I've read only 15% of college graduates walk away from school with a job. The number is even smaller for students who find a job in the career path they chose. Combine that with thousands in student debt and the first few months after graduation is a stressful time for those students and their family.
LinkedIn, the social network for business has a treasure trove of information to help anyone network with people in their chosen fields but perhaps its greatest tool is "LinkedIn University". That's what I'll call it for now.
LinkedIn University is an off-shoot of the website that aggregates information for LinkedIn members from a particular college or university. This helps students and grads find like-minded fellow alumni who might be able to help them get a foot in the door at their company. It works like this:
Each institution has its own LinkedIn page. Go see for yourself. There is a tab on the page which allows you to see current students and graduates of the school and their LinkedIn profile. You can reach out to any of them to make a contact but LinkedIn University does a great job in helping you find the right person.
The page shows not only the names but you can choose a city, employer and position or job.
Let's look at an example from my alma mater, Carson Newman University. (It gets foggy at Mossy Creek!)
By choosing the alumni tool I see all of the cities where my fellow alumni are located. I can then see cities where graduates now reside. So let's say I want to move to Atlanta, Georgia, I can see how many people live there. It also shows the companies with the most CN graduates. By selecting the first company (AT&T) I can see that there are several engineers, several in sales and several in IT working there. I can then see the LinkedIn profiles of those graduates and can send them a request to connect.
By looking at their profile and clicking on their employer I'm taken to that employer's LinkedIn jobs page which shows job openings and requirements. Should I want to apply for a position I can connect with one of those CN grads to see if they might be able to help me get a foot in the door.
As you can see, LinkedIn University is a valuable tool for job searches.
But for every great thing about the site is the bad, and there's plenty of bad to go around on the site.
For one thing, LinkedIn calls this website LinkedIn University in some places, including the URL, but has also named it "LinkedIn Alumni Tool", LinkedIn for Higher Education, LinkedIn Students and a couple of others. You cannot access it easily from your LinkedIn profile either. You must go to www.university.linkedin.com or search for your alma mater's page.
LinkedIn also has a companion app called "LinkedIn Students" but I found it even more difficult to use than the website with far less helpful information.
That's a shame too as LinkedIn is the best social network for professionals looking to advance their careers.
LinkedIn University, or whatever you choose to call it, works not only for recent college graduates but for any LinkedIn member.