On the other end of the spectrum, LinkedIn is becoming essential for college students

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By Jonathan Lopes

Campus News

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. The company was founded in December 2002 and officially launched on May 2003. It is mainly used for professional, career-based networking. It is a free, professional and polished version of Facebook.

“LinkedIn is an awesome one-stop-shop resource for both employers and job candidates. You can build connections, join professional groups and also look at potential jobs. It is a great, free, and easy site to use,” said Lauren Flood, Caldwell College graduate.

The basic functions of LinkedIn allows account users, both workers and employers, to create profiles and find “connections” with other official users. The online social network in turn could lead, or at least, establish basic real-world professional relationships. Members can invite anyone to become a connection, LinkedIn version of Facebook “friends. However, if the invitee selects “I don’t know” or “Spam,” this counts against the inviter.

LinkedIn allows users to search companies with which they may be interested in possibly working for. When typing the name of a given company in the search box, statistics about the company are provided. These may include the ratio of female to male employees, the percentage of the most common titles/positions held within the company, the location of the company’s headquarters and offices, and/or a list of present and former employees.

In July 2011, LinkedIn launched a new feature allowing companies to include an “Apply with LinkedIn” button on job listing pages. The new plugin will allow potential employees to apply for positions using their LinkedIn profiles as resumes. All applications will also be saved under a “Saved Jobs” tabs.

Groups may be private, accessible to members only and/or may be open to all members in general to read, though they must join in order to post messages. LinkedIn permits users to endorse each other’s skills. The skills can be based on what the individual posted on their profile or can be suggested by another person. LinkedIn has also been praised for its usefulness in fostering business relationships. “LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today,” according to a Forbes article review.

“LinkedIn has a lot of networking potential. LinkedIn is giving people a chance to shine in ways they’d never thought possible. It has never been so easier for employers to find recruits. This being said, I think anyone can go on and look good. Employers must still keep in mind the difference between looking like a good candidate and actually being a great candidate,” said Matt Kobza, Montclair University graduate student.

A mobile version of the site was launched in February 2008, which gives access to a reduced feature set over a phone. The phone service is available in six languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

“I think LinkedIn is a great way to familiarize yourself with a potential co-worker or boss before even meeting them. Allie [Tom’s girlfriend] just looked up an employer she is scheduled to meet for an interview, so she could have some talking points. If kept up to date, it can be a nice little introduction,” said Tom Colella, Ramapo College graduating senior.
LinkedIn allows you to manage your professional identity, build and interact with your professional network and access opportunities. It is simple to navigate, especially if you are familiar with Facebook. Also, if you have a solid resume, you can copy and paste portions when making an account. I learned about this website during my first-year in college. Regardless of the college you attend, there is a career services office and one of the main services is developing an online presence.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are social, but LinkedIn is strictly professional. Similar to a resume, LinkedIn is a resource you’ll edit, revise and amend all throughout your professional development and career search. The website enables you the chance to enhance your professional profile and credibility, post articles, join groups, make connections, and search for jobs and take part in legitimate discussions. With college students and the multiple roles we have daily, LinkedIn is a free, user-friendly website built for us all. It gives us the opportunity to personally develop by taking an active effort and can truly make a difference.

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