In an effort to lure more young people to its professional network, LinkedIn built a standalone app specifically for college students.
The app helps students quickly create a profile (if they don’t already have one), find career paths and job postings that relate to their major, and connect with alumni who studied the same topic. The app is appropriately named “LinkedIn Students.”
LinkedIn’s challenge is that its product is most useful once you already have a job. Or at least know a bunch of other people who do. Oftentimes, college students have neither, which makes the idea of creating a profile seem overwhelming, said Ada Yu, a product manager at LinkedIn.
So LinkedIn is trying to appeal to young people with an app that’s less cumbersome than its flagship app. LinkedIn users can already do most of what the college app offers in LinkedIn’s main app; it’s just more simplified now.
“The number one [complaint] is ‘I’m not yet professional. Why should I have a professional network?’” said Yu. “That’s a really big barrier because it’s daunting for them. They don’t have that network yet and they don’t know what to put on their profile.”
More than 40 million college users already have LinkedIn accounts; its the company’s fastest growing user demographic. The focus on college makes sense: LinkedIn wants every business professional in the world to have an account. The earlier young people find value LinkedIn, the more likely they are to use it later in life, too.
Not all young people, though. The focus on college means LinkedIn is pulling back from a handful of products it offered high school students, including its university rankings and university explorer products. “We want to do fewer things better versus all these disparate parts,” a spokesperson told Re/code.
Two things worth noting:
- Lynda.com, the online library of classes LinkedIn bought for $1.5 billion last year, is noticeably missing from the app. It seems likely that LinkedIn will add online classes to the app at some point.
- LinkedIn can make money from this app. Once students scroll past the daily job and alumni recommendations, they get to an “extra credit” section which will include some branded content. LinkedIn will launch with branded content from J.P. Morgan. What LinkedIn will not do, however, is recommend career paths or job openings in exchange for cash. All suggested jobs will be based on LinkedIn’s algorithm, Yu said.
The app is available for free beginning Monday on both iOS and Android.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.