LinkedIn is Ideal for College Students
Miriam Salpeter had it right when she explained to “U.S. News Money” readers that it is easy to underestimate LinkedIn’s potential value, especially if you don’t know too many people who use this dynamic social media platform. In 2010, just 5 percent of college students were using LinkedIn to find jobs, but in 2011 that number surged to 28 percent. Likely, the word about LinkedIn is getting out among college students, but if you’re not “linked in” yet, then you should create a profile sooner rather than later.
To help college grads find work, LinkedIn launched a student portal in March 2011. That portal is accessible to anyone with a LinkedIn account although if you’re seeking to find jobs you’ll have to pay to find out who has viewed your profile and to gain access to its job seeker community.
Upgrade from basic to the standard account and you’ll be able to contact five people per month with InMail and are guaranteed a response. Fees range from $19.95 to $49.95 per month, but there is no long-term obligation. Find yourself a job and this job seeker service is no longer needed.
Why should you use LinkedIn besides for the reasons already mentioned?
1. Your online resume — You still need a hard copy of your resume available to send out, although *doc and *pdf versions of the same can do fine. Unlike paper and electronic versions of your resume, your LinkedIn profile is easy to find. Indeed, type your name into Google and your profile should show up at or near the top of the search results.
2. Connecting is easy — Once your profile has been filled out, you’ll find that connecting online is easy. You can import your email lists and connect with people you already follow elsewhere. If your connections list is small, you can ask other college students, friends, family members or other people you know to sign up too.
3. Learn about various companies — No sooner than you sign up for LinkedIn, you find out that it isn’t just a website for individuals. Companies make use of this social media platform, offering internal news, job information and other details. Sure, you may be able to find out some of the same information on your own, but when a company has a dedicated page on LinkedIn, typically the news is fresh and the contacts are easy to find. Yes, Facebook has considered expanding its platform aggressively to make it more recruiter-friendly, but LinkedIn has the sales force and experience that make it the premier career connection platform for all.[3}
4. Businesses can learn about you -- LinkedIn puts "you" out there to businesses just as it allows you to find various companies. This why you need to have a profile that offers details about who you are, where you are going to school, your major, graduation date, the job you're looking for and more. Your college may be able to help you here -- visit your college career office to find out if they hold LinkedIn seminars, similar to resume-writing instruction they've long offered. If not, you can still get some pointers from the career pros and ask fellow students for advice too. Companies put a lot into Facebook recruiting, with Pfizer reporting that approximately 40 percent of its candidates are found on LinkedIn.
5. An ever expanding network — You don’t have to be particularly adept at networking when you join LinkedIn. Quite frankly, networking online comes easier and may provide more opportunities for you to connect with other people. Consider that joining LinkedIn is just the beginning of a lifelong way of connecting with people and networking. Just as you update your resume, you’ll update your LinkedIn profile to tell everyone about your current availability.
When crafting your LinkedIn profile, you’ll need to hone in on keywords that recruiters look for. LinkedIn itself offers guidance on how to include relevant keywords or the terms that you need to use to help your profile stand out in the pack.