Some 40 million university students and recent college graduates use LinkedIn, and that number is only growing. The company hasn't failed to notice.
Millennials comprise LinkedIn's fastest-growing demographic, and to keep their attention, the social network launched LinkedIn Students, an app for iOS and Android phones, on April 18. It is separate from the official LinkedIn app. Ada Yu, a Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn, describes LinkedIn Students as a "job exploration guide" for "soon-to-be college graduates" in a blog post announcing the debut.
In a video, the company lays out the functions of the app: personalized job recommendations based on a student's major and university, suggestions for alumni to connect with and curated articles on the early job search. The app bases the recommendations on data from the career trajectories of similar alumni and others across LinkedIn's 400-million-person user base. The company piloted the app at San Jose State University and the University of Central Florida.
The company said that students are desperately in need of the service. Yu cites the New York Federal Reserve's finding that 44 percent of recent graduates are underemployed and the Economic Policy Institute's reporting of a 7.2 percent unemployment rate among American recent graduates in the company's blog post.
LinkedIn has designed the app to break up the job search into manageable pieces; Yu writes that "what initially felt like an insurmountable undertaking will morph into a manageable daily to-do list." Students must create a LinkedIn profile to join and provide their college, major and graduation date. The app's interface resembles that of Tinder, with cards to swipe through that present possible occupations, articles, alumni connections and companies.
According to Forbes, career services centers can share job postings and events with LinkedIn that will appear to their specific student bodies. Students can save cards, people, jobs and articles with a favoriting feature. Forbes also reports that LinkedIn plans to do away with many of the features of the education tab of its flagship app in favor of features that more explicitly emphasize job hunting.
JP Morgan Chase has partnered with LinkedIn on the app, and the Extra Credit card within LinkedIn Students shows career-related sponsored posts from the company.