The Importance of LinkedInStarting this Saturday, I will be an Empty Nester. Yes, there are many of you who have come before me and have transitioned to the other side. The side that no longer includes daily instructions for cleaning up rooms, walking the dog, putting shoes back in closets. The side that no longer means reminders to unplug various hair-styling devices and make sure you have your keys and please be careful on your way to school.

This fall, one of our daughters will be a senior in college and one will be entering her first year as a freshman. My daughter who will be a freshman has all the college “firsts” before her to experience: first football game, first sorority rush, first living in a college dorm, and so on. To say she is beyond happy about going away to college is a gross understatement.

My oldest daughter will be finishing her undergraduate college days and preparing for the after-college life, i.e. getting a job! (Can I get a hallelujah?Thus far she has done a fabulous job in college—taking advantage of all the things a university has to offer. She has worked as a resident advisor and sorority chair, studied abroad and had internships. She even serves as an ambassador for her school.

Now how to translate all this wonderful experience and land her dream job? (Okay, how about just a JOB.) Resources include getting to know all the Career Services folks on a first-name basis and attending each College Career Day beginning junior year. But there is another one, and this resource may very well be the ace-in-the-hole. I’m talking about LinkedIn. Believe it or not, LinkedIn is actually something taught in high school now, because it’s such a powerful tool.

89% of all recruiters report having hired someone through LinkedIn, and 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn. As our company’s recruitment director, I can tell you the days of throwing an ad in Career Builder, Monster or Craigslist are gone. Being able to translate your company’s culture in LinkedIn is the ticket. Having employees engage in meaningful dialogue with different LinkedIn groups helps establish you (and your company) as a thought leader. Your individual profile and company page are key. Think about it: What do you do the minute you apply for a job, go to a seminar or think about hiring someone? You look at their LinkedIn profile.

Your profile must include a professional quality photo, past and present jobs, a background summary, experience, organizations, honors and awards, publications, education and recommendations. It also helps to follow influencers and other companies, as these actions give a sense of what interests you.

How has LinkedIn changed your company’s recruitment strategy? Do you have empty-nester friends who’ve talked about the value of LinkedIn for their college graduate? I’m just glad I no longer have to remind someone to clean their makeup off the countertops. Now I just say, “go create a profile page!”

If you’re interested in learning more about optimizing LinkedIn to your advantage, check out some of these blog posts.

Martha Bowen – Human Resources Manager