LinkedIn is a professional social network that has been around for over 10 years. Over those 10 years, LinkedIn has become an essential tool for matching college students with internship and employment opportunities. LinkedIn is a one-stop shop for showcasing your professional profile, building a network, researching and applying for employment opportunities, and even finding mentors and other career development resources.
This post is both a plea and a guide for today’s college students to learn the importance of LinkedIn and how to leverage it to build their professional profiles and connect with potential employers. Let’s get started!
LinkedIn Is Home To Your Professional Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is your home on the web where you can showcase your education, skills, work experience, accomplishments, and interests. Your profile serves as a one-stop-shop for all of your professional information so that employers and recruiters can easily find you when they’re looking for potential candidates to fill available positions. It’s important to keep your profile up-to-date so that you present the best representation of yourself to potential employers.
According to LinkedIn’s 2017 Global Recruiting Trends Report, 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find qualified candidates for open positions in their organizations. The report also found that 77% of recruiters have hired a candidate they first found on LinkedIn. That means that the majority of recruiters are actively using LinkedIn to find candidates for open positions, so it’s imperative that you have a fully developed professional profile on the platform.
LinkedIn Serves As Your New Age Professional Rolodex
As you continue to build your professional network on LinkedIn, you’ll start to discover other like-minded people who you can connect with and learn from. You’ll also find opportunities to connect with other professionals who may be able to connect you with job opportunities or people who can serve as career mentors. At the least, LinkedIn serves as a professional way to keep up with your friends as you all go out into the world.
Have you heard of the 7 degrees of connectivity rule? It describes the idea that in a social network everyone is connected to everyone else through a chain of 7 or fewer degrees. For example, your boss is directly connected to you; he or she is connected indirectly to your boss through your immediate supervisor, who is in turn connected to your boss through a manager-employee relationship. The same principle applies to people you meet professionally.
LinkedIn is a social network that helps you create a network of connections who can be a resource for you professionally. It allows you to use the 7 degrees of connectivity rule to your advantage.
LinkedIn Is A Job Search Engine
In addition to serving as a place to build your professional network, LinkedIn also serves as a place to find job postings that match your skills and interests. You have access to job research and hiring opportunities on a global scale. So whether you’re looking for an internship in your hometown or looking to further your career in a new city, LinkedIn can help you find the jobs you want and land the job you want after graduation.
To help with the search LinkedIn offers several different job search features including the company directory (similar to an alumni directory), job search by company or industry, advanced search, and keyword suggestions. Some of their more unique and cool features include “open to work”, easy apply, suggested jobs based on profile, and more.
Although there are some limitations on what you can find on the standard LinkedIn job search, there are options to upgrade to their premium services which will give you access to more of the companies. For example, with premium, you get their InMail feature which allows you to send a personalized message to a company recruiter to ask about a job opportunity or internship.
I haven’t used any paid features myself so I can’t vouch for them but it’s a great option if you do decide to go that route.
LinkedIn is also a great place to seek out those remote jobs that are becoming more and more popular.
According to LinkedIn’s most recent global talent trends data, US remote-job postings on LinkedIn reached an all-time high in February 2022, at 20% of all US jobs — yet they attracted over 50% of all applications.
Putting It All Together
With LinkedIn, college students have a free and accessible avenue to find opportunities and build a professional network that will help them land their dream career after graduation or just a job. Let’s be honest it is tough out here. There are so many companies looking for young minds. That is one of the reasons I believe LinkedIn should be part of your college experience and a foundational component of your professional toolbox moving forward into the real world.
Do you already use LinkedIn? Do you think LinkedIn is essential for college students today? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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About The Author
Donald Williams, Jr.
Donald is an avid believer in helping young people prepare for adulthood. He spends his time working on Adulting Starts Here and helping new adults plan for the future. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and going to the beach.