You graduated! Congratulations! Whether you’re fresh out of college, or added on that JD, MD, PhD or other impressive letters after your name, hiring managers won’t be looking at degrees alone.

Now you’re ready to step out of academia and start down the career path of your dreams. But where the hell do you start?

While Facebook is a fun way to keep in touch with friends, LinkedIn is the place to be for serious young professionals looking to make an impact in their industries…or land their first meaningful job after graduation.

What’s the secret to doing well in life, be it in your professional career or any other sphere? Relationships. And that’s what LinkedIn is all about. LinkedIn is a full-fledged social network catering to all things career. If you’re young and looking to build a reputation and get in the game, LinkedIn is where the action is.

So, what specific benefits does LinkedIn have for recent graduates? Here are just a few:

  1. Building a Professional Network. Many people, especially many recent grads, want to build their name on their own, rejecting any help along the way. As romantic as that notion is, it’s much easier to advance professionally when you follow the rules of the game, not swimming against the current. Through LinkedIn, you can connect with your friends, family, classmates, colleagues, bosses, and anyone else you might have met along the way. You can connect with individuals who know the people you know. You can even connect with people who are in industries that you want to break into, learning from them what it takes to succeed in your industry, and building lifelong relationships with exceptional professionals in the process. Not enough upside? Trust us, fostering significant relationships is the best strategy for long-term career success.
  2. Professional Development. Through industry-specific groups and news alerts, you can use LinkedIn to keep track of your field. For new job-seekers, it’s critical to present the image of someone who actually understands their line of work. Expecting to learn on the job is yesteryear; for today’s graduates, you need to know what you need to know now, and LinkedIn can make that much easier.
  3. Work For Your Dream Company. On LinkedIn, you can follow specific companies, allowing you to learn more about them and find out when they’re hiring. You can even reach out to employees at these companies through LinkedIn, learning more about what it’s like to work for them, building relationships, and putting yourself in an excellent position to impress when you land an interview.
  4. A Fuller Picture of Your Qualifications. Whereas a resume should almost always, especially for recent graduates, be only one page, your LinkedIn profile gives you the opportunity to more fully expand on your professional, collegiate, and volunteer background. By putting this amount of detail into your LinkedIn, you may even attract headhunters who are searching for candidates like you. Additionally, you can plug your LinkedIn on your resume to allow interested employers the chance to more fully get an idea of what you’re all about. True story: a colleague fresh out of graduate school with a ton of academic accomplishments under her belt didn’t think LinkedIn was a useful tool for her field, only filling out the bare-bones information and a smattering of her work experience. Once she took our advice and filled in her profile to “All-Star” standards, she began to get multiple offers from reputable headhunters and companies in her field. She was shocked that instead of spending all of her time hunting for her dream job, suddenly she was the hunted!
  5. Build Credibility. Are you talented at a particular professional skill? You can list your skills on LinkedIn, and then have your contacts endorse you for each particular skill. Through LinkedIn, you can also ask people in your network to write you personal recommendations. For recent graduates, these written testimonials can do wonders to impress employers.

Graduating was the hard part—now step up and use LinkedIn to its full potential!


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