YES, having a LinkedIn profile gives you an advantage in the job market

There are many benefits to having LinkedIn.

There are many benefits to having LinkedIn.

You’ve probably heard of the social networking platform LinkedIn, where business professionals upload their experience and job requirements so they can connect with other professionals. You’ve also probably thought that you don’t need to worry about this until you’re a business professional. Think again.

A professional LinkedIn profile offers a student advantage to college students and recent grads. Use LinkedIn for the many opportunities to begin to get your name out there, gain contacts and establish yourself before the real hard work begins.

Grow your network exponentially

LinkedIn offers subscribers an amazingly fast and exponentially diverse method of growing your contact list. As explained in How to Succeed in Business Using LinkedIn: Making Connections and Capturing Opportunities on the Web’s #1 Business Networking Site, by Eric Butow and Kathleen Taylor, 2009, found on Questia: “When I joined LinkedIn, about 14 of my colleagues asked to link with me, and I asked to link with some of them. By degrees I expanded my link network to hundreds of LinkedIn members because my originally linked members have links to hundreds of other connections. And those hundreds of connections have thousands more.”

LinkedIn can also be used for recommendations:

  • Friends, teachers, colleagues, internship partners and fellow employees can write recommendations for other users. This helps researchers find users with similar interests, business experience and who’s hiring in your network.
  • Also use LinkedIn to find employees who work at the company you’re researching—connect with them to learn about the company, get feedback, learn what the turnover rate is, and other useful information.

LinkedIn knows how important it is for college students because it even has a “Jobs for Students and Recent Graduates” page. Here you can search thousands of student internships, entry level jobs and jobs for graduates. Search by the kind of job you’re looking for, such as administrative, business, education, information technology, sales, science, and lots more.

LinkedIn profile checklist

According to LinkedIn, here are tips for a student profile:

1. Photo: Wear a nice shirt and smile.

2. Headline: “I’m a ______ major and an aspiring _____.”

3. Summary: What motivates you, what are you skilled at doing?

4. Experience: Jobs or internships you’ve had. Include videos or presentations you’ve done.

5. Organizations: College clubs or outside organizations you’re affiliated with.

6. Education: Your college and expected graduation year and degree. Other training you’ve had in your field.

7. Volunteer Experience & Causes: Stuff you weren’t paid for. Always looks good on a profile.

8. Honors & Awards: Dean’s list, cum laude, scholarships, athletics, etc.

9. Courses: List the classes that show off your skills.

10. Projects: Any special projects or papers that you did that demonstrate your skills and team leadership.

11. Recommendations: From managers, professors, internship administrators, etc.

Benefits of LinkedIn for college students

In “Why College Students Should Join LinkedIn,” posted on US News Money, Miriam Salpeter explains why students should set up a profile and begin using LinkedIn as soon as possible.

  • Get email alerts and notifications of recommended jobs based on your education and interests.
  • Research prospective companies you’d like to work for. Learn what types of jobs are available, what types of people they hire, what other people are saying about that organization, etc.
  • Let companies find you. Make sure your profile is professional with all your experience and education so you will look enticing to companies. They might invite you for an interview or internship.

What NOT to do on LinkedIn

While LinkedIn is a great social networking site, like any situation, there are rules of etiquette and protocol. Alex Farmer writes in “6 LinkedIn Do’s & Don’t’s for College Students” posted on The Social U 101:

  • Don’t be an aggressive inviter. As a college student you cannot equally reciprocate with others because you are just starting out in the job market. You need to be a bit humble to get your foot in the door.
  • Don’t request to connect with someone five minutes after you’ve met them. Give the person some time to get back to their office and mull over the impression you made on them. Requesting to connect too soon means they will likely not read your profile.
  • Don’t rely on job postings to get jobs. Most of the good jobs are not posted on LinkedIn because companies have no trouble filling those. Instead, use LinkedIn to connect with high level personnel within the company and then use him/her as an agent during the hiring process.

For more information on employment, business and technology, check out Questia.com’s Economics and Business library.

Have you tried LinkedIn yet? How is it working for you?

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