By Ryan McFadden
Students at East Stroudsburg University posed for professional headshots last Thursday to serve as new LinkedIn profile pictures. Approximately 95 percent of hiring managers use LinkedIn to make decisions that would’ve been based on a resume and cover letter in the past.
Now employers find an applicant’s professional background on an online networking site that gives both parties a platform from which they may discover and contact each other.
“This is the second LinkedIn event we have had this academic year because we understand the importance and impact it can have for our students in their future career endeavors,” said Debbie Smith, Career Advisor at ESU.
LinkedIn is the number one professional networking platform and an excellent way for our students to build their professional profile and learn about available opportunities in their field.
There are more than 380 million LinkedIn users in more than 200 countries around the globe. It is hands down the most popular professional social networking platform in existence today. LinkedIn provides users with a news feed, people and brands to follow and networking opportunities galore.
While Facebook and Twitter accounts express an individual’s likes and interests, LinkedIn shows employers how much a potential employee has accomplished, and what kind of impact hiring them would have on their company.
In fact, not having a professional networking profile on a site like LinkedIn is a red flag for hiring managers.
It raises the question, what could they be hiding behind this resume and cover letter? In today’s world the image is rival to none.
Paperwork is headed for the recycling bin. More than 22,000 ESU alumni and undergraduates have a LinkedIn account. Every one of them is part of a growing trend. New networking strategies are interesting to universities such as ESU because the success of the students reflects the quality of the institution.
Any student applying for a position at reputable company with only paperwork is at a disadvantage to the rest of the crowd whose individualities can be sampled in their own personal networking profile. The demands of this futuristic workplace require prospective employees to stay on top of the digital wave, making use of the technology at their disposal as best they can will help their chances at being hired.
Remaining ahead of the curve takes ingenuity. Now that almost everyone has a professional networking profile, the best way for prospective employees to stand out is by branding themselves as unique. In other words, not only do college students need to develop an online profile to market their skillset to potential employers, they need to do it better than their peers.
Of course, dazzling amounts of accomplishments and responsibilities give busy students an advantage over those that simply earned a degree.
There are just new ways to display a great work ethic. More than 30 ESU students showed up for the professional portrait last Thursday.
They signed in with their name and email and smiled for the camera. The participants receive the pictures in their email around one week later. ESU plans to bring the professional headshot event back next semester.
The opportunity is one students are advised not to miss because the reward for dressing up one day may be a securing a career tomorrow.
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