I attended the Leadership Summit Conference at Grand Valley State University this past weekend and found myself listening to a presentation about LinkedIn, the largest professional network on the Internet.
I was fascinated that 150 million members from more than 200 countries are constantly searching for new employees or new employment opportunities. According to the LinkedIn company overview at linkedin.com, their members conducted over 4.2 billion professional oriented searches in 2011. As of Dec. 31, 2011, college students are the fastest growing demographic to get LinkedIn. So, I am encouraging you all to create one, if you haven’t already. You never know who will view your page, offer you a position or expand your professional network.
I don’t mean create an account and never upload any information on it. Actively use it. Upload a decent headshot. You’ll also want to add your professional experiences, your skills, and your past employment. Proper LinkedIn etiquette also includes posting a LinkedIn update, not “status,” once a week. Your update should not include your plans for the weekend or what you had for lunch, but something related to your professional goals or career. This could include a news article, information about a specific company or an interesting fact you’d like to share with all of your connections, not necessarily your “friends.”
Students without a LinkedIn are like students who don’t use Prezi, the zoom version of PowerPoint. If you haven’t heard of either, it’s time you got off Facebook and looked into other virtual means of communication. There is much more to the social media world than Facebook or Twitter.
I think it’s time we put our hours of mindless Internet searching to good use.
Currently, all 100 Fortune Companies have a LinkedIn. Chances are some of us students want to work for a large company one day. Why not get your name online right now? It doesn’t matter how many connections you have on LinkedIn either. What really matters is how many strong relationships you can make. That may make the difference between being hired for a job or not.
You can also view jobs related to your interests on LinkedIn. Hundreds of thousands of job applications have been submitted using Apply With LinkedIn. Pretty soon the paper resume won’t even be needed. More and more job applications are strictly online. It’s about time we all got with the program and expanded our social media expertise to the next level. It’s time to get LinkedIn.