Finding a Career Track in LinkedIn Profiles
College students increasingly view their time on campus as a hoop to jump through on their way to a job, yet many have no idea where they will land.
While previous generations’ career tracks were simple and mostly linear, now entire industries expand and contract at alarming speed. In this new world, government statistics move too slowly to capture employment dynamics. What jobs are available in a particular occupation? What type of experiences do I need to get a job in those professions? What did people who have those jobs study in college?
As we live more of our lives online and use social media to update friends, family and colleagues on our job moves, much of what we need to know about the changing labor market is crowd sourced in real time. And many of those digital breadcrumbs end up in LinkedIn profiles.
The online professional networking site knows where most of its members — and there are more than 364 million of them worldwide — went to college, what they studied, where they work and what they say their skills are.
Over the last two years, this networking giant has been moving into the higher education industry, building an array of new tools for students in their search for a college and for a career. “A lot of decisions in life are not based on perfect data,” said Itamar Orgad, who leads LinkedIn’s higher education product team at its sprawling headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. “We are trying to optimize the data we have to better help the younger generation think about education and careers.”
The interrelated search engines allow anyone to essentially reverse-engineer career paths of LinkedIn members by navigating the connections between their majors, schools and careers. While only as accurate as the profiles, the results are nonetheless addictive if you’re interested in what people ended up doing with their English literature degree or where they worked before landing a great job at Google. Dive deep into profiles for details about members’ lives, their skill sets, and how they are connected to other companies and people.
Somewhat creepy? Perhaps. Useful to figuring out a career path? Maybe, although no two people are alike. Still, each click essentially draws a picture of the overlapping pathways that people do follow through their careers.
The various search tools on linkedin.com/edu are part of LinkedIn’s strategy to attract younger users, beginning in high school. In 2013, it lowered the required age of participants to 14 from 18; today, students are the network’s fastest-growing segment of users.
A handful of campuses have now partnered with LinkedIn to encourage students to use the site. Last spring at the University of California, Davis, representatives helped students build their profiles and a campus photographer took head shots for them to use online. Colleges themselves are using the service to find out where their alumni work.
为了鼓励学生使用该网站，一些大学也成为了LinkedIn的合作伙伴。今年春季在加州大学戴维斯分校(University of California, Davis)，该网站的代表帮助学生们创建了自己的用户资料，学校的摄影师也为他们拍摄了用户资料的大头照。另外，各大学也正在利用LinkedIn的服务，查询各自校友的工作情况。
Of course, the promise of big data guiding career paths has its downside. Going to college has always been about exploration, an openness to serendipity that leads to majors and careers that students never considered before discovering a great class or landing an interesting internship. Following a trail suggested by data on other people’s careers edits out the personal successes that come from carving out one’s own way.