As a college student, it’s likely that you are very familiar with social media in all its various forms – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and more. You might be a little less familiar with the social media platform called LinkedIn. Just as Facebook provides the ability to manage your social network, LinkedIn provides the opportunity to build your professional network - which will have lifelong value.
Maybe your professors or classmates have encouraged you to create a LinkedIn profile, which can be an asset in helping you find a job. Through LinkedIn, you can connect with your classmates, prior colleagues or employers, and even reach out to potential future employers to maintain and develop business relationships. You can follow companies you are interested in to find open positions and you can see what skills their other current employees have to determine if that company is a good fit for you. So if you haven’t yet created a profile, or haven’t recently updated yours, here are a few reason why you should!
Help Employers Find YOU
Research has shown that a large percentage of new hires were not actively looking or applying for jobs in the last couple of months when they accepted their new job. This shows that these individuals landed their job through recruiters or were referred by someone within their social network, like a friend or family member. Personal referrals are one of the best ways to land a new job because someone is vouching for you - a huge advantage if the hiring manager trusts that person’s opinion.
No matter how large your personal network is, though, there are inevitably many companies you may want to work for where you don’t have any personal connections. Even if you are not actively looking for a job, that doesn’t mean that companies and recruiters aren’t looking for potential employees like you. A survey conducted by Bullhorn discovered that 98.2% of recruiters said they used some sort of social media for recruiting. And 97.3% said they used LinkedIn as a recruiting tool. By maintaining your profile, you make yourself available to all of these recruiters who are actively using the platform to find job candidates just like you.
Make Your Social Media Presence More Professional
Another reason to have a LinkedIn profile is to help make your social media presence more professional. When you are applying for a job the recruiter or hiring manager will most likely search your name on Google. In 2014, The Huffington Post posted that 80 percent of employers Google job seekers before inviting them into an interview. If you have a LinkedIn profile, this result will show up as well as opposed to just a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profile. Either way, you should always make an effort to keep all your social media accounts looking professional if the recruiter does decide to go check out your other social media accounts. Not that there is anything wrong with your Facebook page...but better safe than sorry! A survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that 51% of employers who research job candidates on social media said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire that person.
Create Lasting Professional Contacts
Hopefully you have already landed your dream job in your chosen field! Even if you have, it is important to regularly maintain your LinkedIn profile. Studies have show that job seekers who landed a job will delete their account. This is a mistake! You never know what will happen in the future. You can use this platform to showcase any promotions, accomplishments, and keep in touch with former classmates, colleagues, college professors, and employers. It is also important to continue to make professional connections. For example, if you attend a job fair or industry event and meet people that you would like to stay in contact with, it is customary to connect on LinkedIn. You can keep up to date with companies you are interested in to see if there are any job openings and you can also search employees that work the company to see if you have any mutual connections. It is also okay to contact these individuals and develop more connections within that company. The professional network you begin building now will pay off for years to come.
As you can see creating a LinkedIn account can be a very important first step in building your professional social network. As a college student, LinkedIn can give you an advantage now toward the career you want, and give you a leg up over the competition!