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LinkedIn Gives College Students New Ways to Prove Themselves to the Professional World

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As I enter my senior year, I plan to soak up every last minute of the college experience before I enter the “real world”.  This has been an easier transition after interning at Overdrive Interactive for the summer.  Instead of shying away from potential power and opportunity, I have learned to embrace the resources I have been using in social media, most specifically with LinkedIn.  My social media internship has provided me with the knowledge and tools on how to best leverage my abilities and accomplishments in the online community, LinkedIn being the platform to achieve this.

LinkedIn has allowed me to make online business connections that could potentially lead to employment.   Many people have been able to find jobs and professional connections over this popular social networking site.  It has been proven to be a great resource, and I have learned to take full advantage of the site through my internship experience.  Nonetheless, my profile is very different than a professional profile of someone who has been in the workforce for a number of years. My professional experience is not as substantial as an industry professional; however, LinkedIn has allowed me to highlight what I have excelled in throughout my college career, which will help me gain a specialized position in the future.   I have less experience in an office, and more experience in a classroom.   Luckily, LinkedIn acknowledges these differences, and has come up with a way for students like myself to emphasize accomplishments and efforts achieved so far during undergraduate careers by creating new student profile sections.

So what new features can students add to their LinkedIn profiles? These new sections include showcases for past projects, honors and awards, involvement in organizations, test scores, and courses taken.  This has allowed me to display a supersized resume with everything I wish I could have fit on a standard one- page resume.  It has been rewarding for me to be able to show marketing projects that I received excellent grades on, and awards I have accepted over the years.   It is useful for employers to know these specific details about me so they can see my work ethic and get a better sense of my character.  Students with profiles can rearrange the sections to place their strongest ones ahead of others, allowing for their proudest contributions to be at the top of their profile.

These successes are a college student’s equivalent to real work experience that would be considered by professionals in businesses looking to hire recent graduates.  It is hard to get experience when you don’t have experience, but these new add-ons are a competitive tool to demonstrate the skills I learned during my studies and internship that I can apply to business settings.  One of the most beneficial features college students can take advantage of for providing hard evidence of their work is LinkedIn Recommendations.  Here, you can add in recommendations from current or past employers.  This has been helpful to me because it gives potential employers a better sense of my personality, and lets them see how real industry professionals feel about my drive and professional skills.

I may not have the most experience, but I do have a skill set that separates me from competitors.  There are millions of professionals on LinkedIn , as well as other college grads, so it is a great place to start making connections.   Adding in my scholastic achievements is a great guide for finding the right groups to join and people to connect with during what may seem like the never ending job search.  Eventually, my perseverance and triumphs in college will be weaned out and overshadowed by my “real world” experience (hopefully), but for now, college has been the main priority I have dedicated my time to, and LinkedIn is a great way to showcase this for my professional future.

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