By Miriam Salpeter
LinkedIn is the best designated professional network and the first social network job seekers should consider using to find opportunities. Yet job seekers without much workforce experience may wonder whether LinkedIn is useful for them. If you don’t already know a lot of people who are using LinkedIn, it is easy to underestimate its potential value.
Less experienced job seekers don’t flock to LinkedIn in the same numbers as other networks, such as Facebook, but joining early, learning how LinkedIn works, and connecting with professional contacts throughout your college career will help you later. You may have a work-study or part-time job, enjoy a good relationship with your supervisor, but not want to be friends on Facebook. What better way to connect and stay in touch than LinkedIn?
Making a concerted effort to grow your online network will help support your job hunting efforts today and in the future. In a transient environment, when people do not always stay in one job very long, connecting via LinkedIn helps you keep track of contacts who might serve as references or refer you to opportunities later.
LinkedIn says approximately 200,000 college students join every month, encouraging companies to use the site to recruit internship and entry-level positions. You don’t want to miss those opportunities by not having a profile.
LinkedIn even has a student portal. The LinkedIn blog explains the benefits of the portal:
• Recommends jobs based on your education and interests. You’ll be able to get email alerts and notifications on your LinkedIn home page.
• Helps LinkedIn’s network help you. Adding connections via LinkedIn is probably a lot easier than you thought. You can even import your email lists and see who is available on LinkedIn. The company suggests looking first at alumni (who may be hiring), friends, and family members. If you don’t know a lot of people using LinkedIn, tell your friends to join and then connect with them. You may be surprised by how quickly your network can grow.
• Helps you research companies via LinkedIn’s company pages. Find out what they do, types of people they hire, and what people say about them.
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