While Facebook is the dominant personal social media platform, let’s take a moment to see 6 reasons why having a LinkedIn presence can be good for you, the college student.

  1. LinkedIn is all about networking (aka, relationship building)
  2. LinkedIn shows your professional side
  3. LinkedIn lets you join groups
  4. LinkedIn allows you to show your most relevant work
  5. LinkedIn shows you relevant articles
  6. LinkedIn gives you the ability to look for internships and jobs

LinkedIn is all about networking (aka, relationship building)

When you’re looking for your next, or possibly first, job while in college, having an extensive network can be a huge benefit.

With a new interface for messaging LinkedIn is pushing more conversations and messaging among its users. You can use this to your advantage by always maintaining a professional attitude in reaching out to potential recruiters and hiring managers.

This point is especially true if you’re in a new city, state or even country.

LinkedIn shows your professional side

LinkedIn is not the place to crack jokes or to be belligerent. Many users don’t ever use the background photo, and by using one you’ll already be surpassing others who’ll not realize they can use it to their advantage.

Good uses of the background photo:

  • The city skyline of the location you want a job
  • Fraternity, sorority or other organizations’ symbols
  • Name of a business that you started or currently run on the side

Poor uses of the background photo:

  • You doing anything silly or immature (i.e., photos you may have posted on Facebook)

The other photo you’ll want to change is the default profile image of yourself. Find or have a friend take one that is up close and shows off your great smile. People love personable and “warm” photos. The same rules apply as above, nothing silly or ridiculous–unless you’re looking for that clown job at the state fair.

Another LinkedIn pro tip includes customizing the URL (aka web link) that people can use to get to your profile. If you don’t customize the link it might look something like this – https://www.linkedin.com/in/ACoAA-AFSj1gB_dfgEEwvC9HGpo/.

If you decide to customize your LinkedIn URL it can look something like this – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonweed.

LinkedIn lets you join groups

By joining groups that are related to your interests, you can listen in on conversations from professionals who’ve been in the industry for awhile. Of course, everything should be taken with a grain of salt because you don’t know exactly who these folks are or what their background is, but most times advice here can be very advantageous.

Take what you can from these conversations and grow in stature and wisdom!

LinkedIn allows you to show your most relevant work

Just like your resume, you should be tailoring your LinkedIn profile for the job you’re hunting down.

Because you’re in college you may not have much experience to fill in the Experience section, but you should be able to include one item here so it’s not completely empty.

Use the Education section to let people know how you fared with grades or special accomplishments.  You can also include your current college activities and societies that you’re a part of. These can be a great way to start a conversation with a hiring manager or recruiter. Pro tip: be sure to check out your interviewer’s profile to find commonalities to break the ice in your first conversation.

Use the Volunteer Experience section to showcase how you’ve helped others, whether it was a non-profit, church or community group.

Be sure to use the Featured Skills & Endorsements section by “salting the pot” as they say. Once a few others see what your skillset involves you’ll more than likely get others to agree and they’ll endorse you as well.

By tailoring your profile, recruiters and hiring managers can see what you have to offer and what you think is relevant to your most important job skills.

LinkedIn shows you relevant articles

Once your network has expanded you’ll begin to see what others are reading, liking and commenting on. This allows you to read up on the latest and greatest ideas in your field.

It also allows you to comment on those articles, which is great because you can interact with the author as well as others who read the article and who share your interests. Again, this is a great way to grow your network of relationships.

LinkedIn gives you the ability to look for internships and jobs

By using LinkedIn’s job search feature you can narrow your results by job title, keyword, company, city, state or even postal code if you really want to narrow it down.

This LinkedIn feature begins to give you even further networking opportunities. Once you’ve found hiring managers or recruiters in the field and location you’re interested in, begin to ask them to coffee.

It’s in these little relationship-building opportunities that you’ll begin to understand the job market more than your fellow college students. By taking the time to ask hiring managers questions about job details, corporate culture, community needs or benefits, you’ll have a step up when you graduate.

By following through in these coffee meetings you may even find yourself an internship or job while in or just out of college.

Final thoughts

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool if you take advantage of it.

So, be sure to create your LinkedIn account, setup your profile and begin looking for opportunities to connect with others.