Earning a degree is hard work. Let’s face it, four years of classes, labs, studying, reading, writing papers, projects, internships, presentations… the list goes on. The work is tough as is the real world, which quickly arrives after graduation. It's important to take advantage of professional resources to help you manage this transition, many of which are available on your smartphone, tablet or desktop.
When you begin your degree program, it will be natural for you to seek new tools and resources that will make your life a little easier while you’re in school. LinkedIn is one of those tools that will be extremely helpful for you before, during and after graduation. Here are a few reasons why LinkedIn is such an important resource for college students.
Your Personal Profile
The power of LinkedIn is really all about personal and professional profiles. Your presence is critical and what you write about yourself will tell your story to people and businesses that want to connect with you professionally, or even for a job once you finish school. LinkedIn will help you along the way create a stronger online profile and will tell you what you need to do to make it better. Pay attention to LinkedIn, it’s a smart resource and it knows how to get you recognized.
LinkedIn Groups and Companies
The average LinkedIn user is involved in 7 groups. Take advantage of this feature. You can find “Groups” under the “Interests” tab at the top menu bar. Start by searching for groups that are applicable to your major. When you find a group you like, click “join.” You can even start a group of your own. Groups give you access to more people in your select field. Groups also build relationships with other people and companies.
Content Articles for Increased Exposure
Content articles are critical for you to increase knowledge, exposure, credibility and visibility. You can find content under the menu item called “Interests” and “Pulse.” This is where influencers hangout. Find articles applicable to your major or degree program. Then, like, comment or share so that you show up on the live stream. This is huge for attracting and engaging followers and increasing your personal and professional network. Along the way you will begin to expand your knowledge base in areas that you follow and connect with as you comment.
Everybody knows that college students conduct research. But did you know that LinkedIn could be used as a search engine to direct you to published content and research? Rollover the top menu bar called “Interests” then click on “Pulse.” In this area you will be able to look for information that interests you through news, tops posts or the discover section. If you click on the “Discover” area, you can select anyone to follow. Once you follow them, influencer’s content from around the world will be instantly streamed into your LinkedIn feed. How cool is that?
Publish Your Own Content
How many papers and presentations did you write in college? Hmm… Probably too many to count. Guess what? That’s your work and it can help you get noticed if you upload the papers to LinkedIn or use them as blog content on LinkedIn. You can also upload your PowerPoint presentations onto your LinkedIn profile. All of this content you already produced, so let it work for you in the digital world where employers are searching for good people like you.
Access to Jobs
If you haven’t noticed, LinkedIn has a job section. Since LinkedIn is known to be one of the foremost resources for professionals, it has become a go-to network for job seekers. Finding a job opening is quite easy. Just go to the top menu bar, click “Jobs”, and then type in the job title or keyword of what you are looking for. You can also click “Advanced search” - type in the city and state and other applicable fields… then “search.” TIP: The advanced levels make your search more powerful.
Access to Professionals and Groups
In my opinion, this is one of the biggest strengths of LinkedIn. As a college student, you will have immediate access to professionals in any industry. You will also be able to find out where Alumni from your college are working and in what field. This is huge because if you want to be an engineer and you discover that 45 engineers from you college are working in your city, you will be able to connect with them.
Active in Your Profession
LinkedIn does an incredible job of providing a wealth of resources for college students to be able to connect to other professionals but also provide access to companies and influencers. When college students take advantage of these by engaging in conversations, forums, blogs and groups, it shows you are highly interested and active in your profession. Others that are also participants will see this and you will get noticed faster. This may not sound important, however, when you are looking for your first job, the more important people in your field of study you can connect with the better off you will be. It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.
Connect with Alumni
LinkedIn now has a University section that caters to both students and alumni. As a current student, it’s important to take a look at this to see how you can start connecting with people that share a common interest and professional field, especially connecting with fellow Eastern Nazarene College alumni.
As you begin to develop your LinkedIn profile, continue to modify your profile content, and keep it fresh. Your resume information and professional accolades should all be posted here so that you have instant online visibility to hiring managers, other professionals and companies. If you haven’t started LinkedIn yet, click here to begin connecting to others while you create your professional profile.