5 Tips for Better Networking on LinkedIn for College Students
Traveling abroad is a great opportunity to hone your cross-cultural communications and build relationships that may benefit your academic advancement or future career. Your study abroad experiences can be used to your benefit in the future, so make sure you take the time to reflect on your personal and professional growth by making strong network connections.
Networking can be of several kinds, based on how you’re reaching out to your connections. Reaching out where one connects with friends, friends of friends and family connections is reaching out within the inner circle. Reaching out to your outer circle means reaching out to prospective employers via career fairs, university placements and internships.
However, with LinkedIn coming into the picture, the art of networking has drastically changed. LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social networking tools for professionals with more than 500 million members in over 200 countries and territories. The evolving trend of connection-based recruitment is changing how students and alumni tell their professional stories online, find work, and develop their careers.
On the face of it, LinkedIn may seem like simply an online CV – but on a platform where hundreds of employers are looking for prime candidates every day, it's a pretty useful CV to have.
Not only is it a great way of networking with leading figures in your chosen industry, but you can also use it to promote your achievements and build up a professional online presence. Plus, if you've got the entrepreneurial spirit, you can even boost your own business on there. Whether you have a LinkedIn profile already and you're looking for ways to make the most of it, or you have no clue where to even start- don't worry! Keep reading:
- Get it early: Get LinkedIn in your first year at university. Employers want to see it as an evolving online CV. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete, employers are more likely to look at a finished profile. In a student's profile, display everything you are doing. Employers will look to see what you do that is over and above what they are looking for – it's no longer just enough to have a good degree.
- Build your profile: Use a formal profile photo, where in you’re smiling and looking approachable. You’re trying to sell yourself as someone good to work with. Profiles without a photo look inactive and unimpressive in search results, so make sure to find a photo of yourself that's hi-res and suitable for work.
- Personalize connection requests: To make the most of LinkedIn try to get a network of at least 100 key people and when scrolling through LinkedIn's list of 'people you may know,' don't simply click the 'connect' button. Add a personal note with your connection requests. When connecting with someone you don’t as such know a person who works in a similar role at another company, add relevancy by letting them know why you’re messaging them.
- Get recommendations and endorsement for work skills:As a student, ask your former employers and colleagues (if any) to post testimonials to your profile page to add credibility to any skills or project you’ve listed on your profile. Your LinkedIn connections can then confirm that you're good at something by endorsing you for the different skills you've listed, and these will appear on your public profile to show how talented you are..
- Share Knowledge and Write Your Own:People often share interesting articles on LinkedIn, either ones they've written or sourced from elsewhere. Following the right people from your industry is thus important. Having some solid knowledge of recent developments in your industry will pay off in interviews. You can also follow the blogs of companies you're interested in to keep up with their latest news. LinkedIn is also an excellent place for writing interesting articles, if you have a different take on a recent industry development. Sharing your own opinions and knowledge on a subject will seriously impress employers and help get your name out there. You can even add videos and images for extra impact.