“What’s your favorite social media platform?” was a Tweet I received last week from a DePaul grad student. She was referring to the PR Week survey of its Global Power Book of PR leaders.
That survey ranked Twitter and Facebook as the key social media platforms for business, followed by LinkedIn. Most prefer Twitter as a rapid-response and news delivery platform, and they feel Facebook does a good job of bringing people together. LinkedIn comes in as a strong third place finisher.
While I mostly use Twitter and Facebook, I rate LinkedIn as the single most important platform for soon-to-graduate students and job seekers. I encourage students in my classes to set a minimum goal of 500+ LinkedIn connections prior to graduation. Besides well-written profiles, they can use LinkedIn to demonstrate interest in the careers they are pursuing. The latter is achieved easily by simply following influencers and companies that underscore your career interests.
Confirming the growing role of LinkedIn in shaping future careers, The New York Times indicates LinkedIn now is becoming increasingly important for high school students pursuing highly competitive college admissions. The Technophobia column says Kaplan Test Prep recently surveyed 400 college admissions officers, 40% of whom said they had visited applicants’ social media pages. The article provides testimonials from students now in college who began their LinkedIn accounts after the enrollment age was lowered from 18 to 14. One student said he follows colleges to which he plans to apply. And colleges do notice, just as a majority of employers check out LinkedIn profiles of prospective job candidates.
Bottom Line: Every college student should build a solid social media presence, knowing prospective employers will be checking it out. And, now even high school juniors and seniors should consider using LinkedIn as a differentiator when applying for college.