This article will focus on whom to follow and connect with on LinkedIn while you’re in college.
The little bit of energy that you put into this action can reap tremendous benefits in the long run.
So, let’s look at whom you should be following:
- Hiring managers
- Current supervisor & professors
- People who inspire you to dream
If you have any inkling whatsoever about what industry you want to find yourself in after college you certainly want to get on the list of a good recruiter or two. Don’t focus on general recruiters, but search for recruiters who are looking for people in your industry and who are hungry to see you succeed out of college.
This may even pay off as an internship while you’re still in school. Obviously, a paid internship would be fantastic, but even if it’s not you’ll gain valuable industry experience before you graduate.
Use recruiters (as opposed to hiring managers) if you only know the general industry you want to be in. If you also know the company you want to work for you could also connect with hiring managers from that company.
If you know the company (or maybe a select few), you’ll want to connect with hiring managers inside that company.
Be sure to introduce yourself when asking them to connect so there is a better chance of their accepting. The last thing you want is to send a forgettable default invite which they don’t even pay attention to.
After your introduction, you can begin to like and comment on articles which they are also paying attention to.
Current supervisor & professors
Whereas the first two groups on this list are primarily for future payoff networking possibilities, this group is for your current relations while in college.
One trick I learned in college was that if you sat in the first row and asked at least one question during each class the professor would not give you less than a C. Now, of course, your mileage may vary with this trick, but it doesn’t hurt to have as many touch points as possible with people who have the ability to make or break your college career.
Building those relationships early in your college career will help you through the tough times. And there will be tough times.
People who inspire you to dream
Speaking of tough times, by keeping a few people on your connection list who inspire you to dream big and take big risks you’ll find your focus and be able to bounce back.
By watching, reading and listening to these folks, you may even find interesting new career possibilities.
You should always keep friends on your list because they can provide you with potentially valuable connections both in and after college.
During a recent move, a friend from one of my first jobs told me his family had a business in the city I was planning on moving to. He said that if I was looking for work that he could get me in touch with his family for a potential role. What a friend! I hadn’t worked with the guy in 12 years, but he still offered to help.
Jason Weed is married and has three highly energized kiddos.
Since 1998, most of his career has been spent working for Christian non-profits, helping them communicate clearly to, and creating better experiences for, their customers in the digital space.
Jason earned his BS (Computer Science) and MSE (Software Engineering) from a regionally accredited state university. He’s also earned certificates in the fields of user experience, project management and information assurance.
In his off time, Jason enjoys playing disc golf, playing games and hiking outdoors with his family.