graduate

You have your new degree in hand and your future at the forefront, so now what? Whether you’ve landed a job or are still weighing your options, LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool for your next steps post-graduation. We’ve pulled together three simple things you can do now to successfully transition from campus to career.

Take Charge of Your Professional Identity
Your LinkedIn profile makes it possible for opportunities to find you. It is a virtual billboard that communicates to current, potential and future employers, and colleagues 24 hours a day. That said, a complete profile doesn’t mean just replicating your resume. Here are a few steps to take to create a standout profile –

  • Use the Summary section on your LinkedIn profile to tell people who you are professionally and who you want to be professionally
  • Make your profile your portfolio. Upload documents, videos and images to your LinkedIn profile to showcase your successes throughout your education. Share a presentation you gave in your business class, a video you produced for your film class, or an architectural drawing you are particularly proud of.
  • Add Student Sections to capture your experiences in and out of the classroom like projects, honors and awards
  • Define your Skills and Expertise
  • Follow the Companies, Influencers and Groups that relate to the industries you’re interested in

Remember, a great profile not only ensures you are putting your best foot forward, it also makes it possible for recruiters and great opportunities to find you!

Create A Network Based on Quality Contacts, Not Quantity
LinkedIn is where business takes place, so your connections should reflect who you are as a future professional and be made up of trusted relationships. Here are four affiliations you should focus on while growing and maintaining your network:

  1. Friends and family
  2. University connections
  3. People you shared work experience with
  4. Those who you share volunteer and causes with (including student groups and fraternal organizations)

Connecting with the great people you meet along the way will enable you to build a community of experts that will support you throughout your career. Need more ideas for who to connect with? Get some help along the way from People You May Know.

Dream Big
LinkedIn showcases the successes of your school’s alumni through features like the Alumni tool. You can see how someone went from the classrooms you attended to become CEO. Or, find people who graduated from your university who now work in the industries and companies you’re interested in joining. Once you have identified and connected with them, consider reaching out and setting up an informational interview. LinkedIn can be a directory of dreams, showing you where you can go and what you can do based on the success of others with similar professional pathways.

You’ve made it through the rigors of Higher Education, where you go from here is up to you. These are three simple ways you can help yourself now while laying the groundwork for a successful and prosperous future. Good luck!

Photo Credit: fotobydave on Flickr