LinkedIn 101 for Students and Educators

LinkedIn offers students and educators opportunities that were unheard of just ten years ago. It presents networking opportunities for people far beyond the local geographic scope. Especially in the current economy, where students are struggling to find work and educators are fighting budget cuts that influence their jobs, being well connected in the professional world can make a world of difference. Not only does it offer the potential to meet new people, but also to create an online presence that make you and your experience easy for potential employers to discover. There are a few things that should be done to maximize LinkedIn use.

Reach outside your comfort zone

Many professionals set up LinkedIn profiles and connect with people they already know, and then just let the profiles sit. This is the virtual equivalent of walking into a networking event and speaking to no one but your colleagues. LinkedIn has a strong policy against inviting people you do not know and have no connection to, but when you send an invitation you are given the option to send a personalized noted. Reach out to people who work in industries you are interested in, for companies you would like to learn more about, and people in your area. Introduce yourself wisely and try to start a conversation. You never know what can grow from this communication.

Join LinkedIn groups

Groups on LinkedIn offer a variety of opportunities. There are groups for just about any region, industry, culture, and hobby imaginable. You should join a variety, to represent all your interests. Local groups for your town, county, and state can help you connect with business, schools, and potential employers in your area. Many local groups also have in – person networking opportunities which are wonderful ways to cement your connections. Hobby related groups connect you with people over things outside of work. Try to make friends over common interests, and you may be surprised how opportunities present themselves. People often lend a hand to those they feel connected with. Also join groups related to the industry you work in as well as those related to industries your potential employers or clients belong to. In all the groups you join, participate and start conversations to meet people and make connections. It will also help get your name known.

Make your goals known

Your LinkedIn profile offers you the opportunity to write a summary. Students and others actively job searching should use this as a prime opportunity to articulate what you are looking for and what you bring to the table for potential employers. The key to quality networking is not making people guess about what you are trying to find and how you can help them. This does not mean that you should send out invitations to connect with sales lines, in fact most people would be annoyed by this. Rather, network and connect with clear goals in mind, and let people reading your profile know what you bring to the table.

LinkedIn offers students and educators excellent opportunities for networking and job searching. Those searching for any kind of job in this economy can use any extra assistance that can be found. LinkedIn helps people network with potential employers and others in the industries that can help with finding employment. It can help with finding opportunities, as well as establishing connections with those in places you would like to work. Keeping the above techniques in mind can help with maximizing your LinkedIn presence.

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