Business professor stresses professional importance of LinkedIn

By Dr. Daryl GreenContributing Writer

Dr. Daryl D. Green is the Dickinson Chair of Business professor at OBU’s Paul Dickinson College of Business, teaching leadership, management and marketing. Look for his column in future issues.

I got on campus early. I like to visit where students are meeting (i.e. student union, café) before I interview them.

I sit back and read the student newspaper. I watch how students behave between themselves. I check out how they dress around campus. During my campus visits, I enjoy visiting the classroom and sharing my role as a corporate professional by presenting career advice.

I soon learned that most students are operating in a bubble. What about current events, reading the news or evaluating how these issues impact their future livelihood? I had a chat today with a group of senior students. Yes, I make jokes…but I also share the realities of a difficult employment picture before they graduate. I asked them if they had any job strategies and most of them said no.

At the end of the day, I wondered if I had made a difference.

Clearly, students need to do something different!

Today’s college students face a landscape of great opportunities as employers look to this Millennium generation to infuse bright ideas and energy into their organizations.

In recruiting young engineers and scientists at the Department of Energy, I soon discussed a major disconnect between what employers desire from potential employees (i.e. college students), and today’s job seekers’ expectations of employers.

I often spoke on this matter and wrote these discoveries in several formats including articles, books, and lectures.

With that said, I believe marketing these concepts are also vital on Bison Hill too. This article examines how an effective LinkedIn.com profile can be utilized to showcase students’ potentials to future employers and increase their personal brand. 

Having an online presence is vital for today’s employment opportunities.

According to Business2community.com, 427,000 resumes are posted each week on Monster.com, an online job board; eight million job applicants said they found their job on Twitter.com. 

Eighty-nine percent of employment recruiters have hired through LinkedIn.com. If college students are serious about increasing their job prospects, they need to have a credible profile on LinkedIn.

Being the world’s largest online professional network, LinkedIn has more than 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories. In fact, professionals are signing up on LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.

College students may flock to popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Yet, it is websites like LinkedIn that help them become credible to future employers and build their own personal brand.

Setting up a profile is easy. Unlike traditional social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn allows individuals to establish professional networks, obtain needed resources and foster professional relationship with prospective employers, clients and partners.

Students are building strategic partners for their future. Thus, the quality of these contacts is critical. Connecting with the right person can increase career networking opportunities with the basic “Six Degrees of Separation” principle.

In 1929, Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy coined the term ‘six degrees of separation. According to Whatis.techtarget.com, six degrees of separation is the theory that “any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that have no more than five intermediaries.”

When a person is established on LinkedIn, the individual can see how his/her connections are linked to other influential people.

To get the most attention on LinkedIn, individuals need to achieve the “All-Star” status. There are five levels of profile strength on LinkedIn, namely All-Star, Expert, Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner.

All-Star status is the highest ranking and the most difficult to achieve. Some of the requirements include a completed LinkedIn profile including a professional photo and summary.  Below are some additional strategies to stand out in the crowd on LinkedIn:

(1) Submit a professional photo.

(2) Create interesting headlines.

(3) Write an incredible summary statement.

(4) Select a unique LinkedIn URL for your profile.

(5) Obtain recommendations from professors, employers, coaches and other influencers who can speak to your character and leadership abilities.

(6) Post relevant articles on your LinkedIn profile (i.e. LinkedIn Pulse) that demonstrate your critical thinking and writing style.

(7) Upload presentations and written documents that showcase your professional abilities.

(8) Follow businesses and organizations that are potential employers or contacts.

(9) Join LinkedIn Groups that add to your professional network.

With fierce competition for jobs, college students need to present a good image to future employers.

Having a professional online presence will provide an excellent gateway for more employment opportunities.

Management guru Tom Peters explains, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be the head marketer for the brand called You.”

This article demonstrated that an effective LinkedIn profile can be utilized to showcase a student’s potential to future employers and increase his/her personal brand by providing him/her with more career connections.

Creating a profile with an “All-Star” appeal can garnish the more rewarding accomplishments. If individuals take the necessary time to plan their LinkedIn profile, they will have the best chance of success. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

About Dr. Daryl Green:

Currently Dr. Green teaches business courses on campus and acts as the department chair for that college.

In 2016, Dr. Green retired from the DOE, where he worked in the Environmental Management Program for over 27 years.

He is the author of the Amazon.com Hit Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students During Economic Turbulence. For more information, please visit http://www.darylgreen.org.

Check out future issues of the Bison for more professional tips.

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