Social media site LinkedIn entered the realm college marketing this week with new university pages. Once universities sign on and the social media network completes its alumni data collection, LinkedIn hopes to become one of the most powerful research engines for college seekers.
LinkedIn is a networking site for job seekers and professionals. Users’ profiles serve as their online resumes. Through the site, users can apply for jobs and maintain contact with professionals in their fields for future job opportunities or recommendations.
LinkedIn’s 240 million members all have education information in their profiles, and users as young as 14 now have access to that data through the new university pages. The site is easy to use, and high school students can instantly see where tens of thousands of alumni live, what they do, and where they work. Universities themselves can create profiles to further market their schools.
The idea grew out of the struggle LinkedIn executive Christina Allen observed her daughter having when it came time to choose a college. “I knew that hidden in millions of member profiles were powerful insights about the career outcomes of educations from universities around the world,” Allen said. Students shopping for colleges can search for profiles of alumni in their area, in their desired fields, or at their dream company.
But the information’s usefullness depends largely on the number of alumni with active, and updated, LinkedIn profiles. The data from smaller schools is particularly vulnerable to skewed results if only a few alumni, or only those in certain career fields, particiapte in the social network.
Most Christian universities don’t have personalized pages yet, but LinkedIn still accesses the data of all student and alumni users. WORLD checked the stats on a few: Biola University, Liberty University, Wheaton College, Grove City College, and Bob Jones University.
Biola University’s largest employer beside itself is Starbucks, with 32 students and alumni. Clicking on Starbucks on the graph narrows the search to those alumni, with links to their profiles. Another 21 students and alumni of the California college work at Apple, and a simple click shows most aren’t simply Apple Store geniuses.
Liberty University’s largest employers beside itself are every branch of the military except the Coast Guard. Entrepreneurship is the no. 4 area of career interest, and outside Lynchburg, Va., most alumni live in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.
More than 25 percent of Wheaton College’s alumni still live in Chicago, and education is the most popular career path.
Many Grove City College alumni end up at banks, and sales is the top career path. Grove City is perhaps the most industry-oriented school we looked at, with fewer in education and social service-related fields.
At Bob Jones University, education is the top field for graduates, and entrepreneurship is no. 3. Outside Atlanta and Greenville, S.C., alumni are most likely to live in Detroit.