In the relatively short time it has existed, the business social media website LinkedIn has become an invaluable way for business professionals to network, search for jobs, and promote their careers. It has become so popular even during these trying times that people come and engage with other people in this kind of community.
For those on the cusp of joining the workforce - such as university students - signing up for LinkedIn is a great idea. Here, students get to know students and professional people in the field.
However, LinkedIn can be intimidating and confusing at first, especially for those who have little experience. If you are a university student, here are five tips that will help you use LinkedIn effectively.
1. Network, network,
Building a strong network is key for anyone who wants to advance their career -- but it might be even more important for university students. At your age, you probably have minimal experience and few connections. Networking is the strongest option to anyone seeking opportunities even before finishing university.
Use LinkedIn to reach out to professionals in industries and at companies you're interested in. While you might not have too much to offer in the way of skills and credentials, forming connections is still possible. Your proactive approach will impress some of them. Add your fellow students as well, since they'll be joining the workforce soon too.
2. Join groups
On LinkedIn, groups are formed for members of organisations, companies, universities and even industries. Groups are a pathway to networking. Joining as many groups as you can will expose you to other users and help you find good people to form connections with. Put your name out in the open by participating in group discussions.
Groups are an outlet for you to get to know people and them knowing you. Through LinkedIn Groups, you can expose yourself in a world where students and professionals collide with one another. Who knows, maybe when you’re done with your studies, somebody will take an interest and hire you in.
3. Be professional
One of the biggest adjustments between university and business life is learning to act like a professional. Begin your transformation by putting together a LinkedIn profile that looks like it could've been created by a seasoned corporate veteran. Upload a quality headshot for your photo, fill out each section of your profile thoroughly, and make sure your account is free of spelling and grammatical errors. A sloppy, mistake-filled profile will be a huge red flag to other LinkedIn users.
One of the best things about being on LinkedIn is how much valuable information you have free access to. You can research companies, jobs, potential bosses, and even entire industries -- all through your LinkedIn account. Knowing how to add your CV to Linkedin can boost your chances of getting employed once you graduate.
Investigating company pages will give you a good idea of what it would be like to work there, helping you decide if you want to apply. If you're simply trying to choose a career, take a look at some of the businesses in the industries you're interested in. Studying other people's career paths by looking at individual profile pages can also help.
5. Add as much to your
profile as you can
Most university students don’t have loads to put on their CV. There's not too much you can do about this, so don't shortchange yourself by leaving information that makes you look good off of your LinkedIn account. That means adding club memberships, associations, and other university activities to your profile. Businesses value young employees who are proactive and possess leadership abilities, so the more organisations you've been a part of, the better. Add academic honors, which demonstrate intelligence and diligence, too, and list all your skills.
Just like the business world as a whole, LinkedIn can be confusing and hard to understand at first. But, don't let that keep you away. LinkedIn is too valuable of a tool for career advancement to ignore, especially for young people who need all the help they can get to break into the business world. If you're at university, follow the five simple steps described above to use LinkedIn effectively.