Wanting to gain insights into different career pathways, a couple of months ago I finally made myself a LinkedIn account and my preconceived opinion of the platform was proven wrong.
I thought, probably as most students do, that LinkedIn was just for professionals with successful careers. Yet, for us as students, LinkedIn is so helpful – it isn’t just for those in employment. I have already seen the benefits: I’ve sought advice about how to get to the top positions in my industry of interest, I’ve been able to view internship vacancies and also develop an understanding of what I need to do for the rest of my time at university to make myself stand out once I’m ready to find full-time employment. If you use LinkedIn the right way, it’s a great tool. Here’s how to make the most of it.
It’s great for networking
LinkedIn is a great way to connect with potential employers, or people that work in the industries you’re considering pursuing a career in. With the ability to send messages to most other users, LinkedIn allows you to ask questions and ask for advice from the people that have been successful in their field. With this, you know exactly what you can do to help yourself going forward, with advice from the people that have been in your position.
You can gain career insights
If you want to find out more about the day in the life of an employee in your potential future industry, LinkedIn is a great tool to find out more about what work in the industry entails. Employees and employers regularly post about their recent achievements and projects, so you can often get a good feel for what working in that sector is like. You can also follow company pages to stay up-to-date with their recent developments and achievements.
You can apply for jobs and internships
One thing I didn’t realise when I set up my LinkedIn profile is that you can apply for vacancies through the app. Just like regular job sites, you can refine your job searches to show specific industries, locations and job types. All types of jobs are posted on LinkedIn, so it’s a great way to look for graduate schemes and internships. With a Premium membership, that can often be trialled free of charge for a month, you can even view the skills that are required to be a successful applicant for the role.
You can find out how to stand out
By looking at vacancies and at LinkedIn user profiles that are relevant to your career area of interest, you can find out the skills and experience you need to stand out. This is ideal whilst you’re still studying, and then you can tailor the rest of your time at university to gaining any experience or skills that you need. For example, completing Stellify, volunteering, or finding an internship may all be valuable actions that will help you to further your skill set and become a successful candidate.
It’s a good source of motivation
Seeing others succeed should be used to fuel your motivation and determination to make every second at university count. Follow employees from your potential career industry, and when they post their recent successes and achievements remind yourself that the best is yet to come!
As a university student, now is the time to gather the grades, the experience and the skills that are going to help you stand out in the workplace. Seeing others succeed will give you both the motivation to put yourself in the best position possible at university, and then the reminder that you are capable of achieving big in your future industry.