For the last few weeks, I have been holding my breath about a job. But it wasn’t just any job. It was one of those Oh-my-gosh-I-didn’t-know-I-wanted-this-until-I-saw-it-and-doesn’t-it-look-phenomenal kind of job. I had friends in the company and a résumé that tailored nicely to the job description. My job in college segued beautifully into this higher-up position, the commute was great, and I thought I had thoroughly impressed the supervisor. I imagined myself settling into that company, making my office my own, and forming friendships with my co-workers.
Today, I got news that the job was filled. By someone else.
Many of you know how that blow feels. Sort of one of those feelings where you’d rather just stay in bed all day with your favorite book rather than look for one more job opening.
However, even though I’m very bummed about not getting this job, I’m trying to stay positive and am going to use this opportunity to re-evaluate some things:
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The use of LinkedIn by college students varies anywhere between enthusiasm and ennui. I find myself on the former end of the spectrum. Despite how much some of my fellow students hate it, think it’s a bore, waste of time, etc., I personally have profited greatly from it. Through LinkedIn, I’ve kept in touch with professional men and women whom I otherwise would probably have never seen again. The website has also given me the chance to scope out potential jobs, read from a pool of excellent job resources, and score several informational interviews. So, college students (or job seekers in general), here’s some reasons you should consider this great (and free) tool:
1. Professional Connections
This is the core of LinkedIn—to make connections with those in the professional world. For college students, this is a great opportunity to follow up with a guest speaker who came to your class, peek through their achievements and how they got started, and most importantly, connect with them so you can interview them personally. (More on that in a second.)
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Last school year, I managed the Facebook page for my school’s English department, and I later began dabbling in Twitter and LinkedIn as well. With the former, it was fairly easy to adopt a strategy that more or less followed the one already set in place for Facebook. However, LinkedIn was new territory for me. Being a lurker in groups is one thing; managing LinkedIn groups yourself is quite another.
One of my supervisors and I created a subgroup for the humanities department in my school as a way for alumni and current students to network and discuss professional questions or issues. While plenty of people applied to be in the group and I posted something new every week, we rarely got any sort of response back. After five months, we had only one post, two replies, and two likes that were not made by me.
It was a complete flop.
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