Navigating LinkedIn – I Can’t Be the Only One Struggling… Right?

So this is it, Uni has ended. I have jam-packed my little blue Nissan Micra for the last time and bumbled down the M3 and M25 to the place I call home. We all know what we have to do next, and no I’m not talking about unpacking and trying to fit all the stuff you have accumulated over the last three years at uni back into your cramped box-sized childhood bedroom. I’m talking about the delightful process of job hunting. If you did not catch the sense of irony through your screen, job hunting is not something that fills me with much excitement.

This sounds pessimistic and you might be thinking, hey c’mon, where is your motivation? Sense of adventure for the world of work and the opportunities that await you out there? But dear readers, it is not the possibility of having a job that I dread, it is dealing with networking and job sites such as LinkedIn. Like every newly fresh faced 2020 graduate, I signed up to LinkedIn in about March/April time with zero expectations. I had heard of it before, but not taken much notice into what the website actually offered, and I’m sad to report 4 months later I am still none the wiser.

Mistake number one was not partaking in one of those ‘virtual walkthroughs’ which gives you a brief rundown of what various buttons do and whatnot, but let’s be honest does anyone pay attention to them anyway? So there I was with a blank profile, trying to find the best words to describe myself in a concise and professional way. Although this is important as it is a potential employer’s first impression of you, it is incredibly difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. I then find myself comparing profiles to my recent connections, that are basically my friends, just on a different social media platform and with a more professional looking profile pic. After completing a profile that answered the crucial questions of who I was, what I wanted to do and what I had done previously it’s time to hit the all-important JOBS button.

Job listing after job listing appears before you. Although there is a plentiful supply to choose from, it is almost too overwhelming and it is all too easy to slip into the repetitive action of applying for most jobs you see that have the ‘Easy Apply’ button all because they can be completed in a matter of minutes. But do you actually want that job? Or the algorithm has suggested over 40 jobs, all of varying entry level, just because you put teamwork as one of your skills, after being a sixth form leader on a residential camp back in 2016. You soon find yourself just continuously scrolling passing the time. Of course it’s brilliant if you actually find something that takes your fancy, and I would be lying if I said I hadn’t had a shot at some of the jobs suggested for me, but the process can be mentally draining. There is also certain pressure that bubbles up when you see an endless feed of people doing brilliant things and partaking in new opportunities which they can add to their CVs and profiles, whereas you are struggling to add more than one employer. But fear not, this is just the way social media platforms work. Despite not seeming so on the surface, LinkedIn is just another social site where people present the highlights of their lives, the bits they want you to see. So don’t worry that nothing has come your way yet, if you are actively trying something will. Patience is a virtue in this game my friends.

Ending on some lighter notes, here is what I have learnt from my brief time on LinkedIn:

·         Although it sounds cliché, showing a touch of courage and messaging that certain individual on LinkedIn or sliding in DMs, might just open-up some amazing possibilities, every sort of experience is still experience.

·         Instead of immediately swiping away the LinkedIn notifications that pop up telling you that the ‘World Health Organisation are going live for a Corona Q+A’, try to actually take  a moment to read into these things, or connect with someone who you might not necessarily know, but think their field of industry is super cool and you want a slice of that action! The things they like and share will pop up on your feed and they could benefit you.

·         Take your time. There are always going to be jobs available out there and randomly applying for a bunch in one go isn’t the way to do it. You will soon forget all the things you have applied for and not take the time to mould your CV to suit each individual job. Read the job description, even get someone else to read it over with you, then start an application process with confidence and impress the employer on the other end.

Happy Job Hunting Everyone!

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