LinkedIn for students

In my casual surveys of architecture students from first year to final, I’ve been surprised to discover how few engage professionally with social media. While Facebook is ubiquitous and many have Instagram accounts jammed full of selfies, there is little interest to extend this activity into the professional sphere.

This is the 5th of eight articles exploring the major social media outlets, how I engage with them, and how they might be of interest to students. An archive of the series can be accessed here.

Social media

LinkedIn
Warwick Mihaly
Connections: 382
Joined: April 2011
Total users: 100 million[1]

Purpose: LinkedIn is a virtual resume and professional networking tool. It also functions a little like Facebook, with a rolling feed of content posted by your network.

Community: As a business owner, I don’t get much value out of LinkedIn. I’m unlikely to be on the lookout for a new job opportunity in the near (or distant) future, and my welfare is not supported by an employer. I’m connected to many individuals within my network on other social media outlets also, however LinkedIn is not my preferred portal in which to engage with them.

These days, most of my new connection requests are from building industry suppliers who I imagine want me to specify their products. I have to confess I resent these, but am always happy to connect with the odd architecture student or graduate who sends a request.

Posting: As with Facebook, I rarely post directly to LinkedIn. Panfilocastaldi does so automatically, I occasionally make comments, and I’ve had a few direct messaging conversations. I see my LinkedIn network primarily as another audience for my blog activity, and an intermittent source of news.

Profile: When I first started using LinkedIn, I put in a lot of effort to fill out my profile: education history, past jobs, current projects etc. I think this dedication sprung from an obsessive compulsive desire to complete things, but my profile has become less current as I’ve lost interest in the platform.

For students: Though LinkedIn is best suited to the highly mobile, corporatised tech and finance industries, the same goal of professional networking still applies to architecture.[2] Use it as a companion to your traditional resumé, and connect with architecture studios where you might like to work. As with other social media sites, being active is the most important aim.

As an aside, LinkedIn doesn’t permit stalking in the way Facebook does, as it pops up alerts on your page whenever someone visits. Perhaps you can use this function to get noticed.

Good examples:

  • Petar Petrov. Graduate architect at Bates Smart (also a past student of mine)
  • Luke Bonham. Graduate architect at Metier 3 (also a past student of mine)
  • Kurt Ballener. Architecture student at Melbourne University (also a past student of mine), and always up to something interesting

Importance:
2 / 10 for me
7 / 10 for you


Footnotes:

  1. Leading social networks worldwide as of January 2016Statista; January 2016
  2. Between them, tech and finance represent around 20% of LinkedIn users. By comparison, the entire construction sector only represents 3%, of which I imagine architecture is an even smaller minority. Source: State of LinkedInVincos; 2011.

Image:

  1. LinkedIn, logo copyright LinkedIn. Composition by author.

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