Harnessing the Power of LinkedIn

By Marina Krivonossova on October 5, 2020

As a college student, you probably have a few ideas of where to start your job search. You might be taking advantage of campus career fairs or talking to counselors at the career services center. You might be asking older friends and family members how they got their foot in the door with certain companies, and what they did to make themselves stand out. However, I can tell you from personal experience that the best thing you can do as a college student is start harnessing the power of LinkedIn as soon as possible.

What is LinkedIn? It’s a social media platform that was created with the intention of letting professionals network, help connect recruiters to job seekers, and allow individuals to get in touch with others in similar industries.

I’m not going to lie — I definitely used to think that LinkedIn was just a weird Facebook-type platform for old people to publish their resumes. I created one when I was 19-year-old, following pressure from a friend who told me a LinkedIn account was important if I wanted to find a job. But over the course of the next two years, I gathered about 100 connections and logged on maybe every other month.

LinkedIn just didn’t seem to have any benefits for me. That is, until I got active on the platform.

That’s why I’m here to show you how you can harness the power of LinkedIn like I did to achieve great results!

Copywriting and content editing are important skills to practice, as they’ll be relevant no matter what career path you choose to pursue (image via Vlada Karpovich at pexels.com)

(1) Start creating content. This means writing your own posts and articles to share with the world. Doing so provides you with the great opportunities of building your public brand, practicing your copywriting skills, making yourself stand out to recruiters and employers, and marketing yourself to a relevant audience.

(2) Take advantage of the freedom. Your LinkedIn profile is your own. Nobody controls what you can and can’t post. This means that while minimal engagement won’t get you far, the possibilities are indeed endless if you dedicate time to building up your LinkedIn presence. You’ll have the chance to not only stand out in the eyes of recruiters, but you’ll also have the opportunity to show off your LinkedIn content and contributions in a job application.

(3) Don’t abuse your newfound freedom. After all, LinkedIn is still a professional platform, and what you post online can come back to haunt you in the near or distant future. Post from your heart, don’t steer clear of sharing personal opinions, but ask yourself before every post or message sent: “Would I be okay with my future employer seeing this? Would I be okay with my family seeing this?” If the answer is a resounding “yes,” then keep on going!

(4) Connect with professionals. Are you interested in a certain industry or company? Search it on LinkedIn and connect with people who have experience with the industry/company that you have in mind. Start with a connection request, move on to engage with their content, and then reach out to them and initiate a conversation. You’d be surprised by how many professionals are open to sharing their stories, advice, and experiences with those who are interested.

Instead of leaving your house to attend networking events, LinkedIn lets you build connections from the comfort of your own home (image via Fauxels at pexels.com)

(5) Connect with fellow students. While seasoned professionals are great for giving you insight into an industry or company they have experience with, it’s no less important to connect with fellow students. Doing so gives you a sense of community and belonging on LinkedIn. You get to see what other students are doing to make themselves stand out. You get resume and networking advice from people who were in your shoes just a few months or years ago. You get to see relatable stories that remind you you’re not alone — stories that might help you better approach certain situations you’re confronted with. Just because someone doesn’t have years of experience yet, doesn’t mean they’re not a valuable connection.

(6) Engage with other people’s content. This doesn’t just mean reading what others post and liking it. This really means reading the content, interpreting it, and sharing your perspective in the comments section. It’s a great opportunity for you to get your name out there, as well as start building worthwhile relationships. After all, much of the contemporary job hunt revolves around connections.

(7) Become a LinkedIn regular. Posting once and blindly scrolling your feed every other week will not get you the results you want. Make a habit of going on LinkedIn daily, if even for 20 minutes. I know you spend time on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and other social media platforms every day. And if you’re anything like most college students, you’re doing so for hours. Now is the time to add LinkedIn to that list!

So, what are you waiting for? Join LinkedIn, set up your profile, and start networking! The best time to do so was yesterday. The second best time is now.

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