You've probably heard of LinkedIn, the "Facebook for professionals" with over 200 million users. We've assembled a list of reasons of why it's a great idea for students to start using LinkedIn while still attending college.
Connecting with professionals - At its core, LinkedIn provides professionals an opportunity to connect with each other. While students might say "add me on Facebook", professionals will ask that you add them on LinkedIn. This way, when an executive looks at your social media presence, they don't see party pictures, but a polished profile with skills and work history.
Sharing ideas and discussion - Attending a college like Whitman is about exploring your passions, and LinkedIn has over a million groups dedicated to sharing thoughts about every topic you can think of. They provide an excellent opportunity to connect with professionals and enthusiasts who share your interests, which can broaden your network and future plans.
LinkedIn By The Numbers
- 94% of companies use social networks or social media for recruiting.
- Of those, 96% use LinkedIn to search for candidates
- 78% of recruiters have hired through a social network
- These statistics and many more in Jobvite's 2013 Social Recruiting Survey:
Exploring your career options - There are so many different paths to take with your career, and LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to browse the paths of other professionals. To start, you can try using Whitman's University Page to browse the careers of thousands of alumni. Viewing a profile can give you valuable insight into the kinds of skills and experiences that are used in different occupations.
Networking - Linked in is a professional social network. If you have more questions about someone's profile, contact them with questions and/or ask for an informational interview. Exchange messages with folks who are in the same LinkedIn group. Many people love to share their experiences and advice with young professionals who want to learn about the important skills and experiences relevant to their career path.
Researching organizations - Over 1 million organizations have public profiles on LinkedIn, which gives you an opportunity to learn more about their company culture, connect with employees, and apply for job openings.
Increasing your visibility - LinkedIn is a huge network, and once you have registered and fully completed your profile, you have made yourself visible to professionals and organizations around the world. The overwhelming majority of recruiters now use social media (and LinkedIn especially) to scout for potential employees. This trend is only increasing, with more hiring occurring in-network than on public job boards.
Student Resources - LinkedIn has a series of helpful documents and videos geared towards introducing students to LinkedIn.