If you are an international student, chances are you have heard about LinkedIn. At this point you have likely explored it and you may have taken that first step to create an account and built the first draft of your profile.
But are you taking full advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer? In other words, are you fully optimizing your free LinkedIn account?
At Devant, we not only teach you how to design and leverage your LinkedIn profile – we go further and explain the WHY. We find that when our clients really understand why they should use LinkedIn, they are more effective users and see much better results.
Below, we explain the top 5 reasons why international students should use LinkedIn and how they lead to career development:
The research and experts agree – somewhere between 70-80% of all new jobs are never advertised. There are many reasons for this, but we won’t go into them here. Rather, we will stress that you need to access this hidden job market and LinkedIn is no doubt the most effective tool you have for this.
Once you have narrowed down your career interests, you can use LinkedIn to help find and connect with professionals in those industries and the companies you want to work for. Your first goal (Goal #1) is to begin building your network of professionals in those priority employment areas.
You will use the search feature to look up companies and people that work in those companies. You can learn from their profiles and you will start inviting them to connect. With the invite, write a note to introduce yourself and why you would like to connect. Always keep in mind that LinkedIn is a professional networking site and so you must maintain professionalism.
Be respectful and humble when interacting and connecting with people on LinkedIn as your goal is to learn from them – not to ask them for a job.
We live in a digital world and especially now given the unique circumstances, almost everything is online. You should also be present online and as a professional, people will expect you to have a LinkedIn profile. Almost 90% of employers will look you up on LinkedIn before scheduling an interview and almost everyone who plans to meet with you for business or work-related purposes, will look you up on LinkedIn.
This makes LinkedIn a necessity especially when you are at the beginning of your career.
We teach many ways to improve your digital presence, but your second goal (Goal #2) is to ensure that you have a well-developed LinkedIn profile and PRESENCE. You build presence through participation. Do this by sharing articles, sharing your thoughts on what others are posting or even creating your own posts and content.
Ever heard of the saying that you are hired for your technical skills but fired for your soft skills?
The leaders in all areas of employment know this is true. Therefore, recruiters are always looking for advanced soft skills. For this reason, at Devant we offer assessment and training in key soft skills.
But know that your goal (Goal # 3) is to use LinkedIn to demonstrate your command of soft skills. The problem is that some soft skills are not easy to demonstrate on a resume and that is where LinkedIn can help you. A well-crafted and active LinkedIn profile will help you demonstrate to hiring managers and recruiters that you are a professional with good interpersonal, communication, networking, and collaboration skills.
Something to be mindful of is that the opposite is also true. If you are not present on LinkedIn or you have a poorly built profile, you may be seen as unprofessional, incompetent and not socially skilled.
While you may know some of the big-name companies in your targeted industries, it is impossible to know them all. A recent report by Hootsuite mentioned that there are over 30 million companies on LinkedIn, meaning it’s an excellent resource to begin building lists of employers.
So, your purpose now (Goal #4) is to support your company research. Skilled LinkedIn users can use LinkedIn to conduct both broad research to identify new opportunities and in-depth research to learn more about those companies. You will explore the company’s website and learn more about employees by exploring key staff on LinkedIn profiles too. And, you will pick up key words and competencies profiled by these key employees.
It is very common practice for recruiters, HR professionals and employers to search for candidates on LinkedIn. Remember the hidden job market? Many recruiters and smaller companies will use LinkedIn to avoid advertising jobs. Your presence on LinkedIn means that the chances of your being found by this group of people is higher than if you were not on LinkedIn.
To ensure that your profile is picked up during their search, use the keywords (see above) that are specific to your industry. Be sure your profile references the specific skills (hard and soft) that are important in those industries. Ultimately, your goal here (Goals #5) is to make sure you can be found by the recruiters searching for talent on LinkedIn.
Note, you will likely also want to use LinkedIn’s built-in job board to post your profile.
To learn more about how Devant helps international students start their career in Canada after graduation, check out their website here. And if you’re looking for more help with immigration in Canada, including study permits, post-grad work permits and permanent residency, make sure to sign up to the free Visto immigration portal!