Social Media Helps Cedarville Students Begin Careers

by Victoria Stearns, Public Relations Writer

With 1.6 million college students graduating each year in the United States, competition can be fierce for securing the best positions in the workplace. Understanding this competiveness, Cedarville University’s career center is implementing a new social media strategy that could give its graduates an advantage.
The new initiative, the LinkedIn Connection, is expected to help future college graduates secure a position soon after graduation. According to Jeff Reep, director of career services, a class on using LinkedIn is a requirement for seniors who are majoring in engineering; juniors majoring in business, and freshmen education students. This requirement began this year.
Reep believes strongly in the importance of developing relationships with organizations and hiring managers prior to graduation. Ken Rucker, associate director of career services, teaches the LinkedIn Connection segment because the career services office understands that a strong academic background isn’t always the most important factor in securing a first career position.
“I’ve worked with students with a 3.0 grade point average who did a much better job of developing relationships with potential employers and that’s what helped them get the job over a 4.0 student,” said Reep. “In today’s culture it’s all about developing relationships and convincing potential employers of your ability to connect with people and get the job done.”

Cedarville has also implemented a LinkedIn photo booth for all of its career fairs. Participants, at each fair can get a professional photo taken, free of charge, for their LinkedIn page. The first career fair of the year is October 8 from 11-2:30 in the Doden Field House. The fair is open to the public.

When the job force gets crowded with the large number of college graduates, the education Cedarville University is teaching with LinkedIn could be the difference in getting a meaningful job. Cedarville’s placement rate of 94.7% is recognized nationally as being one of the highest.
“It’s never too early to begin networking for the first job,” said Reep. “LinkedIn is the ‘professional version of Facebook.’ Professionals all over the world use this tool so why shouldn’t college students?”

Reep has his students engaged in creating profile accounts and they’re buying into the value of this social media tool. The course has become so popular that the “social media element” may become a requirement for other courses at Cedarville.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,620 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings.