LinkedIn…The Ultimate Career Advisor for Graduates?

linkedin graduatesBack in 2009 we were presenting to groups of MBA’s, Masters and undergraduates at leading Business Schools about how they should make the most of LinkedIn. Here, we showed them the power of LinkedIn for mapping out their career paths, conducting research, using it as a platform from which to get noticed by potential employers and how LinkedIn will be one of the most powerful tools at their disposal throughout many elements of their careers.

A great deal has happened since 2009; however our predictions were pretty spot on!  Here’s why…

With 15 million UK users, 3 million business pages  and with 1500 school and University profiles, LinkedIn really has become the most powerful tool for professional networking. This platform dubbed the ‘Facebook for Business’ can bring huge benefits to both business professionals and young academics, working to bridge the gap between the two.

Currently, LinkedIn is one of the best ways for professionals to network with like-minded individuals and is subsequently awash with success stories of people who have done just this to enhance their career. It allows you to monitor competitors, read up on new career opportunities, network with professionals and is ever increasingly being used by companies to recruit new staff.

So then, it seems like a no-brainer that graduates are increasingly turning to LinkedIn as the number 1 tool in their job search, it allows you to read up on the skills and background of leaders in your field to enhance your career path, search vacancies and gain valuable advice from industry experts.

Therefore, we were not surprised when LinkedIn launched its new education service, which can be accessed here. The idea of this service is to create college and university pages to provide current students, prospective students, alumni, lecturers and employees a place to easily network with one another. The tagline reads “Powered by the career paths of over 250 million members – our new tools for students, alumni, schools, and employers can help you find your way”.

There is a an individual section for every one of the above, and provides users with job opportunities, suggests new connections, allows you to see what your peers are now doing, and shows potential students what career path their course alumni have taken.  This is a fantastic tool for students, allowing them to start conversations with business professionals and gain valuable insight and advice into their desired careers. From a business perspective the service also allows you to sift through students to find ideal candidates for any job roles you may have, as well as connecting with any old alumni in an attempt to increase business opportunities and create potential new clients.

Last year, LinkedIn also announced their partnership with some of the biggest names in online education to allow users to showcase their educational accomplishments on their LinkedIn profile. Following the completion of specific courses, these certificates can then be posted directly to your profile. This is a brilliant way for individuals to showcase their skills and increase their chances of business success. Not only can users add their certificates, but LinkedIn also allows users to add their honours and awards, test scores, courses and patents; moving the platform ever closer to becoming your one-stop, online CV! Will this be a thing of the future, submitting your LinkedIn profile to a potential employer instead of a traditional CV; already some companies are asking for both but as LinkedIn for recruitment increases it doesn’t seem like it will be long before this practice takes over.

Currently, The Open University has the most LinkedIn members, followed by the University of Manchester and then the University of Leeds and the sites educational services are clearly being utilised by academics. In addition last year, LinkedIn lowered its user age to 13 in an attempt to bridge the gap between youngsters and universities and to help forward thinkers plan their career early. They stated that “with 30m students and recent graduates already using it, the site will offer a prime resource for potential applicants and young people planning their careers.”

Remember, a lot of business relies on who you know and it could just be that your old Uni friend is the door to your next biggest client. So, if you’ve not followed your University on LinkedIn, connected up with fellow alumnus, or joined their Alumni Group, then go on, do it now!

Note: This post is a guest post from a member of our DMR Insider Community.

Image credit: Jessie Jacobson via flickr

About Emma Pauw

Social media writer at We Talk Social. We Talk Social is an integrated social media consultancy. Since 2009 our founding partner has been providing consulting, strategy, planning and training services, as well as running powerful and successful social media campaigns to give clients the confidence to embrace the benefits of social media. Being ‘raised’ in Yorkshire we have developed a straight talking and honest approach to business, a trait that our clients truly appreciate. We know a fantastic opportunity when we see one, but if you are on the wrong track, we’ll tell you so..!