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LinkedIn rep advises ASU students on new job market

John Hill addresses candidates at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A top representative for LinkedIn presented Tuesday new techniques for amplifying job searches for potential candidates at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business.

John Hill, LinkedIn's so-called "higher education evangelist," has been teaching potential job candidates how to augment the available tools provided by the Internet in order to help create a network of relationships. Hill discussed how to brand and build upon an individual's skills in the professional marketplace, while offering advice to MBA students, alums and other attendees.

According to Hill, there are three basic principles LinkedIn users should remember when utilizing this social networking site to self-brand, self-market and self-promote a professional network. The first tip referred to formulating an integrated system prior of any potential employment opportunities.

"Build your network before you need it so it's there when you do," Hill explained. "Going back to my background as director of alumni career services, I saw a lot of people who were in an industry for 10, 15, even 20 years. All of a sudden, they had to change jobs. They had to change industries. They hadn't built that network, that social credit that they could tap into to create opportunities for themselves going forward. So essentially, they had to start from scratch and, in the job search process, that's not where you want to start. You want to have that built-in ahead of time."

Hill said that the second key component dealt with building a "quality network" rather than a "quantity network" on a professional tool such as LinkedIn.

"Social media, in general, has made it really easy to connect with anybody," Hill said. "We are a professional platform, so wherever business takes place, we want you connect in kind based on that."

Hill said that the final and most important principle was to "dream big" in expansive locations such as ASU, adding, "We have career trajectories from 160,000 people who graduated from Arizona State University on this platform."

Hill explained that these three key principles directly translate to LinkedIn's Profile 2.0. This latest representation of profiles presents all users with a new-look system on this social media outlet.

"One of the things we are starting to do is capture the personal brand," Hill said, while noting that every professional association attached to an individual user revolves around this networking device.

Hill provided a number of examples with regard to the benefits of LinkedIn profile pages. The site maps out an analysis of the individual's professional brand, which includes the shared content, professional connections, community connections as well as the companies being followed. Hill added that LinkedIn promotes a personal, self-established summary of the user along with details concerning education and employment history, test scores, honors, awards and organizations.

Hill also noted that he believes the professional details promoted via LinkedIn have begun to pay dividends to its users like ASU's MBA students, explaining, "Your personal brand is starting to become your job-search currency."

Knowing how users are connected to each other is a key aspect of LinkedIn, according to Hill. Hill explained that the power of LinkedIn stems from the quality of relationships. However, Hill noted that quality relationships require four major affiliations including family and friends, university ties, shared work experience and volunteerism.

Hill said that once a quality network is established, opportunities start to arise out of what he referred to as a "weak tie," or a connection of a connection.

"Eight-five percent of job opportunities are going to come out of a connection," Hill explained. "It's not who you know it's who they know."

This directly related to LinkedIn's marketing dashboard. Hill said that a user with approximately 50 affiliates has the ability to reach out to the 2,678 CEOs from ASU, for instance. With around 30 affiliates, a user can access the alumni tool to research where the company leader lives and works as well as what they do.

"Everything here is clickable," Hill said regarding this tool. "It's malleable."

From there, a CEO can respond one of four ways: The CEO can d nothing, share the candidate with their network, recommend the user for available career prospects or refer the individual for potential employment openings.

Yet despite the vast improvements in the world of online communication, face-to-face and phone-to-phone communications are irreplaceable and invaluable skills needed throughout an individual's entire career, according to Hill, who also noted that this type of communication can be most effective through the utilization of LinkedIn's available network of information.

"Face-to-face, phone-to-phone are not going to get replaced," Hill explained. "Those are skills you need for the lifetime of your career."

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