How Recent Grads Can Step up Their Professionalism on LinkedIn

Martin Yate CPC
NY Times Bestseller
Professional Resume Services

You’re fresh out of school and looking for your first professional job. As you struggle to learn the ropes of the job search process, some kindly soul tells you about social networking. “Great,” you think, “I love going on Facebook; now I can look at my friends’ spring break photos and tell myself I’m doing something productive!” 

You Need To Develop A Professional Brand
Nice as that would be, social networking is a different beast when you’re using it for professional purposes. A Facebook account is worthwhile, but far more important is LinkedIn, which is different from Facebook in many ways, not least in the ways you communicate with and connect to others. You need to make a professional impression, and you need to understand the etiquette, if you want to get the most out of your LinkedIn presence.

Connect With Other Professionals
Amongst the many resources that are useful to professionals, Linkedin has

 For more advice for emerging professionals,
check out “Knock Em Dead Secrets & Strategies
 For First Time Job Seekers” available on Amazon

thousands of special interest groups, many for job hunters and many more that are profession-specific. Belonging to groups and connecting with other members of your target profession is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to build a professionally relevant job-search network.


To start, join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your target job and profession. Become a visible part of that group by joining in the conversation and approaching other group members to add to your network. You do this by:

Read Group Discussion Posts
You probably can’t add substance, but you can make comments like this: “I just received my accounting degree from _____ and am entering the professional world, and this was a really helpful.” Notice that along with the gradual visibility that comes from making posts, flattering the original poster, and getting noticed by all the other people who comment, you have also announced your credentials and stated who you are and what you are looking for without being crass and asking for help finding work. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, owner and chief career writer at CareerTrend.net who understands these issues as well, agrees and weighs in with some good advice: “Comment on something specific that another person is saying. Be polite and detailed; add value. Don’t over-interact. Step lightly into the conversational water at first.” It’s a no-brainer to subsequently approach each of these discussion posters to connect with you, using your common membership in the group as a bond.

Increase Visibility By Posting Discussions Of Your Own
You can get good mileage by postings blogs and articles from influential sources, which others will comment on. You should read the professional press and blogs, and when you see something that seems to have real relevance to your profession, post a link to the article. Then make link requests to anyone who comments.

Increase Visibility By Posting Questions Of Your Own Not questions about finding a job or employers, but issues about the challenges of the job. There’s an easy way to make sure the questions you ask come off as professional and not self-serving: use your critical-thinking skills when formulating your questions. As an example, a recent accounting graduate might ask about how to handle A/R (Accounts Receivable) issues to prevent customers becoming delinquent.


Apply these skills when coming up with posts and questions for your LinkedIn special interest groups, and you can be sure you will come across well to your future colleagues and the recruiters who monitor them, and when you use these tactics they will start monitoring you personally. 

When you sound like a professional colleague interested in improving skills and understanding, or finding solutions to common problems, your questions will have the right tone. You will make contacts who respect your professionalism, and who would never guess how much time you actually do spend fooling around on Facebook! You can learn more savvy job search and career management tactics in the just published  Knock Em Dead – Secrets & Strategies For First-Time Job Seekers.

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Martin Yate
Copyright 2013
All rights reserved


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