It can be really hard to stand out In the job market when there are so many other graduates trying to do the same thing. LinkedIn might be the answer.

Are you on LinkedIn? Yes? Good. No? You should. Why?

It can be really hard to stand out in the job market when there are so many other graduates trying to do the same thing. One quick win however is to have a LinkedIn account to raise your profile and build up professional contacts while still at uni.

And the list of benefits is longer:

1. Create your identity in the professional world.

Many students struggle with the idea of being on LinkedIn. They see it as bland or even a little bit boring. Wrong!

Think of your LinkedIn profile as your professional brand to share with the world. It’s the result that you want people to see when they Google you. Your LinkedIn profile is your identity to companies, universities, colleagues and people who you want to stay connected to when you make that transition from student to professional.

2. Build your professional brand.

It’s the perfect platform for you to showcase your knowledge, your insights and get noticed in front of up to 350 million professionals, including fellow classmates, recruiters, and future employers. With LinkedIn you have the opportunity to blog, vlog and slideshare. A great way to build influence and thought leadership.

3. Increase your exposure.

LinkedIn members are people too. They are professionals. They are key business decision makers. Connect with LinkedIn members, ask them questions and share ideas. Observe new trends and how industry leaders go about doing things. LinkedIn is a great network to learn from industry professionals – those at your level and above. So connect and interact with the right people, tell them your story and you might see opportunities present themselves.

4. Debate new ideas

Debating increases the level of knowledge and enables you to explore new opportunities. It can open your eyes to new careers and paths you might not have considered before. And you can join relevant groups and discussions and meet like-minded individuals.There’s a great opportunity to build your profile and credibility by posting regularly on LinkedIn groups and answering questions. Groups are also a great platform to learn the industry jargons.

5. Get recommendations and endorsements.

LinkedIn also offers a feature through which you can get other people to recommend you. Ask for endorsements from your tutors and classmates. You can always ask them to mention detailed qualities and expertise that support your career goals. People with a maximum number of recommendations have a great chance of attracting the employers’ attention. Go on, increase your employability.

6. Explore what other graduates have been up to.

Starting a job hunt and have a specific company in mind? Use the Alumni Tool to find the graduates at your university who work there now. Compare their skills with yours and see which area you might need to improve. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them with questions. It’s a great way to put your foot in the door.

7. Learn more about the company you are interested in.

Check out the company’s LinkedIn page. Get more information on the hiring process and what people have to say about that organization. It’s a great way to stay ahead of your competition.

8. Get job notifications.

Once you have set up your profile on LinkedIn, you can set e-mail alerts to receive notification on recommended jobs – set your preferences and you’ll only receive job alerts relevant to your interests. For fresh graduates, there’s Student Jobs Portal where you can find entry-level jobs and internship posts.

9. Let companies find you.

A large number of organisations look for talented candidates on social networking platform. If you have a good, detailed professional profile, chances are you are going to attract employer’s attention. You can also make potential employers aware that you are looking for opportunities – just make sure you tick the relevant box in your preferences. Wouldn’t it be nice to be head-hunted?

So, there you have it. Nine reasons why you should create a LinkedIn profile and start using it for connecting with professionals. Ready to stay ahead of your competition?

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