The key to a successful job or internship search is good strategy. This includes a couple of different components, but one piece of your strategy should include LinkedIn. Many students don’t think they need to have a presence on LinkedIn until they start their job or even later. This is completely false. LinkedIn is a professional social network that can help students make informed decisions about their majors and their careers.
For students who are looking for a job, internship, or who want to build a professional presence, the value it brings is truly amazing.
Here are some ways to start searching smarter with LinkedIn:
Search For Opportunities:
As a student, you have access to the Student Jobs Portal on http://students.linkedin.com/ where over 50,000 jobs and internships are posted specifically for students and recent graduates. The portal allows you to filter your search by job function, location, and company in order to see all of the available opportunities.
Network With Alumni:
Alumni are a great resource for students because they can give insight and advice about their own career paths as well as the industry and company in which they work. You can use the Alumni Tool (http://linkedin.alumni.com ) to search for graduates of your university and filter based on what they studied, where they work, where they live, and what they do. My advice is to use this method to seek out a handful of people, send them a message asking for an informational interview, and build a relationship from there.
Build Your Professional Brand:
Don’t forget to make sure that your profile is a clear representation of you who you are! It is not just your resume, it is a story about your experiences from your first job as a babysitter and beyond. What is great about LinkedIn profiles is the flexibility and variety of sections upon which you can expand. Do you volunteer? Are you involved in clubs? Do you have a portfolio of your work? There is room for all of this on your profile. You can also embed videos, pictures, and SlideShare presentations as a great way to display all of your hard work. The College Profile Checklist and other tips on http://university.linkedin.com is a great place to start!
If you would like to learn more about LinkedIn, the Career Center holds walk-in hours in which you can get your profile reviewed. Keep an eye out for LinkedIn workshops or if you would like to hold one for your student organization send me an email. I work for LinkedIn as a Campus InBassador helping students and organizations utilize LinkedIn more effectively.