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The Art of LinkedIn for Colleges and their Students

Posted by Rachael Gamlin on Sep 30, 2014 9:18:58 AM

Screen_Shot_2014-09-30_at_9.13.42_AMBy now, you’re probably tired of hearing about the importance of LinkedIn. Believe me, we students are too. But the hard truth is that LinkedIn is the professional version of Facebook and everyone knows how ingrained Facebook is into everyday life. It’s getting to the point where if you don’t have a LinkedIn, it makes breaking into a professional field much more difficult.

After urging by my professors, I decided to take a chance on LinkedIn, thinking as a junior in college, I’d be ahead of the game. I was so wrong. High school students are even on LinkedIn now, with lovingly designed profiles. I’ve finally started to grasp the importance of this site. It really is a virtual resume for anyone to see.

It is crucial to stress to students the importance of this website. A recruiter is guaranteed to look at social media before hiring an employee. If there are two students with equal qualifications, but one has an appealing LinkedIn page and the other doesn’t have a page at all, chances are the former will receive the job. However, filling out all of the LinkedIn fields can be a confusing and daunting task. It may help students to offer programs like:

  • Free LinkedIn workshops

  • Sections on it during professional development classes

  • Allow students to subscribe to weekly emails that contain links to LinkedIn videos and articles that provide students with tips for navigating the site.

Ultimately, students are a reflection of the university they attend, so their LinkedIn pages also mirror the professionality of their higher education institution.

But your students aren’t the only ones who need to have up-to-date LinkedIn pages. As a university, your students are looking towards your profile from the time they start searching for the perfect college to the time they graduate. Many potential students use university LinkedIn pages to better understand what kind of programs and majors are offered, and the quality of these curriculums. Not only that, but students like to look up their professors’ credentials such as educational background and teaching experience before taking classes with them. Encouraging your faculty to maintain their LinkedIn pages would also be beneficial for your higher ed institution.

Finally, LinkedIn is great for alumni to connect with their alma mater and current students. They can endorse their university and provide vital networking opportunities, job offers and internships to students. The more connected alumni feel towards their school, the more likely they’ll be to help current students and provide donor money.

Making sure your LinkedIn page is professional and updated can be a daunting task, especially when yours sets the example for thousands of students, but it is necessary to stay afloat in the competitive higher education game. With a few hours of work and attention, your LinkedIn can look pro.  Oh, one last side note: if you’re considering looking at other people’s accounts right when you make a LinkedIn account, just know that unless you change your account settings, those people will know you’ve been looking at their profiles. I speak from experience when I say keep the cyber creepin’ for personal uses to Facebook and Twitter. But for professional uses, like networking, creep away!

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