Louise Burne explains how setting up a LinkedIn profile will greatly help your chances in the job market.
LinkedIn is a website that is often associated with the professional world and those who have established themselves in their chosen careers.  
 
However, this is not necessarily the case.  LinkedIn is, essentially, a social networking site - it is not that different from Facebook or Twitter.   
 
LinkedIn’s purpose is to allow people to promote themselves.  It allows people to post about their education, previous jobs, honours, awards and skills.
 
It is a social networking site designed to allow people to show others in their line of work, or potential line of work, what they can do and how they have done it before.
 
For many students, opening a LinkedIn profile may not be something that has even crossed their minds. Students may feel that as they still have their head in the books, they would not have enough education, career history or achievements to put on their LinkedIn profile. 
 
However, as LinkedIn is becoming such an important factor in recruitment and the professional world, there are many reasons why students should open a profile. 
 
It looks good 
A student having a LinkedIn account makes them look professional.  Having a LinkedIn account shows potential employees that you want to be part of the professional world and are willing to make an effort to be involved.  
 
If someone goes to the effort of setting up a career orientated social networking profile, it shows that they want to be involved in the working world and are actively looking for employment opportunities, which will be a major plus for potential employers. 
 
Connections 
Connections are vital. No matter what line of work you are interested in, it is often a case that who you know is more important than what you know. 
 
LinkedIn allows users to make connections on the website, a feature that is important for anyone looking to get their foot on the career ladder.  
 
Having connections in the working world is becoming more and more important so LinkedIn is a great place to start building these valuable connections.  
 
Self-promotion 
You are your own best salesperson.  The aim of the game is to list as many achievements, honours and skills as you can.  Think of it as an extension to your CV - no employer wants to read a long CV.
 
Mentioning your LinkedIn page on your CV allows an employer to find out more about you if they want to.  A short CV and a friendly nudge towards your LinkedIn will be more effective than a 5 page CV.
 
It's not Facebook 
You don't want potential employers judging you on those pictures of you downing shots on your 6th year holiday. 
 
LinkedIn allows you to create an employer-friendly social networking site, where they see the professional, polished, perfect version of you. 
 
LinkedIn is a free service that allows anyone to open a profile.  Whether your head is still stuck in the books or you’re actively looking for employment, it is a great idea to start a page sooner rather than later.