While Facebook and Instagram are popular on college campuses, many college students aren’t comfortable with the social media tool that is specifically designed to land you a job: LinkedIn.
According to a study done by Millennial Branding and AfterCollege, 46 percent of students have never used LinkedIn, and those who are using LinkedIn don’t use it as a primary job search tool.
Just because you have a LinkedIn, doesn’t make you an ideal job candidate. Why? There are some standard mistakes made all over student’s profiles, and I’m not the only one who has noticed.
Hackcollege.com outlines five things not to do on LinkedIn. But there are two that I bet you’re guilty of: using an unprofessional photo (or none at all) and abandoning your profile after you make it.
What’s so bad about these two things? Number one, nobody’s going to look at your profile if you look like you’re a party animal or a computer bot without a photo. Two, your abandoned profile that has nothing on it still appears when people Google you, and doesn’t help your online presence.
Why have a LinkedIn profile? You might say you’re just a college student with nothing that exciting to put on it yet. But you’re wrong. Make one now.
“With LinkedIn students have the opportunity to establish their professional identity, as well as the network that will help them transition from campus to career,” said Crystal Braswell, corporate communications manager at LinkedIn. “An updated and complete profile will highlight their skills and help them standout to potential employers.”
The article “Should college students use LinkedIn?” by Keppie Careers recommends students create a profile for two reasons: it helps students see how their experience appears to others, and facilitates networking in a social media format that works great for college students. It’s much more student-friendly to click “Connect” with someone on LinkedIn that was your boss or that you met at a campus event to stay in touch, rather than trying to send a slightly creepy “Remember Me?” email.
Secondly, Keppie Careers explains LinkedIn has an app that takes a picture of business cards you receive and connects them to that person’s LinkedIn profile for you. It solves the problem of losing those business cards immediately.
Let’s not forget how widely LinkedIn is used for recruiting today. Keppie Careers mentions a Jobvite survey that found “LinkedIn continues to be a dominant recruiting network,” by 93 percent of responders — up from 87 percent in 2011 and 78 percent in 2010.
If you’re worried about not having enough professional experience, fret not. LinkedIn even has an area for coursework, so you can list those fancy classes you’ve been spending several grand on. That way, recruiters can see you’ve have useful skills in your field, even if you don’t have much employed experience.
So let’s boil it down: why do you care about creating a LinkedIn? Because you want a job. The way to convey this ambition through your online presence is a LinkedIn profile with a proper photo, well-written experiences and information about yourself. Strengthen your presence with a built network of people you know from your field.
Connect to your teachers and classmates, as they see your work first hand and can endorse you for your skills. Above all, keep it up to date with your information and new connections. It’s all about what you can do, and who you know that will get you there.
“Your LinkedIn profile is what makes it possible for opportunities to find you — and because of that, you want it to be the best representation of who you are, where you are and where you aspire to go,” said Braswell.