Are you an active LinkedIn user? We know that many of you are, and we wonder if you have considered that your college student can benefit tremendously from using LinkedIn. Although college students are not yet established in a chosen field, they can leverage LinkedIn to connect with professionals from whom they can learn, join groups and discussions where opportunities are uncovered, and generally become more visible to potential employers. All of these things help to transition your student away from being in college to being gainfully employed.
High Point University has a strong presence on LinkedIn with 10,400+ LinkedIn members who have some connection to HPU. There are 2,100+ members in the High Point University Alumni group (students may join this group as a senior) and 760+ members in the Career & Internship Services group managed by our office.
Our staff is joining other career services professionals from top schools to promote the use of LinkedIn to students and to guide them on how to build an effective profile. And because you, as parents, play such a critical role in your student’s college experience and in their transition beyond college, we would like to ask you to partner with us. We have developed our LinkedIn Guide (click on the bold words to view Guide) and hope that you will look over this and encourage your student to use this valuable information. We realize that because college student are so active on other types of social media that many will incorrectly conclude that LinkedIn is a site for parents and not for them.
We would like to shatter that myth, and ask that you help us by explaining these benefits:
• Your student can search and connect with HPU graduates and other professionals who already work with a company or in an industry that interests him/her. Reaching out to current employees is a great way to set-up informational interviews/job shadowing and to access the “back door” when applying for an internship or first job
• Your student can research the profiles of connections to understand what kind of background (previous jobs) is helpful for landing the position they desire
• Your student can join groups related to the field he/she wishes to pursue; many professional associations also have large LinkedIn groups
• Your student can search open opportunities posted by LinkedIn members on the Jobs Board or through specific groups
• Your student can think of their profile as an expanded version of their resume and attach to it a link to their electronic portfolio showcasing their work
Please encourage your student to build a strong profile rather than just “sign-up” to be on LinkedIn. An effective profile includes:
• A photograph – taken while dressed in professional attire and with no one else in the picture (a head-shot from the shoulders up)
• A descriptive “headline” – should not say “Student at High Point University” because this is too general; an example of an effective headline would be “Communication and Marketing senior seeking internship experience in the Boston area”
• A concise “keyword-rich” summary that sells skills and experience, gives an overview of who you are and what you are trying to accomplish (in the short term), and perhaps states your long-term career goals
Our office is partnering with four students who serve in a leadership/mentoring role as Career Peer Ambassadors, CPAs. These students have benefited from using our services and desire to encourage their peers to do the same. We would like to share Melia Sigmon’s LinkedIn profile with you: Melia’s LinkedIn (you will need to be signed-in to LinkedIn to view Melia’s profile; click on her name in bold) so that you have an idea of how a college student is using LinkedIn effectively.
Our staff will be promoting the use of LinkedIn through presentations in various classes (we are often invited as guest speakers by faculty) and to student organizations. And of course, if your student will reach out to us to schedule an individual appointment, we are happy to provide personal assistance.