LinkedIn advised as future of industry connections

Teachers and advisers at USF are helping students utilize LinkedIn to become more attractive to employers.

The technological advances  in today’s world are leading to the shift to websites such as LinkedIn, which has been encouraged by many professors and advisers at USF. 

According to an April 2014 article by Business Insider, LinkedIn surpassed 300 million members, with 67 percent from outside the U.S. 

On the website, users can find jobs and business opportunities recommended by others, employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates and users can find employment through connections of connections. 

Wendy Whitt, an instructor in the USF School of Mass Communications, said you can gather the interest of recruiters if you put previous work experiences on your profile. 

“On LinkedIn, you can upload your work, you can join groups to connect with professionals in the industry you’re interested in and gather interest of recruiters,” Whitt said. “You as the user are in control of the connectivity that you have, and you can do so by uploading writing samples and projects of your work.”

Whitt dedicated a whole module LinkedIn in her social media class, which consists of 35 students. 

“I made everybody create a LinkedIn, gave feedback on their original account, then required them to make changes,” Whitt said. 

Students said that LinkedIn helps to get more connections and potentially finding a job.

Matthew Ryan, a senior majoring in health care, recently made a LinkedIn for his professional writing class. 

“I’ve been adding people I know on there to build up my connections,” Ryan said. “It’s a great way to connect with potential employers and other students that are looking to branch out in the professional world.”

Associate professor Kelli Burns said anybody looking for a job should have a profile on LinkedIn, but she advised against adding everybody on the site. 

“Any job-seeker should have a LinkedIn account because hiring managers are consistently posting their jobs on there,” Burns said. “I would encourage people to connect with people they know, first. I would discourage people from connecting to people they have no connection to, because it doesn’t look professional.”

Employers often offer jobs on LinkedIn, and students who are desperate for a job may be missing opportunities that arise. 

Although creating a LinkedIn account increases chances of getting employers to see your information, it can also steer them away. 

“When making an online profile, start with a friendly photo, not one with you and a friend at a party,” Burns said. “It is also important to include a creative description of yourself and use the summary text box.” 

Harold Shaw, a career counselor at USF, said the increased usage of LinkedIn has come from students and recent grads. 

“Over 30 million users on LinkedIn are students and recent grads, and they do so to get their presence out there and to establish more contacts,” Shaw said. “Students and recent grads are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic and will continue to grow every year.”