LinkedIn describes itself as a business-oriented social networking service. Although it’s been around for about 13 years, a year longer than Facebook, many college students shy away from it. But should they?
Even LinkedIn seems to recognize that their professional networking site can be off-putting to college students. They developed a student-friendly portal so students can have their own space and still benefit from the wonders of all things LinkedIn.
The site's student portal features a 3-part job hunting handbook. In today’s working climate, it’s all about personal branding and positioning yourself as a solution in the competitive marketplace of walking, talking brands. The student portal is mobile friendly and comes complete with videos and quick tip sheets to help you create a stellar profile as a college student.
1. Not just for college graduates
The time to start building your career network is during your first year of college. Encourage your classmates and college friends to join LinkedIn and connect with them. If they are amenable, also connect with your professors on LinkedIn. Make it a goal to connect with more people you know on LinkedIn every semester. After graduation, these connections will be your career network. They will know you personally and will be very familiar with how your work ethic and career goals have grown over time. It’s not about who you know these days; it’s about who knows you.
2. Jobs, jobs, jobs
Chances are the company you want to work for has a company profile on LinkedIn. They use LinkedIn to post information about internships and permanent jobs. In some cases, you can easily apply for positions with a click of a button via LinkedIn, but only if your profile is complete.
3. Investigate career paths
LinkedIn Groups can help you connect with professionals in every career path imaginable. Most groups are closed, like on Facebook, but if you request to join them the group moderator will likely grant you access since you are an aspiring professional. Use these opportunities to ask questions about careers that interest you. Study the profiles of the successful people in these careers. This may well help you make informed choices about your chosen path.
4. Get recommendations and introductions
Don’t have any job experience yet? Don’t worry. You can still get noticed. On LinkedIn, your connections can post recommendations, validating your contributions on joint class projects or volunteer work. Ask your existing connections to introduce you to individuals via LinkedIn who may help you advance in your career. This is a gutsy move but remember it’s not who you know but who knows you.
5. Search and research
Searching for connections and researching companies could not be easier with LinkedIn. The student portal gives detailed instructions about doing research on LinkedIn. Searching alumni or professional organization oriented groups can help you find connections you never knew existed. And since both large and small companies maintain a LinkedIn profile, you can easily do company research before your first interview.
Check out the Ashworth College LinkedIn Page and connect with us today!
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