How to use LinkedIn for higher education

By Benjamin Boivin

shutterstock_1484984144When it comes to professional networking in the digital world, LinkedIn is the place to be. From its humble launch in May 2003 to today, the planet’s largest professional network has grown to over 772 million members in more than 200 countries and territories. If you’re in your early to mid-twenties or perhaps even younger, chances are your friends are using it, your family members are using it, recruiters are using it, and your future boss has a LinkedIn profile. So for university recruiters, how can administrators and students most benefit using LinkedIn? We have the answers!

LinkedIn for targeting prospective students - graduate and undergraduate

According to Statista, over 80% of Linkedin users are between 18-34 years of age. While many of this group are likely to be a little outside the potential undergraduate student core audience, there is a huge opportunity here to reach students for graduate programs. This is especially so during the pandemic as many evaluate their future options, whether to change careers or perhaps seek further education, such as a Master's or doctorate degree. With advanced targeting options for advertising, recruiters can even target their students by graduation

Despite this, take note of emerging new trends; high school students and their parents are now beginning to join LinkedIn as a strategy to help give them an edge in the competitive admissions landscape. According to Pew Research, only 9 percent of high school students use LinkedIn, meaning those who do have a better chance of standing out from their peers.

When it comes to targeting students on LinkedIn, location is the only mandatory field. It can be used to attract regional, out-of-state, or international students to your institution. You can also choose to segment your targeted list by educational fields like member schools, fields of study, or degree offerings. With the Demographics tab in LinkedIn Campaign Manager, you’ll find in-depth information on who clicked on your ads, and if they were redirected to your website. 

While LinkedIn may not be as entertaining as Instagram or Tik Tok for attracting Generation Z students, it should still be treated as a bonafide social media platform. Make sure the team that manages your most popular social media accounts also posts student stories, career outcomes, and campus news on the university’s LinkedIn. With so many different platforms to navigate, it can be challenging to stay organized. That’s where scheduling LinkedIn posts comes in handy. Maintain a proper cadence, communicate with the same messaging voice, and maximize your team’s productivity with scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Sprinklr and HubSpot for all your LinkedIn scheduling needs. For more information on LinkedIn Ad Targeting Best Practices and scheduling posts on your university’s page, visit the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog.

LinkedIn during a global pandemic - helping your graduates get employed

Jobs are going remote, and experts predict work-from-home could be around for years experts predict work-from-home could be around for years after the novel coronavirus is long gone. For college students in certain degree fields, this is a positive thing for online internships and e-interviews for entry-level jobs. Imagine an international marketing major from Barcelona with dreams of one day working in New York City. Before 2020, this student would have to travel to the United States for an interview and uproot their entire life to move to the Big Apple. In our current globalized work environment, your students can gain NYC marketing experience from the comfort of their Barcelona living space. Sure, they won’t get to taste a famous slice of pizza, experience the hustle and bustle of Times Square, or take their lunch break in Central Park, but they can add the experience of working for a NYC-based firm to their resume. During COVID-19 and for the foreseeable future, LinkedIn opens doors to jobs worldwide, not just in a commutable distance.

LinkedIn for higher education professionals

LinkedIn Higher Education has it all from preparing students and engaging alumni, to student job portals and career hunting tips. To help students transition into the working world, LinkedIn can serve as an extension of your Career Services and Support team on campus by assisting students to develop their professional brand and explore opportunities with employers. The platform also serves as an additional alumni channel, which can attract more professionals and internship contacts to your students.

WATCH NOW: LinkedIn for Students Video

 

We have an exclusive insider tip for the in-house university marketing team. Do you have a professional photographer on campus? Looking to add more student testimonials to your marketing collateral or prospective student email campaigns? Want to help Career Services build professional LinkedIn profiles for your students?

Adding an edge to your student support services

Host a LinkedIn professional headshot day on campus.

This event is mutually beneficial for administration, staff, and students alike. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Choose a date early into the semester to avoid midterms and finals

Step 2: Contact a professional photographer to set up a spot on campus with proper lighting, temperature control and central to the Career Center (or any other suitable area)

Step 3: Ask representatives from the Career Center/Marketing team to help out with the event 

Step 4: Offer students a free, professional headshot that can be digitally sent to them within the month. This headshot can be added to their LinkedIn profile as well as a digital resume. In exchange, ask the students their name, major, graduate year, and testimonial describing their experience at your university. Also, be sure to ask for authorization to use their information for future marketing purposes. 

Sharing skills on LinkedIn  - a lifelong journey from class to the workplace

In a recent Keystone Academic blog, we provided virtual student networking tips, but LinkedIn covers the professional side of screen-to-screen communication. By searching for co-workers, classmates, professors, or friends, you can expand your network from your laptop, and people can search for you 24/7. It’s a no-brainer why so many professors share their LinkedIn profiles during the first day of class. Not only is LinkedIn a way for students to extend their hand for a virtual handshake, it’s also a great way to partake in a global career fair where every professional recruiter in the world can view your digital resume.

Like everything else in life, when you help out your connections, they are more likely to help you. One example is the “skills and endorsement” feature on the platform. If you have a classmate that’s a skilled public speaker, you can endorse their public speaking skills, and leave a detailed comment on your personal experience with the user. In return, that friend can endorse you for one of your skills. It’s a win-win that encourages collaboration over competition in the workforce.

For an even more robust digital resume, LinkedIn partners with online open course marketplaces like Udemy, Coursera and Skillshare, as well as their own LinkedIn Learning platform, allowing professionals to seamlessly add certifications and completed course credentials to their LinkedIn profile. High school students looking to test out their major before the first day of college might consider taking one of these e-learning courses. College students hoping to dive even deeper into a specific curriculum can take a detailed course before they start applying for internships and jobs. A handy tool to help suggest to incoming cohorts before they arrive or even as they advance through their degree.

In an ever-changing world, everyone needs a connection (a link, so to speak) and LinkedIn is a strong platform that can help lead you to your next batch of students or even strengthen the connection between current students, alumni and campus! 

Topics: Student Recruitment Networking

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