Spring Semester is winding down, some of us have decided on our summer plans while some of us are still waiting to hear back. You may have come across LinkedIn as a potential source of jobs and wondered how it can help you. It’s just a digital version of your resume, right?
At it’s core, that is true, but it doesn’t paint the full picture. LinkedIn is a digital copy of your resume, but can be so much more. A LinkedIn profile is a way to brand yourself in a more dynamic way than a black and white 8.5×11” sheet of paper will ever be able to. You can upload a professional picture, write articles that the public can see, and there’s no limit to how you describe yourself, though you should try to be concise.
However, the real magic of LinkedIn is in recruiting. According to the Career Center, over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to evaluate potential applicants. That means that if you’re not on there, you’re discounting yourself from a world of possibilities. Here are three main advantages of using LinkedIn:
- Getting recruited:
You might not know it at the time, but LinkedIn is the single best traditional way to get a job. A recruiter can contact you, you can directly apply for a job, and you can reach out to recruiters yourself. Imagine you want to work at X Company. You don’t know anyone there, but you can do a quick LinkedIn search and see that one of your connections works there. Now you’re one step closer to getting in contact with that company.
- Searching for Alumni:
A lesser known feature of LinkedIn is the alumni search feature. If you type your university’s name, you will be brought to a page that allows you to sort alumni on LinkedIn based on work location, field, company, and other metrics you might want to use to find alumni in positions you might want to be in a few years from now. It’s a great way to human-ify organizations which can seem like black holes you drop your resume into.
- Connecting with Potential Mentors
With over 467 Million professionals on LinkedIn, you might wonder how you can harness this power to help you learn. Something that’s worked for me in the past has been sending connection requests (with short notes about how we are related) to people I aspire to be like. Then, I can ask to set up a coffee chat for an informational interview. This is extremely helpful when you’re exploring different career paths and trying to navigate which you think would be best for you