With the advent of social media platforms, the process of identifying smart post-graduate students to fill key senior positions with a company has tremendously evolved over the years!
However, how many of these fresh graduates have adopted the REAL LIFE skills required to establish a strong online identity, beat competition and land their next dream job? You guessed it! Only a handful.
“When it comes to Social Media, you don’t need to tell the young generation how to use it! However, LinkedIn is different and a vast majority of young, tech-savvy individuals pursuing professional studies fail to position themselves correctly, in order to land their next dream job during their post-graduate journey,” says Richard Coller GM Corporate Relations SP Jain School of Global Management
With 380 million professionals and over 4 million company pages on LinkedIn, this rapidly growing network provides more opportunities to post graduate students to position themselves to be recognised from their dream company, in their area of expertise!
As a LinkedIn trainer and a mentor for Global MBA students at the SP Jain School of Global Management, Sydney Campus, I believe the importance of LinkedIn as the personal branding platform has become more paramount than ever!
So in my normal acronym style, let me expand on why the REAL LIFE skills are important for any post graduate student embarking their MBA program! This article also includes some of the feedback I received after running my LinkedIn REAL LIFE skills workshop on 15th October, 2015.
As a fresh graduate, if you are not on LinkedIn, you simply don’t exist in the professional world! Most people start pursuing MBA with some prior experience in their field of expertise. As they begin their studies, they work with several fellow students, professors and business professionals from various companies.
Most of these people are already on LinkedIn and connecting with them can exponentially increase your chances of being offered a new job, getting a recommendation or being referred to your dream company!
At end of my recent LinkedIn workshop in October, Kareem Lee, a Global MBA program student highlights two things when it comes to building fruitful relationships on LinkedIn: “Connecting with the right people and the way in which you make those connections!” says Lee.
Education beyond Books
Doing your MBA is a daunting task and demands more than a fair share of a highly motivated individual. With a huge pile of books to study and preparing for the exams, they often forget to gear themselves for the real life struggles that lie ahead.
Taking out some time and reading trending news and information from relevant industries on LinkedIn Pulse can be a great way to keep abreast with the latest happenings in an industry and know what hot topics are being discussed by the influencers on a given day!
If most of you think that LinkedIn is just like Facebook but for older people, think again! With over 4 million companies actively searching for professionals like you, do you still think you can afford to miss out on this opportunity to land the job of your dreams?
LinkedIn can be a great starting point to position yourself as a strong, intellectual person by showcasing your skills, expertise and real life activities through regularly writing articles and publishing them on LinkedIn. You can even highlight your collage papers or anything that portrays your skills in a positive light. This also increases your chances of getting discovered and gives people insights into things that you care about or have expertise in.
“You can upload more and more articles on what you are passionate about. If you have written something or you’ve done some business research…it will be very helpful to find your dream job” suggests Parth Sharma another student at the Global MBA program after attending my LinkedIn workshop last week.
Leadership is not given, it’s taken! What do I mean when I say that? As MBA students you get a lot of opportunities to demonstrate your leadership skills during assignments, classroom discussions, internship programs and year-end projects all of which eventually define who you are! In other words, these are the things that you can leverage on to build a strong personal brand.
Since most of the work is done as teams and under supervision, this is your chance to get recommendations by fellow students, instructors/professors and other business professionals you have had a chance to work with and now to which you are also connected on LinkedIn.
You can always return the favour by recommending those who recommend you.
Leveraging your Profile
LinkedIn is way different from Facebook or Instagram. You can’t get 1000 likes or comments on a picture in your pajamas on LinkedIn. What you portray on LinkedIn can make or break your career. Yes, I mean it! In this regard, getting your LinkedIn profile right is the key to start connecting with the right people as well as attracting the recruiters.
Begin with uploading an appropriate and professional looking photo and writing an informative yet punchy headline including the keywords you want to be found with. If you are not sure, get some help or check out the profile of co-workers or recent alumni that you role model.
The summary section in your LinkedIn profile is the place for you to stand out and tell your story! As an MBA student you frequently come across the term called “Unique Selling Proposition” or USP. Now is the time to apply all that you have learned. Identify your USP as an individual, share your passion, your aspirations and what difference will you bring to a company you wish to be a part of.
Be smart when talking about your experience and how you made an impact! Don’t forget to mention promotions, rewards and major achievements!
Vishal Rituraj, who was also at my last LinkedIn workshop believes that role modeling can be a great way to improve your LinkedIn profile! “You need to follow your role models. The people whom you want to be like and you can orient your profile according to those profiles.”
Intentionally or unintentionally, we are constantly gathering intelligence. If you’re actively using social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, you are probably gathering intelligence on what your friends are up to, who are their friends and who are other common people between you two that you can become friends with!
Likewise, LinkedIn intelligence gathering is all about getting to know the influencers in your niche, following companies you aspire and connecting with business professionals that can help you land your next dream job.
Blessy Thomas, after the LinkedIn workshop said that “It’s important to understand where you want to be to find your dream job.” In this regard you need to first understand the job you are looking for, which country you want to work in and which company you want to work for.
Focus on Your Target Audience
Expanding your network with the right connections is the first step towards a shining career ahead of you. According to one study, 80% of the job openings are never advertised.
Unless you have focused on building a network that can work for you and connect with people who might help you get a job or introduce you to key professionals in your industry, you are missing out on a big opportunity.
Now that you are connected with the right people, it’s time to make the most out of this network by positively engaging with key professionals. If you appreciate a post, show how you feel by liking it. Want to go a step ahead and tell them what you think? Leave a comment!
You can even start your own group, invite like-minded people and discuss things you care about!
Simranjit Singh Siyan, after my LinkedIn workshop mentioned that “managing your contacts and continuously building relationships with them by liking or commenting on what they post,” is the key to engaging proactively on LinkedIn and can help attract the attention of the companies you want to work with in the future!
Finally, how do the pains you are going through to make LinkedIn work for you are actually reaping the results that you seek?
LinkedIn has an answer for that as well in the form of its Social Selling Index that allows you to measure your efforts on a daily basis.
Spend some time daily on LinkedIn and start practicing the above REAL LIFE skills on LinkedIn and you would be thankful to have made this investment in your future!
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If you are entering into your final year of graduation and not sure about the right way to launch yourself into the business world, then my LinkedIn training is designed for people just like you! Alternatively, if you are seeking to prepare your University’s passing-out batch of MBA students, with LinkedIn coaching/mentoring as part of your career counseling program, then you too will find my in-house training programs useful!