LinkedIn: Where social meets professional

By Ashley Miller

Writer

Job searching is never fun, particularly in this economic climate. With the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania up to 8.9 percent according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we college students need to search more than ever.

LinkedIn is one networking site that may help college students break into the work world. While other popular career sites including Monster, Careerbuilder and Careerlink each boast their own benefits, LinkedIn provides applicants with a place to help advance their careers.

While still fairly new, its membership of already 80 million is on the rise. Similar to the classic job search sites, LinkedIn provides applicants with a place to help advance their careers. Users can search for jobs in a specific industry or area. They also create profiles, list their accomplishments and work experience, add contacts and interact with a community through user groups and messages.

“I had a LinkedIn account in high school to network for music opportunities,” said Kim Rich ’14, who plays piano for parties and banquets. “I was actually surprised to get a few jobs just from posting videos of me playing (piano) on LinkedIn,” she said.

Twitter and LinkedIn recently came to a deal that allows tweets to be shared over the LinkedIn site. The incorporation of Twitter into the site allows job seekers and other professionals to share and receive career-related news, such as job openings and other useful tidbits, nearly instantly.

LinkedIn also provides the chance to get information from experts in a field. Got a professional question? Finding the answer is simpler than a Google search. LinkedIn members can get advice from people all over the country.

The typical profile on LinkedIn is more than just a résumé, although it consists of many of the same elements. It lists work experience and education, as well as interests and objectives. The more you include, the more likely you are to come up in searches so the more likely people are to find you. You also can have recommendations in the form of comments on your profile from other users.

Another useful tool is company pages. LinkedIn has hundreds of them. They show which members of your network work or have worked for this company, including who was recently hired or who has recently left. This can be advantageous if you are looking for a job with a certain company. You can “follow” a company you are interested in and receive updates about it. You can also see typical career paths of people who worked for that company, such as where they worked previously and where they went to work next.

LinkedIn may be especially helpful for college seniors preparing to enter the career world.

“I set up my LinkedIn profile just under a year ago. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a professional online presence,” Gar Waterman ’11 said. “From the perspective of someone currently searching for a job, you never know when [an employer] might happen to come across [your profile].”

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