Despite more than half of recent college graduates being unemployed or underemployed, a majority of current students are not using LinkedIn as a source to find jobs, according to a new survey.
Eleanor Cartelli, associate director of marketing and communications at Boston University’s Center for Career Development, said students must make better use of LinkedIn, as it is a valuable resource for connecting with employers and finding job opportunities.
“According to LinkedIn’s data, the student and recent graduate population is the fastest growing demographic on LinkedIn,” she said. “I would agree that many students are not yet comfortable with LinkedIn, and many may be on it but are not quite sure how to best use it for career exploration or as a job search tool.”
The study, conducted by Millennial Branding and AfterCollege and released April 23, found that despite the prevalence of social media on college campuses, students are avoiding LinkedIn. Most students surveyed directly contacted their desired employers rather than indirectly contacting them through LinkedIn.
Forty-six percent of students surveyed have never used LinkedIn and those who are using it say that it is not a priority in their job search, according to the survey.
LinkedIn can have various uses including searching for job openings and for networking, Cartelli said.
“Every college student should be on LinkedIn, even if they are not actively looking for a job,” she said. “LinkedIn can be useful for the job search, but it can also be useful for exploring different career paths, which can even help when choosing a major.”
Cartelli said as it is such an important resource, BU has resources to better acquaint students with LinkedIn.
“Here at the CCD, we offer LinkedIn workshops and have a knowledgeable set of career counselors who can walk a student through setting up a strong profile and then show him or her how to use LinkedIn to research fields of interest, organizations and how to reach out and network through LinkedIn,” she said.
Stephen Quigley, a professor of public relations, said LinkedIn is a useful tool for job seekers.
“There are two sides you can look at LinkedIn, like a coin,” he said. “One side is the obvious one — it’s your business card, platform and your resume. The other side is the inbound side of it. It is a massive, global database of potentially valuable information for job seekers. It’s like Google for job seekers. It’s loaded with valuable information once you get used to using it.”
Quigley said that LinkedIn is a place where students post information such as resumes so those who are seeking certain skill sets can successfully find candidates.
“I think that the average soon-to-be college graduate is crazy not to invest substantial time and energy in LinkedIn, although some graduates will not need it because they’re already known in the employment community,” he said. “The majority of college students should use LinkedIn.”
Public relations professor Jo O’Connor said LinkedIn is one of the best social media tools for professionals.
“LinkedIn is a great resource for college students really finding work, connecting with people and networking, so the fact that almost half of population doesn’t use it is probably the reason why not many students are having as much success in finding jobs,” O’Connor said.
Mathew Fiegleman, a School of Management sophomore, said LinkedIn has been a valuable tool for him.
“I have a LinkedIn account and use it as basically an online resume, in case an employee searches for me,” he said. “Although I haven’t gotten any job offers through LinkedIn, when I applied for internships, several employers looked at my page after the interview, which LinkedIn notified me about.”
Fiegelman said LinkedIn allows him to connect with other alumni.
“LinkedIn is very useful, especially because I am in SMG,” he said. “It keeps me connected to alumni and I am able to see people’s professional lives and achievements.”
College of Arts and Sciences freshman Janki Viroja said he does not yet have a LinkedIn profile.
“I don’t have one because, as a freshman, I feel that it is a little too early and I have not really thought about it,” Viroja said. “I will probably make one in the future in hopes of networking and connecting with people.”
Zerin Scales, a junior in CAS, said LinkedIn will be more useful to him in the future.
“I have a LinkedIn account more for the business field,” he said. “I’m actually going to medical school, and so I think it would be more useful for me to show where I want to practice in the future. It’s a good look for people who want to assess who you are. I use it like a resume.”