Many college students and new grads don't realize that online job applications are the hardest pathway to a new job or internship. Your goal should be to increase the number of career conversations you have with employers and members of your network. Your biggest career assets are your personal brand and network. LinkedIn is the best tool to help you cultivate both. Try to decrease your online job applications and increase the live "in-person" career conversations.
Asking for a meeting is simple. Don't ask for a job. Ask to meet for advice and be genuinely interested in your network. Seek out advice on industries, functions and companies. Ask friends in your network to introduce you to people who are knowledgeable and helpful in the industry you are most interested in. Be sure to thank your friend as well as the industry professionals who are guiding your path.
Start with a professional and 100% complete LinkedIn profile. Potential hiring managers and recruiters will look at your profile. Over 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn premium search tools to find candidates. You want to optimize your page so you will be found.
Next, build your professional network. Connect with friends, coworkers, alumni, students, professors, and any professional connections you have established. LinkedIn can help you find and connect with alumni using the alumni tool. ( PDF below)
LinkedIn has a student job app with connections to entry-level jobs and internships. Your best strategy is to get referred into a company whenever possible. This always give you an extra edge against competition. If you do find an opportunity online first, then take the time to quickly determine if you have a connection that is working for your target employer. Ask them for some insight into the company and let them know you are applying.
* Link to an article about how to network with alumni
* Book > More detailed help on your profile and personal brand > Invest in yourself. Purchase Sandra Long's Amazon best-selling book or kindle: LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide