Finding a job is hard, really hard. I don’t think I’m alone in this as it seems to be a trend that millennials are not finding work, especially not high paying careers in the fields we’ve spent a fortune in tuition trying to get into. We’re a generation of highly educated, highly technological individuals working at low paying jobs. When I first heard about LinkedIn, it seemed like the answer to all of my problems: it’s essentially Facebook for your resume. But months after creating and curating my profile, it’s done nothing to help me advance my career. Am I doing something wrong? Am I just THAT unemployable? Has anyone ACTUALLY found a job on LinkedIn before?
I am relatively new to LinkedIn; I’ve only had a profile for about six months. I had heard of it while I was still in university, but I didn’t feel like I needed it then (and, truthfully, I had no idea how it worked). LinkedIn is a business and employment oriented social networking site. It was launched in 2003 and boasts more that 500,000,000 members in over 200 countries. Honestly, I don’t know if these stats leave me impressed and hopeful that with so many users world wide SOMEONE should want to hire me (me being a twenty something with a university degree, minimal work experience in my field, who has spent the last two years travelling trying to “figure it all out”, rather unsuccessfully) or if it’s left me disheartened that with that many users NO ONE wants to hire me.
As the novelty of being back in the small town I grew up in, fresh off my two year adventure (with my wanderlust not yet satisfied, working in a slightly-above-minimum wage job that’s starting to feel increasingly like my career and not the summer job it was meant to be), starts to wears off, I’m getting more and more desperate to find a new, exciting job to really kick off my “real life”. I’ve been depending on my LinkedIn profile to bring some of these opportunities, but so far it has not been very fruitful. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time researching how LinkedIn works and how to make my profile seem more desirable to potential employers. Here’s a little of what I’ve come up with:
In order to maximize the desirability of your profile, you need to be constantly improving it. You need to be spending time each week making changes and updating your work experience and volunteer work, posting articles relevant to your field, and participating in conversations. In other words, have a constant presence and always be updating.
In order to constantly be updating and creating posts to generate views, you may need to create a social media calendar to ensure that you are reaching your LinkedIn potential. The best time to post on LinkedIn is during typical working hours, 8-5 Monday to Friday. In order to stay visible, it’s recommended that you have 20 posts and interactions per month! This is definitely something that I need to work on. With a fairly high number of posts needed a month, remember that sharing is caring. Share articles that are relevant to your industry and consider writing your own. Writing your own posts shows potential employers a new level of your personality while also showcasing your expertise.
It’s important to be connected; joining networks and groups has a lot of benefits. Participating in networks allows you to increase your viability online. Being in networks relevant to your industry will also help you stay on top of what’s new in the field. Joining your alumni network is also a great idea because, in a Benedict Anderson “Imagined Community”-esque way, alums are always willing to help each other out.
It’s also important that your profile is eye catching. Use professional head shots, a photo of you looking professional, or a photo of you doing what you are good at. A photo of you playing soccer could be really good, for example, if you are wanting to be hired as a professional soccer player but not so good if you are wanting a job as a lawyer. Make your profile stand out by using a background. This also helps in showing off your personality. Using a personal URL is very beneficial to make yourself easier to find. Your personal summary should use key words rather than buzzwords. For example, if you are wanting a marketing job say so! And use other language relevant to the career you want rather than over used language like motivated or passionate. Of course, your profile should also showcase your skills and talk about your work experience, while focusing on the career that you are seeking.
Whether or not these changes to my LinkedIn profile will get me my dream job or not remains to be determined, but here’s hoping! In a world where so much of our lives is posted online, I believe that LinkedIn epitomizes the need for excellent personal branding. Gone are the days of simply handing over your resume, you need to actively live your resume and present this lifestyle online. I have made LinkedIn a priority social media platform in my life and recommend others in my generation to do the same, it could be our shot at getting the jobs we deserve! In the meantime, if anyone is looking to hire a hardworking, creative, customer service driven, Political Science graduate with proven leadership skills and an interest in marketing… I’ll just be over here editing my LinkedIn profile… 😉
Social Media Links:
Is it possible for Millennials to use an app to find jobs? http://bit.ly/2x1xovk
Use your phone to find a career! http://bit.ly/2x1xovk