One of my goals as a teacher is to increase students’ engagement with social media. I believe that students should be more proficient in using Twitter and LinkedIn. I started to assign Twitter assignments a few semesters ago but this semester I decided to get more serious about LinkedIn. So I designed a few LinkedIn-related assignments to increase students adoption of this Professional Social Network. This week I asked students to create or enhance their LinkedIn profile. I showed students videos that explain what LinkedIn is and how students can benefit from it. I asked them to post a professional picture, write a summary, add their education and work experience, add 10 connections, ask 3 recommendations, and follow 3 companies. I intend to give them another assignment that asks them to post comments to discussions on their discussion group and connect their posts to their Twitter account so they know how to integrate the two platforms.
My experience shows that many students avoid LinkedIn because they are still in the mindset that to get a job you need to send your resume to a particular company or post it on a website and wait till you receive a call back. LinkedIn requires students to become more proactive and many are not ready for it. However, recent research shows that LinkedIn generates more than 50% of its revenue from recruiters. In my opinion this is a missed opportunity for students if they do not learn how to utilize this medium for their advantage.
I did a short study on whether and how students utilize LinkedIn and it showed that many of them are very reluctant to send a message to somebody they don’t know on LinkedIn, even if they have an account. However, students applying for a job can contact a person from that organization to ask questions and may get tips on how to write a cover letter. They can also learn about the organization and look into the backgrounds of people that work in the positions they apply for.
I think that students don’t realize the potential of LinkedIn and how they can integrate their LinkedIn activities with traditional job/internship search.
Let me know if you do any activities with students on LinkedIn.