Empowering Student Employability by leveraging LinkedIn
With an estimated 94% of recruiters using LinkedIn (Captera, 2016) and employers regularly searching students online, having a strong digital profile is essential to boosting their employability.
Our service (Massey's Career and Employability Service) was charged with developing a LinkedIn project to give every Massey student the opportunity to develop a professional LinkedIn profile. The project involved:
- Researching student perceptions on LinkedIn and international best practice on student use of LinkedIn
- Developing a suite of tailored resources for New Zealand and Massey students.To get a taste of one of the resource videos developed specifically with our students in mind click here (Launching your Career with LinkedIn video).
- Holding a series of in-person and online (catering for our distance students) workshops
- Holding on-campus events, using current student photographers, taking professional profile pictures which can then be uploaded to the student's profile.
(Picture of students that attended one of the LinkedIn workshops)
Demonstrated benefit to tertiary students, graduate employers and the tertiary institution.
- Boosting skills and confidence of students: 94% felt more confident in developing a professional profile after attending a workshop/ tutorial
- Enhancing students digital profile.Over 150 students had a professional profile picture taken they could upload
- Direct linkages to employers and alumni. The Massey Uni Careers group doubled in size, linking current students to alumni and prospective employers on LinkedIn.
For graduate employers:
- Opportunity to connect with prospective students and graduates. The Massey Uni Careers LinkedIn group helped (employers who were Alumni) to connect and share with current students.
- Increased exposure. Employers were encouraged to connect to students on LinkedIn and also helped present in the LinkedIn skills workshops
To the tertiary institution:
- Providing an innovative, tailored project focused on employability. Particularly relevant given increasing emphasis on employability amongst policy makers and funders.
- Enhanced exposure at national and international forums via the presentation of findings and best practice, such as recent presentations at the Career Development Association of NZ.
- Increased linkages with other New Zealand and overseas universities (see below under innovation) Reference: Longridge, D., Hooley, T. & Staunton, T. (2013). Building online employability: A guide for academic departments. International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby.
Potentially or currently benefits the NAGCAS organisation, its members and the career development industry
There are a number of benefits to NAGCAS and its members:
- Access to best practice materials via a presentation encouraging the effective use of LinkedIn (and digital technologies) to enhance employability.
- Ideas for members around how they can use and keep abreast of digital platforms such as LinkedIn in helping our students
- For the Career Development Industry as a whole, hopefully via best practice use of LinkedIn, giving us a louder voice in how we can use digital technology to help students successfully move into the labour market.
A degree of innovation
With a small team (of 4) for almost 40,000 students, we needed to be innovative to serve the needs of the maximum number of clients with limited resources.
As Massey is a cross-campus university, with the largest distance student population of any New Zealand university, we needed to factor these students into the project.
- Using webinars (Adobe Connect sessions) to extend the offerings of LinkedIn workshops to our significant distance student population.
- Involving current students in the creation of material to ensure relevance as well as helping them to develop skills in design, video production and using LinkedIn.
- Collaborating with other parts of Massey University including academic staff, alumni and business units. We worked with a part of the university called OpenLab (http://www.openlab.ac.nz) to help work with us in the design of material and to run LinkedIn focus groups.
- Building relationships with other tertiary providers in New Zealand. We partnered with Unitec to research student use of LinkedIn. We connected internationally with the University of Derby to share findings and challenges around supporting students.