As a Millennial, it comes naturally to me to be up on all of the latest social networking trends. So I was perturbed to discover that although LinkedIn was officially launched in 2003, I wasn’t aware of its existence until much later, during my junior year of college. This may be because having a LinkedIn profile appeals to working professionals — not the demographic other social networking websites, such as Facebook or Tumblr, are marketed to.
More and more, the phrases social networking and working professionals are becoming closely linked, and those two phrases define LinkedIn. That’s what makes it exciting for me.
Like me, you may have some questions about LinkedIn and how to use it. Here are the three main questions that popped into my head as I began to explore the networking site.
What Do I Put on My LinkedIn Profile?
Your Linkedin profile is essentially your resume, detailing your work experience and educational background. Unlike a paper resume, it is easily accessible, easily adjustable, and it allows you to expand your resume beyond simply listing your experience. LinkedIn allows you to display and link to projects you have worked on, articles you have written, ads you have designed, and papers you have published. It is an archive of your achievements, located in a single place for potential employers and contacts to view. My LinkedIn profile lists awards I’ve won and links to websites that I have written articles for, which are not as easy to showcase on a conventional resume.
Who Will Look at My Profile?
The major purpose of LinkedIn is to network with professionals in your field. You create a contact list by invitation — inviting people to connect with you, and asking to connect with others. Connections should be meaningful, since networking usually requires a personal connection. A coworker may recommend you to their brother who is opening a business, a professor may recommend you to their friends — but it is unlikely that a complete stranger will recommend you for anything, or that their recommendation will mean anything.
My first connections were professors and fellow students. LinkedIn is an excellent way to keep in touch with professors, even after graduating. LinkedIn also has a built-in recommendation requester, so it’s even more important to keep in touch with people who know you and can attest to your work.
What Can I Do After My Profile Is Up?
Connect with companies you are interested in. Join groups that are relevant to your interests. Because I am an aspiring writer, I’ve connected with a number of literary non-profit organizations and joined writing groups.
Maintain an active presence on LinkedIn. Look through job listings — many companies will list jobs only on LinkedIn. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is always detailed, professional, and up-to-date. LinkedIn notifies potential employers of profiles that meet their hiring requirements, and as long as you keep on top of your profile, there’s a good chance that you will attract an employer.
LinkedIn is a great resource for college students, and it can give you a leg up in the job market by putting you in direct contact with potential employers. Don’t slack off. Get on LinkedIn today!
Photo Source: flickr.com