Yes, You Need a LinkedIn Account!

LinkedInWith so many social networks to traverse today, why is it important for college students to be on yet another site? There are many benefits to being active on LinkedIn, but the most basic reason – to get a job and move out of your parent’s house! You do want to move out of your parent’s house, right?

Ok, let’s get started then.

Just as with the other social channels you have subscribed to, you will be required to fill out your personal profile. However, on this network, you want to be as honest, thorough and as complete as possible. Give as much information about your education, work experience, certifications, awards, etc. as you can muster up. A recently updated resume can be of great assistance during this process.

Here is a good resource to get started on LinkedIn: Tips to Help You Maximize Your Professional Profile

Speaking of an updated resume, you have one, right? Good, because you’ll want to upload that into LinkedIn for companies searching for prospective interns and employees. This will also be very helpful while you apply for all those job openings you discover!

Now that you have your profile and resume completed, it’s time to connect with the many professionals you already know. There are a couple of methods to go about finding these people. The easiest way is to allow LinkedIn to search your email contacts. Another way is to search for specific people manually. This may be necessary if you do not have everyone’s email stored in your contacts. You may also use a combination of both methods to connect with professionals presently in your life.

Student You may be asking yourself, “Where can I find professionals to connect with when I haven’t emerged into the workforce yet?” Don’t worry, here are few ideas to begin your search:

  • Classmates
  • Parents of your friends
  • Friends of your parents (that you also know)
  • Coaches, past and present
  • Teachers and Professors
  • Supervisors from Non-Profits where you have volunteered
  • Members of organizations in which you are involved, i.e. Churches, clubs, etc.
  • Past employers from high school jobs, summer jobs or part-time college positions

Now that you’ve started to build your network, you’re probably wondering, “What benefits does LinkedIn have to offer me?”

Here’s a list of some ways college students can use LinkedIn to market themselves for internships, employment, partnerships or lead opportunities:

  • Follow companies that you are interested in to keep up-to-date with the latest news, and more importantly – position openings
  • Follow specific leaders in your industry to listen and learn from them
  • Be found by companies searching for people with your education, experience and knowledge
  • If you plan on becoming an entrepreneur, LinkedIn is in a very valuable lead generation tool
  • Get referrals from connections you have worked with or volunteered with
  • Post updates to your page of interesting articles, presentations, infographics, etc. to be seen by your network daily
  • Comment on others’ posts to create conversations
  • Join industry related groups to stay informed on the latest trends
  • If you write a blog, include a link to it in your profile to showcase your knowledge
  • Continue to grow your professional network with the world outside of your present circles – you never know what the future holds for you!

These are just a few good reasons why college students should join LinkedIn sooner rather than later. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for using LinkedIn, please add them by commenting below.

Therese MatthysTherese Matthys  @ThereseMatthys

Therese has more than 10 years of experience in marketing. She co-founded two non-profit organizations, implementing many diverse marketing approaches. She is also a HootSuite Certified Professional providing social media marketing strategies and coaching for businesses and individuals to navigate through this digital world we are living in.

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FAQ: I’m not a blogger, how can I showcase my experience online?

Students often ask me how they can showcase themselves or their experience online without blogging. This is a great question, especially for those who aren’t writers, or perhaps don’t have the time and resources to sustain a blog. There are several great online tools out there that can help you represent yourself online without blogging, or even as a compliment to your blog if you have one. Here are a few of the more creative and unique ways to represent yourself outside of your traditional social media channels:

Vizify

I stumbled across this awesome site after conversing with @adelynlee on Twitter. She has a great profile set up to compliment her online presence.

Vizify

About.me

This free and easy to use site allows you to create a short summary of yourself and provide links to your other social media profiles.

About.me

Zerply

Similar to the above site, Zerply creates a page that features information about you. “Zerply is a simple professional network focusing on your experience and talent while presenting you in the best possible way.”

Zerply

ViewYou

“We create stunning video introductions and profiles for motivated job seekers looking to standout in today’s crowded job market.” If you’re looking for a truly untapped and unique way to profile yourself, ViewYou is it!

ViewYou

Pathbrite

Pathbrite is a brilliant site that creates an online and visual portfolio of whatever content you choose to include.

Pathbrite

Whether you use one of the above or one of the many other platforms created to help you showcase yourself online, you’re sure to make an impression, even if you don’t have a blog.

Do you use another platform to showcase yourself? Tell me about it in the comments!