Does LinkedIn Work for Students?

If you have a kid between the ages of 17 and 22, there’s a pretty good chance that she is not very savvy when it comes to looking for a job in a competitive market. There is, however, a very good chance that your kid can run circles around you when it comes to social media.

linkedin-logo-squareIt was interesting to read last week that that LinkedIn, the social media site for the career minded, had launched CheckIn, a new service to simplify career events like job fairs, which typically attract young workers and first-time job seekers. The idea is that rather than handing in a resume, the job seeker can easily connect her LinkedIn profile to prospective hiring companies.

According to LinkedIn product manager Elizabeth Burstein:

“CheckIn is a mobile app that radically simplifies how recruiters collect and manage candidate information at events.”

If your kid has limited real work experience, or is unsure of the career she wants to pursue, will this really help? Not by itself. It’s worth noting that 30 million of the LinkedIn’s 225 million members are students or recent grads (my guess is that the lion’s share of those are recent grads). What you can do as a parent is encourage your teen to become a LinkedIn early adopter.

By setting up a LinkedIn profile and spending time on the site, students can benefit in many ways:

  • Be there – In the case of CheckIn above, you need to have a LinkedIn profile to use the service. It’s the cost of admission.
  • Jobs! – There are currently 220,000 open jobs listed on LinkedIn.
  • Paper resumes are on the way out – More and more of the applicant vetting process is electronic only. Presenting yourself online in the best light is something that can be learned. Putting together a great LinkedIn profile is a terrific first step.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – When an employer Googles your name (they will), you would much rather them find your LinkedIn profile than your Facebook or Twitter account. Properly set up LinkedIn pages rank very quickly and highly in search.
  • Learn the landscape and the lingo – Since millions of job seekers and hiring managers use LinkedIn, it is a great place to see what other people’s profiles look like and to learn how potential employers talk about their business.
  • Research potential employers – Almost every company has a LinkedIn presence and increasingly they are adding proprietary content to the site that would not only help in an interview but may also give insight into whether this is a company you want to work for.
  • Make connections – Once your profile is set up, go ahead and send a link request to your dad’s golf buddy or your old soccer coach.  If they are hiring, know someone who is, or can provide a reference, you’re way ahead of the game.

Teens routinely accept the fact that they need four years of college at a minimum to get a good job, but lack a personal presentation strategy when they graduate. LinkedIn is not cool. It’s getting better but it’s still not cool. And it doesn’t solve all of the challenges of the job search for young people, but it can be a great way to get a head start.

Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.

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