Wednesday, November 28, 2007

LinkedIn: org integration proposal

For the social media organizational integration proposal, student Nina Eyrich suggested that the UGA Career Center begin using LinkedIn. The idea that students on the hunt for a job or internship could better showcase their skills & portfolio, plug in to the job databases that are a part of site & benefit from social networking was great. I really liked the idea that the Career Services staff should put up their own LinkedIn resumes, then "friend" UGA students -- that way someone looking for a UGA grad could just go to the Career Center person's profile & browse his or her contacts to find a good candidate. This was the only LinkedIn proposal, but the way it streamlined a process for the organization is among the things that made this LinkedIn proposal stand out.

The proposal she turned in follows.

Organizational Integration Proposal: LinkedIn

Employers want an idea of the people they are considering for a position. Harnessing the power of Google, it is now almost expected that an employer will search for the online profiles of applicants. With the increasing use of social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace, anyone with an online profile must be aware of how it may affect their chances of being hired.

The University Of Georgia Career Center offers a variety of different services to help current students as well as alumni with their careers. One-on-one meetings with career advisors, resume critiques, career series and mock interviews are only a few of the programs offered. The Career Center particularly emphasizes the importance of how students present themselves during an interview; however, currently there are no programs that advise students about the creation of online profiles. If the Career Center wants to continue in their successful preparation of University of Georgia students into their careers, it should consider the adoption of social networking site, LinkedIn.

Founded in 2004, LinkedIn is a social networking site where professionals from all industries, including educational institutions can enhance their business connections. Creating an online profile is free and as of November 2007, LinkedIn had more than 16 million registered users. The site allows people to create online profiles similar to resumes that highlight their professional experiences, while connecting with other professionals. Profiles can be constantly updated, and the more details you provide, the more complete your network becomes as your compatibility with other LinkedIn users increases. LinkedIn also allows profiles to link to other online tools, such as a person’s professional and personal blog or photo sharing site; a simple Google name search will return any existing LinkedIn profiles.

Once a profile has been created a user can than:

      • Search jobs, people, and additional career opportunities with career search engines such as CareerBuilder
      • Employers can list available positions as well as search for possible applicants
      • Prospective employees can review the profiles of companies and current employees
      • Participate in Q&A Forums about jobs and career moves
      • Determine the success of an industry by looking at past and current employees of the fields top firms

The University’s current system, DAWGTrak is similar to LinkedIn in connecting students and employers. Comparatively, DAWGTrak is much more restrictive. Companies must be familiar with and then seek out the Career Center to post their openings on DAWGTrak, which is only open to current students and some alumni. LinkedIn would allow students to expand their career options outside of the university, by taking an active role in seeking out future employment opportunities. Instead of uploading a written resume that companies than must download, a LinkedIn profile serves as a person’s resume.

Implementation of LinkedIn would not be instantaneous and would require time to learn about the different applications available. The first step is educating all employees at the career center, specifically career advisors about LinkedIn. A profile for the Career Center, as well as the career advisors should be created so that they can start creating a network with students and associated employers. The final step in implementing LinkedIn as a career center resource is educating students through:

      • Pamphlets on how to create a LinkedIn profile
      • LinkedIn information sessions with PowerPoint presentations and panels
      • Walk-In hours with advisors for questions specifically regarding LinkedIn
      • Online flash tutorials on the Career Center Web site

Ultimately success will be measured in the extent and growth of the Career Center’s LinkedIn network. LinkedIn provides an update percentage rating on the extent of a profile’s network with a goal of 100%, as well as tips to reach that goal. One method of increasing a profile’s network connections as well as a separate success measurement is recommendations. Students and employers can leave comments on a profile as a recommendation of the persons skills and qualities. The more recommendations a profile receives the higher its network percentage, and more appealing a profile is to prospective connections. LinkedIn also tracks a profile’s success by region and industry. Having the Career Center’s primary location (Athens, Ga.) as a profile’s top region would be an added marker of success. The markers of success mentioned in this proposal are not extensive as LinkedIn continually adds new features that can be measured in the future.

Social networking sites will be continually changing, and LinkedIn is no exception. As long as the use and success of the site is continually monitored, adding LinkedIn to the University of Georgia’s Career Center extensive resources can only aid students in furthering their future careers.

Note: this proposal was created for as a part of a student project in class (ADPR 5990) & is no way an indication of what the organization is planning on doing regarding social media. Students selected clients & social media tools on their own based on their personal interests.

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