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Why College Students Should Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn for College Students

This semester alone I received dozens of emails from my school’s Career Services telling me to work on my LinkedIn. It’s the year 2014, so we  already know the importance of social media and how influential it can be to a person’s image. However, there is still plenty of advice that needs to be doled out on how to leverage social media on a personal level, or, more to the point:  how to take effective advantage of your online profiles.

LinkedIn is one of the newer social networking websites, but its purpose is a little “deeper” than its counterparts. With LinkedIn it’s not about the numbers.  The goal is not to have a million connections but instead to connect to people you know and to build a network of professional contacts that can be an asset to you as you navigate through your professional career.

Due to the professional focus of LinkedIn, and its increasing integration into the job application process (you can apply with your LinkedIn for some jobs, and employers and recruiters routinely post jobs there too!) the need to develop and maintain your profile essential. There is no secret formula to success regarding LinkedIn other than hard work and diligence, and strong relationships with people who are willing to give you a recommendation on the site.

Your LinkedIn profile can be viewed by anyone, so every profile view becomes a potential job networking opportunity. As with all social sites there are some things you can do that will make your profile more attractive, which in turn makes you as a candidate more appealing. Before you start applying for jobs using your LinkedIn use this list to determine if your profile is ready to be seen.

Do You Have a Profile Picture?

Is your profile picture updated? Does it look professional? This is the first thing a potential employer will see, so if you have your drunk selfie up you probably will not get the call that you were hoping for from the recruiter who spoke to you about that terrific internship.

Do You Have a Catchy Summary?

The generic “I am seeking ____ level job in ____ field. I have __+ years of experience” summary is very trite at this point. Also “Jason is seeking ____ level job in ____ field.” is really off putting to read and may turn off potential employers as well. Keep your summary in the first person and showcase who you are as an employee and a person. My summary is an abridged version of my cover letter template. It showcases my talents, interests, experience and personality.

This isn’t a resume, so you have a little bit of room to expand on what you would put on your actual resume. That means that you have ample opportunity to make an impression rather than relay facts.

Is Your Information Up-To-Date?

Education? Work history/ Experience? Special Skills?  The more information you put on your profile, the more holistic you appear to anyone who looks. You don’t need to put every detail, because people do tend to skim so put what is most important on you profile. The most impressive and exciting details are what will generate interest. You want to be contacted by an employer, so try to market yourself in a way that makes your employer want to find out more about you. That gives you more time to interact and impress.

Are You in Any Groups?

This is not Facebook so the objective is not numbers. You need to join select groups that really embody what your interests and career goals are. That will ensure that you have relevant information on your feed and it will make you more comfortable to be active within the group. When I started commenting and posting in the groups I joined, I noticed that more people were looking at my profile. These were more opportunities to engage with people and create new contacts.

Is Your Page SEO Friendly?

Personally, since I was interested in a social media centered job, I strategically placed many tags and terms that are common to the industry throughout my profile. You will see mentions of SEO, Twitter, Facebook, Social Media, blogging, Pinterest, and other core terms all over my profile. That makes me a better candidate to appear when someone is searching. Avoid using too superfluous language. This website is search engine based, so make direct statements that can be easily deciphered.

Take Advantage of Offers!

After you have made your profile “pretty”, keep regularly updating statuses and being active on the website. There tend to be offers on free trials for the premium services. Try them! They boost your search rating so that you are in the top 25% percent of an inquiry and they suggest you to employers who may look for someone with your qualifications to fulfill a particular position. Make sure your profile is completely finished so you have a strong chance of looking viable.

Link Up With LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a valuable tool and can really help someone gain footing in their professional life. The important thing to keep in mind when using LinkedIn is to stay focused on taking advantage of what it can do for you and your career. There are so many variables that can cause you to get hired (or not).

Instead of using a gamut of tag words and word for word relaying your resume to your profile, you have to find the tips that best suit your personality and your industry. The end goal is not to have 500 companies running you down, but to have the right company that will leave you feeling fulfilled every day when you go to work think that you are a great candidate and that they would like to meet with you. If you would like to know about the benefits of using LinkedIn, contact Premiere Creative for more information. Call (973) 346-8100!