The fastest-growing demographic on Linkedin is college students, those who are three years or less out of college. There are over 30 million and the number is increasing. The site has also opened up for high school students going into college.
The site gives prospective students the opportunity to explore potential avenues of their career like never before. This is definitely a far cry from when I started freshman year of college and one of the most popular majors was “undecided”.
The concept may not take hold with every student. Some may feel they are still looking at options and would rather use their social media time on Facebook and Instagram. But there are advantages to using Linkedin early on.
1. Recommendations and Endorsements. If you do a volunteer internship, get your boss to write you a good recommendation that mentions specific things you did well, like handling customers and always arriving early and staying late. Endorsements can also be provided. Since endorsements accumulate over time, it’s good to start early.
2. To highlight awards. If you’re in a serious academic club and you win awards, or your essay wins a nationwide writing competition, potential employers want to know. Create an Honors & Awards section on your profile and keep it up to date.
3. To show that you’re serious. Most potential employers will put your name through a Google search. Having a LinkedIn profile tells a potential new boss that you are serious about building a career, rather than just socializing online
4. To boost your college application If a student points the admissions office to LinkedIn knowing that it’s geared toward networking and professional accomplishments, it gives an idea on a student’s potential.
5. Impress potential employers. If you’re up for a summer job and your competition has only a résumé and no LinkedIn profile, a hiring manager will likely be impressed that you have had the foresight to establish a LinkedIn presence.
6. To search for connections to the jobs you want. This is one of LinkedIn’s great strengths you can instantly search your connections for a link to a specific company, institution or field. You can keep building as you grow.
Do’s and Don’t’s
1. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date
Your Linkedin profile tells the story of you, your career, and education. It can be seen by anyone on Linkedin. Give a clear profile summary that incorporates previous positions and a clear message about you. Add all special skills and accomplishments. Say who you are and who you wish to serve.
2. Start developing your network
Start debveloping your network including friends and associates. If other students or alumni from school are there, try and connect with them. Your educational institution can be a great Launchpad for your network.
3. Post relevant content
Post interesting articles or thoughts about the industry you want to break into. Interact with connections that share similar interests.
1. Don’t be a “stalker”
Don’t be overly aggressive with connections or potential connections. For example, A job prospect may be your focus and an individual on Linkedin seems to be the perfect connection. Aggressively requesting an industry professional makes it obvious that you are pleading as is seen as unprofessional. Make the requests personal and not the standard messages Linkedin gives you.
2. Don’t rely on job postings
These postings are open to the entire LinkedIn user population, so the acceptance rate is rather low. Other members of Linkedin will be applying as well as you. They can provide one mean of looking for a job. However, most job openings are never advertised. Making connections with employees and decision makers of companies you want to work for is a better way.
3. Don’t hide yourself
Linkedin is a social network in the same way as Facebook and Twitter. However, the focus for Linkedin is business. Having professionals on the site with years of experience in industry can be intimidating. But the site is about making connections and developing your own career and brand. Join groups you’re interested in and follow companies that interest you.
Linkedin is only one tool. CareerBuilder launched a new site to help students find their calling. It’s called Find Your Calling, and it starts with a 6 question assessment geared towards your career aspirations.
You start with a quick assessment of your interests. Next, you’ll get a list of career opportunities that match your interests. Once you have an idea of the careers that interest you, Find Your Calling tells you the schools that offer relevant programs.
Portfolium, Inc designed to help students showcase their potential to employers via class projects and work samples that align to professional, on-the-job requirements. Projects as part of scholarly achievements can now be seen by companies you may want to work for.