In our inaugural Career Insights blog, YAIA’s Careers Director, Kate Kalinova, explores key ways to leverage LinkedIn for career development and shares practical tips on how to navigate various LinkedIn functions.
International affairs is a broad field encompassing wide career specialisations from NGO activism, academia and even the corporate sector. To explore these opportunities, online platforms offer a useful tool for career development and progression – helping to forge a path that’s right for you.
Whether you’re a student, recent graduate or young professional, LinkedIn is a valuable resource that can help you find job and internship opportunities, as well as build your professional network and connect with inspiring peers, colleagues and mentors. Much more than just your ‘online CV’, it can help you create your professional ‘brand’, grow your network, create content and keep up to date with industry news and developments. In this article, we explore three ways of leveraging LinkedIn, for finding jobs, inspiration and role-models that can empower you to stand out from the crowd and fast track your career.
Finding Jobs and Internships
Given LinkedIn’s platform as a job-search tool, it’s important to get familiar with the site to leverage the jobs and internships opportunities LinkedIn can give you. While the LinkedIn Jobs Portal should be your first port of call, it’s also worth exploring the other search routes LinkedIn provides.
1. Using the Jobs Search Tool
The simplest way to get started is to search for specific locations and keywords (such as ‘intern’ or ‘internship’) to limit your results. Location can be a tricky factor, so it’s usually good to search for both domestic and local opportunities to make sure you’re not missing out!
To track new opportunities, you can set up Job Alerts for your keywords, target companies and location straight to your LinkedIn and email inboxes.
2. Using the Company Jobs Search Tool
Another route for finding industry-specific opportunities, especially if you’re flexible in terms of location, is to search for jobs through the Company Page Jobs Search. This way, you can check the listed vacancies for specific companies, as well as people currently working at the company who could give you advice on the application process.
3. Using the General Search Tool
Finally, not all companies have the resources to pay for frequently updating their job vacancies on LinkedIn. Therefore, recruiters and company representatives sometimes share job opportunities on their personal profiles. An advantage of having an extensive industry network is that this enables you to view these posts directly in your LinkedIn feed!
However, even if you aren’t connected to industry professionals, you can use the LinkedIn Search Tool to look up job-vacancies by searching keywords such as ‘hiring’, ‘recruiting’ and a location or company name to narrow the results.
Defining Your Career Path
As well as helping you find employment opportunities, LinkedIn can also help you draw inspiration from professionals across your industry.
As you expand your network by following company pages and increasing your network, you can also follow industry-specific news as well as the various career paths available to you by researching your university’s alumni and the evolution of their careers after graduation.
The Advanced and Alumni Search Tools can enable you to search for company employees and university alumni and search keywords, such as your Major, to find peers a few years ahead of you and senior professionals.
You can also use the Search Tool to view people working in specific companies, for instance ‘Young Australians in International Affairs’ or undertaking a specific program, such as the ‘New Colombo Plan’ or ‘Graduate Policy Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’.
1. Using the Advanced Search Tool
Using the Advanced Search Tool and clicking the ‘all filters’ option enables you to narrow your search by selecting various options, such as current company, past company, location, or school, etcetera.
2. Using the Alumni Search Tool
By looking up a university and clicking the Alumni tab, you can search alumni by their location and add other specific keywords or company details.
Getting Advice from Mentors and Peers
Finally, you can connect with people and ask for advice about working in a particular company or finding job opportunities in a new country.
When it comes to connection requests, it’s very important to have a completed LinkedIn profile (including a photo) and have over 100 connections - so start by adding people you know and then build up your numbers to 500+ and beyond by reaching out to senior professionals and colleagues.
Sending personalised connection requests is an important way of building rapport, and you can briefly introduce yourself and mention your interest in their experience or where you met them (for instance, at a YAIA event or university lecture).
Of course, while messaging is a great option, it’s also good to consider arranging face-to-face coffee chats and asking for advice in person. But remember, when you do so you should make sure that you come prepared with a discussion agenda and are appreciative of the time the other person is giving up to meet with you.
For instance, Jacinta Keast, one of our ‘2019 Young Women to Watch in International Affairs’ is currently wrapping up her first semester of study in Beijing as a 2020 Schwarzman Scholar. Jacinta used LinkedIn to message a past alumnus of the Schwarzman Scholars program and received some excellent advice on the interview process by arranging to meet some local alumni for breakfast.
Highlighting the importance of communication and networking on LinkedIn as both an online and offline resource, Jacinta notes that while “sometimes cold-messaging people on LinkedIn can feel daunting, if you have a genuine ask and are polite and respectful, people are happy to assist.”
Keen to start leveraging this platform and interested in finding out more tips on how to improve your profile? You can check out these resources from LinkedIn to get you started and feel free to reach out to our YAIA Careers team if you have any questions.