Are you a college student trying to get a job? Are you nearing degree completion and hoping to make connections with movers and shakers in your specialty? Hoping that your education will help launch your career?
If the answer is yes to any of the above, I’ve got a tip for you. Sign up for LinkedIn! This social media service is one of the best-kept secrets for job seekers on the planet. The problem is many college students don’t use it because they think it’s just for established professionals.
I’m here to tell you to believe this is a mistake. The truth is, there are all sorts of people on LinkedIn and most of them aren’t corporate executives. Moreover, many who use the site are folks you want to connect with – like recruiters desperately trying to staff open positions.
Here are five strong reasons you need to sign up for an account today.
1) It is never too early to network.
Networking is the formation of personal connections with business professionals and leaders. It’s also an important activity that you’ll want to get comfortable with if you want to achieve career success.
A little networking now, while you’re still in school, might lead to a job after graduation, an internship during the summer, or some other benefit years in the future.
As a college student, you can put a ton of information in your profile to attract recruiters. Examples include volunteer work, research studies you’ve contributed to even athletic activities you are involved with. The idea is to highlight your accomplishments and the goals you are working on for the future.
2) It will help you choose your career and your first job.
It’s not just individuals who have LinkedIn pages. Companies have them, too. Use LinkedIn as a research tool to discover what a business does and what the company culture is about. In turn, this will help you envision what working there would ‘really’ be like. This point is particularly true for creative types who require a certain type of job environment.
The working world is a great unknown for most college students, so learning as much as you can about potential jobs is wise. Examining the summaries and résumés of individual LinkedIn members will also help you learn about the world of business.
3) Companies and individuals will be able to find you.
If you meet a person in real life who is interested in connecting with you, it’s valuable to have a publically available professional presence online.
Your LinkedIn account will give interested parties a chance to find you. Job recruiters frequently trawl through LinkedIn looking for likely candidates, so having a profile will increase your chances of getting hired. Think of LinkedIn as a way to announce your availability to the professional world.
4) It will help you understand your own skills and strengths
College students can have a hard time deciding on their career path for many reasons — but your biggest difficulty might be not knowing what you are actually good at.
Signing up for LinkedIn will help you figure out what jobs you are suited for, since the site requires you to input your résumé, skills, and other facts. Filling in this information will force you to assess your own abilities, giving you a better understanding of where in the business world you might fit in.
5) LinkedIn can help you get hired
LinkedIn is used to advance careers. As a college student, your next step (after graduation) is to land a job. Besides offering rich networking opportunities, LinkedIn lists many job openings, so simply having an account will make you aware of opportunities you would otherwise never hear about.
The social media site also automatically posts available jobs on your homepage, and some positions can even be applied to on LinkedIn itself. Since just getting a foot in the door of the business world can be the hardest part for inexperienced college graduates, maximizing your chances of getting hired is important.
As valuable as LinkedIn is to college students, the majority have not signed up for the site. Look at this as your opportunity! By being one of the few who has a profile, you’ll be ahead of the competition big time.
Remember, a proactive, can-do attitude is critical to having a successful career, so get started now by creating your account today.
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