LinkedIn For College Students | Do's and Don'ts

LinkedIn for college students is a must-have for those who want to get ahead of the competition when it comes time to job hunt after graduation. Building a professional network is essential. A large number of professionals, businesses, colleagues, classmates and family use this social platform. In fact 90 out of the Fortune 100 companies say they use LinkedIn for future hires.

Following companies and joining groups on LinkedIn demonstrates you're passionate and ambitious about the future of your career. You can easily learn the whereabouts, hiring process and see what people are saying about prospective employers. You can even import email lists to grow your connections. Showing your knowledge about a company during an interview looks great and it increases your employability.

An awesome feature that LinkedIn has is the ability for people to endorse certain skills for their connections. For example, a professor could endorse you for marketing, leadership skills and professional writing. Obviously, the more the better. But beware that like any other social network, spammers are out there. Lots of organizations use LinkedIn to look for talent; 37 % of recruiters say social networks are the most important source for hiring making it a great tool for college students and graduates entering the workforce.

LinkedIn Do's

  • Create your profile sooner than later. An appropriate profile picture (a nice headshot, not you holding a red cup with your tongue out) helps recruiters to see you as human rather than just a hyperlink. Don't be afraid of looking too young.
  • The more details the better. The coursework and extracurricular section of your profile should paint a clear picture of your education, goals, experiences and aspirations. Include projects you've worked on, writing samples, hours you've had at an internship, or exactly how many students you have tutored.
  • Ask for endorsements. Only reach out to professors, advisors, or other professionals that you personally know. They know you best and will be able to really pinpoint your true strong skill sets.
  • Connect with industry leaders. Don't be intimidated by a high professional standing. Rather than simply inviting them to connect, engage them with a question or ask  for their advice on a relevant topic. They already know why you're there- to make steps toward employment. By demonstrating your interest, there's a good chance you'll come to their mind when a position opens. Commenting on industry specific articles is another good way to show your drive.

LinkedIn Don'ts

  • Never be aggressive or pushy with invites to connect. Professional networking is about mutual self-interest, both parties should gain something from the connection. Wait a full day before connecting with someone that you just met or heard speak. Connecting with them ten minutes after you've met is not a good look, and they are less likely to remember you and view your profile.
  • Don't rely too heavily on job postings. LinkedIn has over 225 million users and organizations most likely already have candidates for highly coveted job openings. Instead, use it as a source to build relationships with high-ups that will recommend you throughout the hiring process.
  • Don't be shy. Join groups and follow companies that interest you! Not only does this expand your searchable network, you'll gain good talking points for interviews.

 Check out Global Experiences' website for more insight!

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