The Resumé Upgrade Every Graduate Should Know
Technology has changed just about every aspect of our lives.
We participate in video conferences, do our shopping online, and even hail taxis with our phones.
It’s no surprise then, that technology has also changed the way we apply for jobs.
Long gone are the days of scanning the classifieds page of the newspaper for help wanted ads. Instead, today’s job search process revolves around digital communication, and no resource is quite as valuable for prospective candidates as LinkedIn.
Why it’s important
LinkedIn really does it all. Seen by many as the Facebook of the workplace, LinkedIn boasts over 467 million users worldwide. This social media platform allows people to build a professional network, find jobs, and establish a professional reputation all from their computer.
For students who will soon be entering the workforce full time, it’s important that they understand how to use LinkedIn professionally and effectively. Mastering the uses and features of this platform can give students a leg up on the competition when it comes to securing their first real job.
How to set up your LinkedIn Profile
Anyone who has an email address can open a LinkedIn profile. That doesn’t mean that everyone knows how to create a profile that will get them noticed by employers in the right way.
Because LinkedIn’s interface is very similar to Facebook, teens can often make the mistake of being too casual with their profile. It’s important to remind students that they shouldn’t put anything on LinkedIn that they would say or show during a job interview.
So leave out the goofy profile photo and emojis, and stick to a strictly professional approach to this social media platform.
While it isn’t a full blown resumé, the main function of a LinkedIn profile is to list professional experience. Students will often need help describing their work experience in a professional way.
Even small or unpaid jobs like babysitting and managing a school club show responsibility and can be listed as work experience when phrased the right way. Instead of writing, “babysitter” as a job title, students might say they worked as a “child care provider”. Teachers will need to help students walk the line between selling themselves, and being unrealistic with their work experience.
How to build up your community
Once students have a profile that they are ready to share with the professional world, it’s time for them to build their network.
This is often the part of LinkedIn that comes naturally to students for whom the idea of maintaining digital relationships is not foreign.
Remind students that while Facebook and Snapchat are primarily used to communicate with friends, maximizing the benefits of LinkedIn requires connecting with professionals who might make good connections in the future. This could be anyone from your own doctor if you’re interested in medicine or the tour guide from the college you visited last summer.
Connecting on LinkedIn with adults you know is ok and may end up being useful down the road.
How to engage
Finally, LinkedIn can be used to share ideas or advocate for a cause.
While many LinkedIn users never post anything at all, sharing relevant articles or events can be great ways to build your profile and engage your community.
Again, always remind students to be professional. Every LinkedIn post is like a mini-ad for you and your skills. This is not the place for funny videos of your cat but is a great place to share an article you wrote for your local paper or a website you completed for your business class.
Introducing LinkedIn to Students
If you’re ready to bring LinkedIn into your classroom, consider doing so using the iAcademy course LinkedIn Essentials for Students.
With engaging video tutorials and graphics, students learn to create and manage a LinkedIn account, flesh out their profile with experience and education, and engage groups on LinkedIn in order to build their network.
Even after they’ve left your class, a well-crafted LinkedIn profile plus the skills to engage with others through this platform will be something that will serve your students in their professional careers for years to come.