Like most students who are active on social networks, you will have come across LinkedIn – a powerful tool that can help you make that all-important transition from student to professional. As a current student you’ve probably been encouraged by parents, classmates, or lecturers to create a LinkedIn account, but may not be aware of the benefits. You may have created a profile, added a few personal details and forgotten it, either through lack of success, or through failing to see the point at all.
Many spend time updating their CV, but neglect the wonders of LinkedIn as they are unsure how it will get them a job. A LinkedIn account is more impressive to an employer as it showcases your personality and everything else you do in your life that relates to work. The job market is currently as competitive as ever, and with online recruitment rising, now is the time to focus on your personal branding. We look deeper into why it is important that students have a LinkedIn account whilst still at University.
If you are not on there, in my humble opinion, you don’t “exist”.
It’s not uncommon for an employer to do an online search on an individual before inviting them for an interview or offering a job. Employers want to check applicant’s professionalism online as their reputation can be affected by the way their employees behave. LinkedIn profiles rank well in search engines. Hopefully your LinkedIn profile will be the first thing they see before that embarrassing picture of you on Facebook (it might be worth getting rid of that, by the way). It’s important that you always think about how you are representing yourself online.
Timothy Hughes, Social Selling Evangelist, says ‘LinkedIn is a Business Social Network used by over 300 Million individuals worldwide. If you are not on there, in my humble opinion you don’t “exist”. Personal branding is key for all professionals. It is now a strand of the business acumen people expect.’
You care about being professional
An up-to-date LinkedIn profile makes it clear to recruiters that you take yourself and the profession seriously, whilst showing your passion for the industry. A LinkedIn account allows you to connect with industry experts that post about major news and tips to succeed in their field. Therefore it’s a great platform to expand your knowledge whilst adding powerful people to your network.
You can also post things yourself: If you were especially proud of a piece of work you had done, you could publish it to LinkedIn and the right person could come across it, leading to your dream job. Lexie Newnham works as an internal recruiter at MVF, the UK’s Fastest Growing Tech Company. She says,
‘An up-to-date LinkedIn shows that a person cares about how they come across professionally before they have even graduated, which is a good sign. For us, as a tech company, an understanding of the digital world is key, so applying or making contact via LinkedIn would never count as a negative.’
Keep up-to-date with your industry
LinkedIn is great to research your chosen career and learn about the popular topics in your sector. Keeping up to date with industry news will make you appear more impressive in interviews. You can also get advice from industry experts and extend your networks with advanced searches to find influential people in your industry.
Karen Yankovich, Social Media Brand Strategist and LinkedIn Evangelist said,
‘Students should get recommendations from key professors, connect with influencers in their desired industry, and engage with them as they learn. They should also participate in groups that will establish them as an expert in what they’re learning. Then, when they graduate and are in the market for a job, they have a robust profile with years of recommendations and connections with the most powerful players in their industry.
Employers appreciate a LinkedIn profile that has been worked on since University because they’re seeing years of recommendations, not just a couple that they dug up from the past week. They see history for a demographic that thinks they have no work history.’
It is important to have a LinkedIn account at University as it helps you to get the right connections, develop your knowledge, keep up-to-date with industry news and is a great medium for publishing your work to get the right people to notice you. For those who take their career seriously, a LinkedIn account is definitely worth having.
Learn how to create the perfect student profile.