Published: March 3, 2016
Social media has only become more prevalent in our lives in recent years as if continues to grow and encompass additional aspects. For general communication and socialization, Facebook continues to be the industry leader by a wide margin for this area with 45.4 percent of the market share for social media websites in the United States, according to the website Statista. Other social networks, have come to grow into serving certain niches or other aspects of people’s lives that Facebook either does not do as well, or at all. Reid Hoffman, an internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist, sought to corner the untapped market of professional social networking when he founded the website, LinkedIn, in 2003.
LinkedIn serves to differentiate itself from the social network behemoth that is Facebook by focusing on being more of a network for professionals rather than the more informal, social environment of Facebook. Owning a profile on this website allows the user to present himself or herself formally to others as well as build a network of connections that can prove useful at some point in the future. Those in the workforce, as well as current students, can make use of LinkedIn’s superior networking tools to assist in a job and internship search no matter what one’s major may be. A student could, for example, search open positions and programs posted to the site for any company he or she is interested in. However, it is the use of a student’s network where LinkedIn truly shines as an effective method to gain visibility in the highly competitive job market that student’s currently face.
By creating a profile, a student starts building his or her network by requesting to connect with friends, family or colleagues. As time goes on, those in his or her network could endorse his or her for skills and experience, write recommendations and other various networking activities. While researching companies to apply to, a student can easily see if anyone in his or her network has any connections with the companies he or she is interested in. Furthermore, a student could easily access the list of employees at a certain company, narrow down the results to The University alumni and reach out to possibly enhance his or her chances of being accepted into the company.
As most university students can attest to, the alumni network is invaluable as yet another method to give an advantage in the application process, or even simply as a good opportunity to receive advice through mentoring if the alumnus is open to discussion. LinkedIn allows students to tap into the full potential of the alumni network by giving easy access to research and directly contact anyone he or she wishes. Any business student in particular can attest to the emphasis put on LinkedIn by the Kania School of Management. Nearly all presenters and passport events mention the usefulness of the website to some degree, and it is for good reason that it is promoted so aggressively by the school. Additionally The University has migrated its own alumni database to LinkedIn to utilize some of its features to not only keep track of alumni, but also to allow students the chance to connect with them in a more convenient method, as opposed to email addresses that run the risk of being outdated. With both The University and students alike using this effective social networking website, it is now easier than ever to network with alumni and assist in applying within today’s competitive job market.
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