Once you complete a profile and start building your network of contacts, it is time for you to begin actively using LinkedIn’s job and company connection tools. In your main navigation bar you will have two areas called “Jobs” and “Interests.” LinkedIn’s programming will also automatically start recommending (on your Home page) connections, jobs that may interest you, and companies that you might want to track. Pay attention to these in case your active searches miss an important opportunity. The following sections will focus on using the “Jobs” and “Interests” areas of LinkedIn.
This page has two main tools to assist those seeking employment. The first is the “Jobs” search box located near the top of the page. Note that the box can be expanded to show advanced search options by clicking the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the box. The second tool is right below the search box and titled, “Jobs you may be interested in.” The three icons correspond to “Location”, “Company Size”, and “Industry” preferences. Setting your preferences will help this search tool locate jobs that better fit your interests.
Whenever LinkedIn provides you a suggestion or you do a search you will have the opportunity to track companies, save jobs, and apply for positions that interest you. Once you make selections and start using the system, your front page will display your saved items, start to show recommendations, and display feeds based around your choices. Many companies pay LinkedIn to have access to information about who has followed them and who has applied to positions. By actively following companies, setting preferences for certain locations or industries, and by connecting with employees, you are creating opportunities for companies to also find you. Remember that if they have invested money and resources in having an active LinkedIn presence, then they are going to use its tools to do recruiting. Also see our information on other ways to Search for Specific Employment Opportunities.
The “Interests” area allows you to proactively follow companies, professional groups, school/alumni, and special topic areas. We have already talked about following companies but it is also helpful to join group discussions and be aware of what is happening in your school network. If you are a member of a student organization that has a national chapter, we recommend you follow the national or regional group as well. This will help you gain a bigger understanding of the group’s mission as well as grow your professional association network beyond your campus group.
The special topics area is called “Pulse” and if there are particular national influencers or general topics that you want to follow this is where you find that filtered information. For example, if you have a Sales Engineering minor and want to know more about sales techniques, you might choose to follow a group that discusses marketing and sales, or perhaps there is an expert with his/her own LinkedIn page that you can follow. This area of LinkedIn is useful for advanced users and students who have a defined focus. This area has the most potential for you to make a strong connection with professionals and participate in discussions showing your advanced interest and knowledge of your industry.
By following our basic recommendations, your LinkedIn account will be helpful and productive for you as a student or alumnus. Further resources for students can be found at: http://university.linkedin.com/linkedin-for-students.html