In a society where technology permeates through our professional lives, it is hard to imagine social networking not becoming a major part of the process of getting and filling jobs. For students, one of the largest bodies of prospective employees, many argue that having a LinkedIn account is an invaluable part of getting noticed.
“Having a LinkedIn is an opportunity for a student all the way to a professional in branding themselves,” said Jennifer Visinho, a career advisor in the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Career and Experiential Learning.
Visinho calls LinkedIn a “second impression,” referring to its ability to display a user’s personality and continue a hirer’s interest after meeting face-to-face. “It’s really important when you’re making connections with people to make multiple impressions,” she added, “and you want them to be consistent.”
“I’m a firm believer that your networking should begin face-to-face,” Visinho said, adding that LinkedIn also has the ability to assist employers in finding you in the first place.
“Think of sales,” Visinho said. “It doesn’t take just one time you meet someone to close a deal. You have to meet someone multiple times in order to build that relationship.”
According to research released in December by marketing professors at the Universities of Northern Illinois and Texas at Dallas, more than 70 percent of the undergraduate students surveyed said they did not have a LinkedIn account. According to the same team, nearly 60 percent of a sample of adults said they received their last job through networking of some type.
Visinho was adamant that students of all majors have a LinkedIn, saying its important for everyone, regardless of field, to network.
LinkedIn accounts also allow quicker updates that resumes for someone like a college student who is rapidly building experiences, although Visinho says resumes are still important. A LinkedIn also allows users to attach electronic-based items like videos and writing materials to create a visual end product.
“You’re saying to an employer, ‘I have great…skills,’ but they actually get to see it, then,” Visinho said. “They want the proof.”
For help creating a LinkedIn and the best practices for using it, students can visis the Center for Career and Experiential Learning in Roosevelt Hall or online at uri.edu/career/.
“You have to go along with the times,” Visinho said. “If you’re going to be on Twitter and Instagram, you should be on LinkedIn.”