Morning lectures, mid-day movies, canteen masti and last-minute mugging. There’s almost no time to do anything worthwhile during those years of college, right? Until reality strikes in the last semester and you have to find yourself a job. Fast.
But if you’re lucky, you have found this article pretty early in your college life and are going to beat all your classmates to securing a nice job in the final year. Here’s how using LinkedIn for only 15 minutes a day will change your professional (and social) life.
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1: Building Your CV
As a college-going student, you likely have NO IDEA how to craft a CV that can impress potential employers and may go to Google for help. Instead of spending countless hours on the internet scouring through “best CV” search results, downloading CV templates and thinking about what should (and should not) go on your CV, just create a LinkedIn account! Your LinkedIn profile is nothing but your online resume. It has various elements that you can fill up and they will appear on your profile page in the order of importance. After that, it’s just a matter of duplicating the elements for your paper CV!
2: Building a Network
Just like you “friend” people on Facebook and “follow” people on Instagram and Twitter, you “connect” with people on LinkedIn. Networking is one of the main purposes of the social network. According to a report by ABC News, 80% of jobs today are landed through networking. Networking is hugely beneficial in the short run as well as the long run. So, who do you connect with? Friends and peers who can endorse you for your skills and introduce you to other people; teachers who can write glowing recommendations on your profile and guide you in your career; alumni who can give you helpful career advice and set up interviews for you at their workplace; other professionals in your preferred industry who can guide you on career decisions and how to land your dream job; and influencers whose motivational and informative posts will help you stay abreast of the latest developments, motivate you in your career and help you form your own professional opinions.
3: Researching and Learning
If you are unsure about what career path to take, LinkedIn can be your savior. Jot down the avenues you are interested in and actively start researching on them. Request to join groups of those industries, and follow discussions there. Explore the profiles of other users in those industries to understand how they got specific jobs – what courses did they take and from where? What previous jobs did they do? Look out for in-demand skills – is there a scarcity of skills in the market that you can fill? Is there a new type of job role becoming popular? LinkedIn is a great research tool in this capacity. You can also learn from the platform – new ideas and developments in your industry, consumer insights and patterns (market research) for your big entrepreneurial idea, and so on.
4: Following Influencers, Groups, and Companies
Building and nurturing an extensive network takes years but you have to begin somewhere. It helps if you start early on in your college life and follow influencers, groups and companies in your preferred sector (or sectors). Follow the posts of various influencers in order to gain knowledge about ideas, companies, solutions, philosophies, and individuals. The knowledge you acquire from LinkedIn influencers will also mould your personality and help you become a better professional. You can also try connecting with the influencers. Follow pages of your dream companies to know of the available vacancies and to keep abreast of the latest company activities – this information can help you in your eventual interview with the company. Finally, follow industry groups and read the discussions that take place in them not only to expand your knowledge in the field but also to connect with other influential or like-minded people. Groups have a vast number of professionals who are experts in the field you are pursuing providing you with tremendous opportunity to explore your interest and foster conversations with other people, influencers and hiring managers!
5: Getting Recommendations
Another great feature of LinkedIn is that you can get people to write recommendations for you (which will appear on your profile only if you approve them). Needless to say, more the recommendations on your profile, higher the chances of attracting a recruiter’s attention. So, try getting as many recommendations as you can from your teachers, past employers, seniors, etc.
6: Displaying All Your Accomplishments
LinkedIn is a great pedestal on which you can share your accomplishments. Have you written an original paper or been the leader of a group project? Did you participate in an inter-college or inter-country contest? Have you won a prize due to excellent performance in a subject? LinkedIn allows you to easily add and display your accomplishments on your profile demonstrating to recruiters exactly what you bring to the table. Adding your accomplishments is a starting point to creating your own personal brand on the platform. If you’re wondering if you will ever have anything to put in that section, don’t worry. Throughout your time in college, you will produce a considerable amount of original content that you can display as part of your portfolio.
7: Learning Skills
LinkedIn Learning allows you to take up short, professional courses to enhance your learning in the field you like. The portal also recommends courses for you based on the skills you’re interested to learn. This is a great way to learn the skills necessary to land a certain job. Once you clear a course, you can add it to your profile so that you look like a worthy candidate to potential employers. LinkedIn Learning is free for a 1-month trial period after which you have to pay a certain monthly fee.
8: Getting Career Advice
LinkedIn has rolled out a new feature called Career Advice where you can get career advice from an online mentoring service. After answering a short survey about your goals and needs, LinkedIn will recommend mentors that will best suit your needs. To access this new feature.
9: Getting Internships, Placements, and Jobs
LinkedIn also helps to secure internships, placements, and jobs by bridging the gap between employers and potential employees. Through the Jobs tab, you can find internships and jobs anywhere in the world. This is another great way to research about the different jobs you can undertake after graduation and the type of skills required to do those jobs. Accordingly, you can learn those skills and apply when the time is right.
10: Getting Introductions
One of the best things about LinkedIn is that everyone wants to increase their connections and build a bigger network in order to climb the career ladder. So, you can request to connect with anyone as everyone’s on the platform for professional reasons only. In order to contact people outside your immediate network of connections, LinkedIn allows you to ask a mutual connection to introduce you two by forwarding an introduction request from your behalf to them. To contact another user with the LinkedIn Introductions feature, you must be away from the user by the second or third degree.
11: Letting Employers Find You
In an increasingly homogenous employee market, it pays to stand out from the crowd. If you consistently update your profile, post statuses, share articles, and write blog posts, you are bound to get noticed more by potential employers who will remember you and inform you if any position opens up in their company. Today, a large number of organizations look for talented candidates on LinkedIn.
All you have to invest is 15 minutes a day, to reap rewards of a lifetime. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now!