Q. I have been trying to guide my college-aged daughter in her job search and highly recommended that she join LinkedIn. She replied that LinkedIn is not used by her generation—it is for “old people.” I looked up LinkedIn statistics and she might be right. Only 24 percent of users are college age, and the largest age group of users is 30- to 49-years old. So does she need to be on LinkedIn?
A. One of the arguments you might use for encouraging your daughter to have a LinkedIn profile is that the 30 to 49 age group corresponds to the age of most managers. A study by the Harvard Business Review in 2012 cited 42 as the average age of those in leadership training. So the people she would be reporting to and interviewing with are very likely on LinkedIn.
Another reason to be on LinkedIn is the power it gives her to check out people who already work at the companies where she is applying or having interviews. In most cases, she does not need to link to them to find out their background, the correct way to spell their names, and their positions in the company. She might also check if the company itself has a LinkedIn posting. The information she gathers will let her better target her resume, ask more informed questions (and give more informed answers) at her interview, and help her decide whether the company is a good fit for her.
Finally, she can add information to her LinkedIn profile that is not on her resume. For example, she might create a link to a paper she wrote, a portfolio she put together, or a blog she posted, or she might give more details on a job or college course than would fit on a resume.
LinkedIn is one tool in a job search toolbox. That being said, if your daughter is making strides with a stellar resume, college-age networking, and other job-hunting tools, I am not sure it is worth fussing about LinkedIn.
If she does decide to go on LinkedIn, she should make sure that her profile is well written; bolsters but does not duplicate her resume; and includes a strong list of skills, which are keywords for recruiters and hiring managers who use LinkedIn to find candidates. At Robin’s Resumes®, we write resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles for college graduates and also offer career counseling; we would be happy to work with your daughter.