How to Leverage LinkedIn for College Students
LinkedIn is the largest business oriented professional network available today. As college students we will be joining the workforce soon and need to know how to leverage this tool to get a job and maintain professional relationships. LinkedIn is Facebook for professionals. It is used by most organizations for recruiting and for some companies is replacing the paper resume. As a member of LinkedIn you can maintain online relationships with former schoolmates, employers, peers and all other professional contacts throughout your career. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is not used to show photos of your latest vacation. It is a good way to separate your personal from professional life. This doesn’t mean that your Facebook posts can be something embarrassing, but it does allow you to keep your personal contacts and posts separate from your professional contacts. LinkedIn can be used by many, but this how-to guide is specifically directed to the college student who will be looking for a job soon.
LinkedIn Functions for the College Student
This guide will help you to learn how to do the following;
- Create Your Best LinkedIn Profile
- Build and Maintain Your Connections
- Use LinkedIn to Research Job Opportunities
Create Your Best LinkedIn Profile
Your Profile is your online resume and its worth putting extra effort into setting this up. The link below will provide you with all the information you need to navigate the site. LinkedIn is very similar to Facebook so if you are a user of Facebook you should not have any trouble with this site.
LinkedIn Help linkedin.com/help/linkedin?lang=en
Besides simply knowing how to navigate the site, the following things will help a student get the most of their profile. For helpful information on how to create a good profile watch How to Create a Killer Profile. youtube.com/watch?v=C5xtQKLvX4U
- Use your full name
- Add a professional and friendly looking photo. The photo should be high quality and recent. It may be someone’s first impression of you so make it count.
- Add a creative Headline to help people know who you are. This headline will display like a job title would on a business card. It is as important as a good photo.
- Link how to create a good headline. The one below is an example of a headline that stands out. The quick video below gives good advice.
- Customize your Public Profile URL. This will make your page easier to find and most people don’t know to do this. Adding your URL to emails and contacts is also a good idea to help them get to your LinkedIn page. You can also create a View My Profile Button on this page which is perfect for linking from your blog or email. The link below will get you the information you need to do this.
- Turn off broadcasting while you are updating your site. This will avoid broadcasting every change to your profile until you are done and then turn broadcasting back on. This is not a very intuitive function on LinkedIn so I spelled out how to do this here.
- Use the small profile image on the top right corner to drop a menu.
- Select Privacy & Settings and then Click Change next to the Sharing profile edits option and slide the button toward the word Yes which will then change to No. Save it and you’re done.
Build and Maintain Your Connections
- Adding connections to LinkedIn is a lot like Facebook. It’s easy to use. Follow all the normal things you would do if you were mailing resumes are making phone calls. All business etiquette rules apply.
- Personalize Email Requests. LinkedIn provides standard emails that you can use to send a connection request to someone. It is a good idea to personalize the email some to let the reader get to know you and maybe even request a meeting.
- Be active in Linked groups
Using LinkedIn to Research Job Opportunities
Many companies use LinkedIn too. Company LinkedIn pages will give you information about recent company news, job opportunities and employees with which you may be able to connect.
- Search for Job Opportunities. Open positions are listed and if you click on a job it will describe the job, its requirements and information on how to apply. Another helpful feature is that it shows other similar job opportunities from other companies.
- Download the LinkedIn for Students application to your mobile device. It’s available for iOS or Android devices and can keep you posted on relevant open job opportunities and news.