Why Should I be on LinkedIn? Part I
By Donna Van Derveer
There are currently 200 million LinkedIn members in 200 countries and territories worldwide. According to a 2011 USA Today survey, only 35 percent of those members are college students. Many college students assume LinkedIn is only useful while in the workforce. However, if you are still relying on old fashioned job search approaches, you are missing a chance to connect with employers around the world.
Students should not wait until graduation to reap the benefits of LinkedIn but should consider joining LinkedIn during their junior and senior years. This popular networking site provides an opportunity to excel beyond the competition and break the invisible wall between you and future employers. Still not convinced? Take a look at these benefits of being a member on LinkedIn.
Introduce yourself to the professional world
LinkedIn profiles consist of sections that allow users to provide information about their education, experience, and skills. By creating a profile, you are showing the professional world who you are by promoting your personal brand. LinkedIn also contains features that are useful in displaying students’ skills and abilities. For instance, LinkedIn allows the user to post test scores, volunteering data, honors and awards, language skills, and certifications. By taking advantage of these features, you can show your many attributes as well as the value you would bring to the company.
Control your online identity
Having a LinkedIn profile ensures that more than just your Facebook page will show up when potential employers Google you. LinkedIn profiles generally appear at the top of online search results. Therefore, your first impression from an online search is a good one.
You may also want to look into cleaning up your Facebook profile so your message coincides with your message on LinkedIn. Always remember that LinkedIn is not Facebook. Keep it professional. Do not recommend people just because you are friends. Would you put your reputation on the line for that person?
Search for jobs
Whether you are about to enter the job market or are just curious about what kind of jobs are available, LinkedIn’s job search tool can help. You can search for jobs by experience level, location, company, job function, and industry. The NACE 2012 Student Survey, conducted by The National Association of Colleges and Employers, found that approximately 41 percent of 2012 college graduates are currently using social media to help find a job. Because LinkedIn is a worldwide networking platform, it is possible to search for jobs that are located overseas. You can connect with all the major international employers and find available jobs in foreign countries. Using LinkedIn to find jobs opens a door of opportunity that would have otherwise been closed to you.
Find your major
Unsure of your major? Use LinkedIn to search for companies that you might be interested in interning or working for. Then look at what current employees studied in college. Think about the organization’s corporate culture. Do you see yourself working there?
LinkedIn also has a section that provides a place where members can ask questions about anything business related, from specific industries to career advice. If you are confused about the next stage in your life, get advice from alumni or professionals who have been there.
Image Source: http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/9-dexterous-ways-to-dominate-linkedin-groups-0382277