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A Helpful Guide for Graduates



When I speak with students and student-athletes, I often ask the question, “How many of you have a LinkedIn account?” I am always shocked by how few people raise their hands. So with graduation approaching, and thousands of young adults about to enter the professional world, I was inspired to create a helpful guide, 5 Social Media Tips for Graduates. It’s ready to share with students and student-athletes who need to clean up their social media accounts and online profile.

In this week’s video, I review what tips are in the guide, and why it’s helpful for graduates. Of course, these five tips are helpful for anyone who wants to polish their personal brand!

Here’s the link to download and view the guide: http://goo.gl/QJRqm0 – Please share the link with your friends and colleagues, and be sure to forward to your students, student-athletes and graduates!

Leveraging LinkedIn – Graduates


If you are a senior in college, and you have yet to set-up a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to do so! There are so many features LinkedIn has built in, specifically for recent grads (or about to be grads in your case). You can take advantage of sections like Test Scores, Honors & Awards, even a Courses section so that you can share your areas of expertise, without feeling the pressure to have a lengthy “Experience” section.

A few things you want to pay attention to in LinkedIn:

1. Your headline (what appears under your name), the summary section and your work experience are all key-word rich and searchable. Pay attention to key words used in your industry and pepper these sections with the right words so your profile is discoverable. Fill these sections out, add your Skills & Expertise and other sections (like Projects) to “beef up” your profile.

2. Start connecting with your professors or university staff you know well. Think about who you know who is working in the industry you want to go into, even if it is your parents’ friends or colleagues. Connect with any professionals you met during internships or summer jobs. Start building your contact base.

3. If you’ve completed internships or held relatable summer jobs, connect with and get recommendations from your supervisors, as well as others who worked directly with you. If you worked at the ice-cream stand for two summers, don’t bother getting recommended by the owner, unless you have a desire to work for Ben & Jerry’s. If your career path is in marketing, and you helped boost sales for the ice cream stand, then go ahead and ask for the recommendation. That’s what I mean by relatable.

4. Join groups focused on the field you are interested in and jump into the discussions. Comment professionally and on the topics where you actually have knowledge or experience. You don’t need to participate in ever discussion in your groups. Filter out the discussions that aren’t related to your career or won’t move you forward.

5. Keep an eye on the companies you are interested in working for, as often times they post jobs to LinkedIn before other sources. If you start applying for jobs prior to graduation, you are likely to graduate with a job, versus being at the start of your search.

6. Make sure you are behaving yourself on other social sites! If a recruiter or hiring manager finds you on LinkedIn, they will likely check out your other accounts. Every post, photo, tweet and video should work to make you look good! Don’t let one tweet ruin your chances of getting your dream job. You are what you tweet!

7. While you are on other channels, be sure to share the link to your LinkedIn account so that you increase your visibility. Good way to invite others to connect with you, too. Don’t be embarrassed to promote yourself. Do you want to get an interview with that company? Do you want the job? Humble self-promotion will also help you stand-out from your peers, as there are few who will take this advice to heart. I hope you are one of them.

While I originally posted this (below the next photo) in April 2013, I wanted to update this post now – it’s good timing for YOU! While there have been only a few changes to LinkedIn since then, I hope to see a major shift in the number of seniors who raise their hands in my seminars who say they HAVE a LinkedIn profile. Those will be the students and student-atheltes I know who are on the road to success.

If you are a college student and have a LinkedIn account, please share with us in the comments how this has helped you. Who have you connected with that helped pave your career path? How have you made LinkedIn work for you?

If you want more helpful tips like this in your inbox every Friday – just subscribe in the box on the right.


In the last few weeks, I spoke with a handful of undergraduate student groups. I nearly fell flat on the floor when I learned that most of the students do not have a LinkedIn account. (Many of them have neglected Twitter, too.) One class I spoke with were all seniors and business majors, to boot. They are graduating, and they are job hunting! Thank goodness I could give them a bit of a nudge with advice to nurture their personal brand and tips to take advantage of social media, where a good 92% of companies are looking to find talent.


LinkedIn’s newest features, like the Skills & Expertise, Honors & Awards, Organizations, Test Scores and Projects sections were created specifically for college graduates. While the soon-to-be grad’s Experience section may be a bit slim, these other areas can paint the student in a positive light and help tell the story of the past four years.


For those of us who do have a healthy amount of work experience under our belt, these sections can also be used to highlight career achievements and extracurricular activities that show we have a healthy work-life balance. The information provided in these sections can also perk the interest of hiring managers if they see that you share the same core values are a good fit with the brand culture.


If you are the parent of a college student, or know a friend or family member who is graduating, please – Please! – encourage and help them get set-up on LinkedIn. This is a must in the digital age. You are helping your student get found and giving the gift of employment, come graduation. If you need help, of course, I am available to consult with you privately. Contact me at 619.244.2400 or [email protected]

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