Whether you’re an underclassmen looking for internships, a soon-to-be graduate starting your job search, or a seasoned professional looking for a career transition, it’s always a good idea to maintain a strong presence on LinkedIn. As the world’s leading professional social media network, there are over 414 million users across 200 countries and territories that use the platform to connect with others, brand themselves, and most importantly, find jobs.
As the end of the semester approaches, many students are sprucing up their resumes and cover letters to begin applying to internships and jobs. But what students should also begin to do, is to create or expand upon an existing LinkedIn profile. The reason? In today’s day and age, having a digital presence is one of the most important criteria hiring managers seek when considering employees.
Forbes states that young professionals should have LinkedIn profiles because of its invaluable resources, search-ability through Google, efficiency in managing your network and connections, and the ability to remain current. SUNY Oneonta’s Career Services page calls LinkedIn an “interactive business card.” The social media site is an easy way to store all the information from your resume and cover letter combined, with the added ability to include additional skills, links to publications, volunteer involvement and other marketable qualities that employers look for. There are currently over 40 million students and recent grads on LinkedIn showcasing their skills and seeking employment.
But the question is, are you using LinkedIn to the fullest potential? As a SUNY student or alumni, there are so many capabilities that LinkedIn has to offer that many users are unaware of. Connecting via your educational roots is one of the best ways to get in touch with with current students and alumni around the world.
On your personal LinkedIn profile, always make sure to list which academic institutions you have attended during your academic career. In addition, it may be a good idea to add the degree you are pursuing or completed, your GPA, and any career relevant classes you may have taken. By adding this to your profile, you will be automatically be connected to thousands of other students and alumni that have attended your university. If you are a student or graduate of any SUNY institution, be sure to list The State University of New York on your profile and connect with our 3 million graduates and over 459,000 students currently enrolled from all 64 statewide campuses.
LinkedIn has a special section for higher education called LinkedIn for Education, or “Youniversity.” This feature provides useful links about college rankings, students and alumni, and employment opportunities. Almost all public and private universities have profiles listed under this Education tab, and if you choose to follow a university you will receive status updates from them in your feed. Each University Education page has information on notable alumni, current students, where students and alumni are working, and recommendations about the institution. The State University of New York recently launched its own Education page in an attempt to connect all alumni from our combined 64 campuses. The tab Students and Alumni will show a breakdown of where the current network of alumni live, what companies they are employed at, and how you are personally connected to them.
When looking up a specific job position or company on LinkedIn, the platform will automatically tell if and how many alumni from your university have been hired there. In addition, LinkedIn also allows you to specifically see a list of those alumni. You’ll be surprised to discover a lot of 2nd degree connections may work at your dream company. If some of the employees do happen to be 2nd degree connections to you, don’t be afraid to ask your linking connection to introduce you. LinkedIn enables a feature called “Get Introduced,” which will allow your mutual connection to send a message to bridge communicate with you and this person. Sometimes, just coming from the same university is enough to increase your chances of employment at your dream job!
While LinkedIn is certainly an invaluable resource for employment, it is also a great place to connect you to fellow students and alumni. Check out SUNY on LinkedIn for Education to get the most out of your professional, and academic, social media experience.
Julia is a student assistant in the SUNY Office of New Media. She is an undergraduate student at the University at Albany pursuing a double major in Communications and Business Administration with a concentration in marketing.