You use Facebook on a regular basis, you may even tweet, but are you on LinkedIn? LinkedIn.com is not just for professionals who have established careers, nor is it simply a tool for people who are looking for a job. Rather, LinkedIn.com can be thought of as your online resume--your resume 2.0. LinkedIn provides an effective way to develop your online personal brand. Eighty-nine percent of hiring managers reported researching job candidates online when deciding whom to interview. Here are some ways that college students can use LinkedIn:

Perhaps you have heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts.” The truth is that it’s not who you now know, but who you are willing to get to know that will help you succeed in life. While learning to network with people face-to-face is a very important skill, with more than 60 million members, LinkedIn.com is the best place to network online. Here are two resources that can help you develop and use your professional network: How to Build a Professional LinkedIn Profile How to Network Professionally Online Make sure that you use the dropdown search form to find and join LinkedIn groups affiliated with Concordia such as Concordia University Ann Arbor and Concordia University Ann Arbor Alumni.
When you are fairly certain about your career direction “shadowing” someone on the job will help you learn more about a particular work environment, specifics of the job and develop a better relationship with someone who can help you in the future.   Often times someone who you have already informational interviewed would be glad to have you spend some time with them on the job, “shadowing” them as they go about their work tasks.

If you can’t find the right internship through online databases like internships.com, use LinkedIn.com to search for people who are in jobs you would love to have in the future. Even if you find someone who is a 2nd or 3rd level connection, you can ask for an introduction from your 1st level connections. When you talk with this person, you can explain that you are interested in what they do and ask if there is the possibility of an internship at their organization. Even if they don’t have this type of option available, they may be able to refer you to someone who does.

A mentor can help you in your chosen career area. While your advisor can be a good source for finding a mentor, the advanced search on LinkedIn can also be an excellent method. You can also search the Concordia alumni group on LinkedIn for people you would like to contact.

Whether it is a summer job or a job after graduation, if you have been developing your network through LinkedIn.com, you will be in good position to find openings in the “hidden” job market. Linkedin allows you to find groups and associations of people who are working in the career field that you are targeting. To find them, use the drop down search function named “groups”. Type in keywords related to your job objective (example: accounting) and you will find many groups that you can join. Once you are an approved member, you can ask for help on discussion boards, search for companies to contact as well as find people who can give you advice, tell you about job openings and refer you to others who can help you find job openings.

© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, www.ChristianCareerCenter.com. All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.