LinkedIn: Networking 2.0

Jessica has a Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School. There she had the opportunity to work with students from all over the world and put together detailed marketing plans for many businesses in the nonprofit, green energy, radio, technology, and education industries. Her most recent work experience was with the Aspen Music Festival & School – the world’s premier classical music festival. She maintained and updated the company website, managed all social media channels, created and submitted advertisements, designed and ordered customized AMFS merchandise, and managed approximately 20 gift kiosk volunteers. Previous professional experience includes working as an Academic Advisor for National American University Online. She was the contact liaison for approximately 220 students, ensuring they maintained their educational goals. Prior to this, she worked at Audra’s Bridal Gallery in Rapid City, SD as a bridal consultant. She is also certified as an International Event and Wedding Planner after completing courses from QC Event School.

In a new era that is entirely digital, it is necessary to have some kind of online presence to be visible to potential employers. If you’re not already set up on LinkedIn, get started right away! Even if you are not ready to start your professional career, there are many benefits to having your LinkedIn profile ready and active:

1. Internship and job applications are programmed for LinkedIn – If you plan on applying for internships or jobs while you are in school, almost all websites are now programmed to accept job applications via LinkedIn. All you do is click the button and the site plugs in your background and experience. This makes it easier for you and the company’s HR department. It also provides you with a unique URL so anyone can easily review your information.
2. Recruiters can easily contact you – You may not be looking for a job yet, but that doesn’t mean that companies won’t be interested in someone with your background. Recruiters use LinkedIn regularly to search out unique individuals matching the qualifications for specific jobs. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you are most likely not visible enough for a recruiter to find.
3. Groups can help answer questions or find jobs – Groups that match your interests and career goals provide a haven to ask questions or get inspiration for anything related to the group’s designated subject area. People will also use this space to post internships and jobs, so keep your eyes open!
4. Receive endorsements from your connections – LinkedIn connections can endorse each other for specific skills that you have chosen to list. The more endorsements you receive, the higher the confirmation of your competence in that specific skill.
5. Follow and receive updates from companies you love – Have a favorite brand or company? Follow them on LinkedIn to get direct updates. If there are opportunities to share, comment, or like, be sure to take advantage of it. They may even post internships and jobs and your engagement could benefit your application.

LinkedIn is the easiest way to build a personal portfolio and make good use of your connections. List all of your credentials and under your current employment, list ‘Student.’ As a student, your professional network hasn’t really started yet, but there are always opportunities to connect! High school teachers, coaches, mentors, and even friends of your parents that you have worked with can make great connections to start your network. If you are already signed up for college classes and know which professors you will have, send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. They may even post articles within your areas of interest or related to your class. Also, if you worked on a group project with other students, connect with them and list your project description online. Your educational achievements will be the strongest points of your profile until you begin your professional career. Lastly, follow the company page of the university you will be or are attending. You may receive updates that are worth sharing on your personal profile.

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