Upon graduation, LinkedIn is a powerful force in getting students employed, but first they must know how it benefits them, according to Anna De Grauwe, a career coach at Durham College. She said one day everyone will know about LinkedIn.
In January, she held an informational event for students who wanted to learn about the website.
According to Statistics Canada, LinkedIn is most popular with middle-aged Canadians. De Grauwe said LinkedIn is now working its way into the curriculum.
“You’re probably not thinking that much about LinkedIn, but more and more professors are starting to require it as some kind of assignment at some part in a program,” she said.
Racquel Khalek is in her first year of Video Film Production at Durham College. She said a couple of years ago her professor encouraged her and her classmates to get on LinkedIn.
In another class, students were required to have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WordPress.
Khalek still has her LinkedIn account but admits to never using it.
“It’s like Facebook for old people. I never go on it. I think it’s boring,” she said.
Crystal Watson graduated from Early Childhood Education last year. She does not have LinkedIn.
Watson said the website would assist her but she never made an account. “I still haven’t managed to get a career after graduating so I feel like LinkedIn can help me, I just haven’t heard much about it,” she said.
De Grauwe said LinkedIn is a good way to get hired. She said students who don’t have work experience should add in projects, honours, awards and certificates.
De Grauwe said employers are looking for experience in programs at school. She said adding in volunteer work is also beneficial for your LinkedIn profile.
De Grauwe said when a job is posted you can apply with your LinkedIn profile directly to a job posting. She said there’s no stressing or worrying over a separate resume or cover letter. De Grauwe said once you make sure your profile is thorough and free of spelling errors, click ‘apply with my profile’.
With almost half a million users, LinkedIn is growing. This year, the social media website will turn 15 and already has users from more than 200 countries. Canada is ranked the sixth highest country, with more than 13 million users. But De Grauwe says many of those users aren’t students.
“I think there just needs to be more and more awareness of it,” De Grauwe said. “I think the resume is not going anywhere any time soon. But I think that it is evolving in terms of its requirements and the ability to apply for a job with a LinkedIn profile is definitely proof of that.”
De Grauwe helps students navigate the website if they need assistance and said they can continue to get help from the college – forever.
De Grauwe said the connection between Durham College’s alumni, career development and student diversity offices helps students and alumni be successful in the transition from campus to career.
“LinkedIn is a really important piece of that,” she said. “We want students and alumni to be aware of that and get more comfortable with it as a tool.”
De Grauwe said LinkedIn is not just for people who carry briefcases.