spite of falling comfortably into this category, it is cut from a very different cloth.

A far cry from the playgrounds of memes, memories and musings offered by its social media siblings like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn provides a powerful platform for professional networking and career progression.

Impressively improving on the ‘seven degrees of separation’ theory, eradicating the challenges of time zones and distance, LinkedIn is the ideal tool for students to build meaningful connections before, during and after their study. It opens a door to the worldwide workforce and helps users on their path towards the dream job.

When embarking on a job search, LinkedIn should be pegged as a priority. Here are some top ‘best practice’ tips for using it to your advantage.

Keystroke etiquette: InMail on LinkedIn isn’t like Messenger on Facebook. It is a formal environment where you can reach out to prospective employers to register interest for a role or introduce yourself. Think of this as being tantamount to a job interview – you want to make a strong and positive first impression. With this in mind, avoid using colloquial or texting language. Always address your contact with respect, and keep the tone of your correspondence professional.

Show and tell: unlike a hard copy of your Curriculum Vitae, LinkedIn lets you bring your personality, experience and portfolio to life in a dynamic way. Capitalise on its digital template, and utilise this to showcase what you can offer employers. While your own outreach is important when job seeking, just remember that recruiters the world over are hunting for suitable candidates too, so always ensure your profile is up to date and as compelling as possible.

Join groups: great minds think alike and ambition attracts ambition, so join groups on LinkedIn to build meaningful connections. LinkedIn isn’t a numbers game – it’s quality over quantity – so don’t think about recruiting connections as a popularity contest, but rather a way to find people who can inspire, mentor, educate and hire you!

Hit the bullseye: identifying your targets is an important step in job hunting. Define the organisations you would love to work for, and undertake some initial research on LinkedIn to help you make informed decisions about who you would like to approach, and who you should tailor your profile for. While your chosen targets may not have opportunities for you at the time you first approach them, connecting with them, registering your interest, and keeping an eye on what they are doing is an important part of the process