4 Reasons College Students Should Join LinkedIn
LinkedIn is not only a social network for professionals and job seekers, but a virtual resume. Savvy students join LinkedIn while still in college. Even some human resources professionals recommend that high school students join! If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, here are four reasons why you should:
Document your experience
College students use LinkedIn to document professional skills and experience gained during work-study programs, internships, and part-time jobs. Will you remember the details of your semester managing a team of tutors during your work-study program? Probably not. But, adding those managerial skills to your LinkedIn profile could boost your application for a plum summer internship.
Let's look at internships. Some say "volunteering," others say, "valuable work experience." Regardless of where you side in that debate, what isn't in dispute is the importance of putting it on your resume. Documenting the experience is the only way to communicate your background to recruiters.
The skills you acquired during your internship and the increasing level of responsibility add value to your resume. Document every detail on LinkedIn. Document awards, honors, membership in clubs and volunteer work.
Solicit references and recommendations
Almost as important as documenting your experience, soliciting references and recommendations from former supervisors and professors is an advantage of LinkedIn. Maintaining a relationship with employers and educators who can attest to your experience and skills can facilitate requesting references.
Connect with the people who you will be using as references when it comes time to apply for internships and jobs. As a bonus incentive, keeping in touch with supervisors and instructors could get you advanced notice of internship and employment opportunities.
Network with alumni
Keeping in touch with high school alumni and college friends on LinkedIn can reap great rewards when it comes time to job hunt. Remember the captain of the hockey team who graduated your freshman year of high school? If she works in your desired industry, she may have a tip on an internship at her company. Better yet, she may be able to advance your application and score you an interview.
Networking is about expanding your possibilities. Be focused, but open to opportunities. When you attend a professional or academic event, be sure to connect with the contacts you met using your LinkedIn account.
Research employers and industry trends
LinkedIn is an invaluable resource for job seekers looking to research companies and industries. What qualifications are companies in your desired industry looking for? Set up an email job alert to review the skills and experiences listed in job postings. Savvy students build their skill set to include the experiences desired by potential employers.