In today’s economy, students and young professionals share a common fear. Their fear is whether or not they will find a job. With the presidential debate currently going on, the candidates for president are constantly promising to make new jobs. This does nothing but make the current students worry that there are no jobs now and may not be any in the future. Fortunately, there are online tools that can help graduates and undergraduates worry a bit less. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site. It is said to be the best investment you will ever make in your career. It is used by individuals and businesses for networking, job searching, hiring, and much more.
Recently, I have started an internship with the company Digital Ethos. They have asked me if I was signed up with the website LinkedIn and were shocked when I said I was not. Immediately I signed up after receiving their reaction. I could see how important LinkedIn was right away. LinkedIn is a great way to establish your identity on the web. With 175 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is clearly a striving network that helps individuals and small businesses to large corporations. With LinkedIn, you can exchange ideas, knowledge, and opportunities with a broad network of professionals. Your LinkedIn account is the first impression someone gets when they google you, this can be a huge benefit if your LinkedIn account is up to date and well put together. Your LinkedIn page can either make you or break you.
Signing up for LinkedIn is easy. You simply put in your full name and your email address. From then on, LinkedIn gives you step by step instructions on how to get your account up and running. This includes indicating where you are currently employed and what type of job. Another cool feature of LinkedIn lets you indicate what field you are in. It also asks you where you have been employed in the past and for how long. This can give your future employer a general knowledge of where you worked and what your skill-sets could be. Your education also holds a section on your LinkedIn profile, which can include when you were in high school and in college. If you haven’t graduated from one or the other, it lets you select your anticipated graduation year. LinkedIn has a section called “Summary” which lets other users quickly learn about your background and interests. There is a different area for your skills and expertise which helps potential employers find you when they are searching for a specific knowledge-base. Recommendations on your page can carry a lot of weight. It lets your colleagues, clients, or suppliers speak on your record. Recommendations are just like reference part of your resume. You’re “snapshot” is like your web based business card. It includes your name, location, education, recommendations, education, past positions, and links to your website. Use this space efficiently and you’ll be sure to catch someone’s eye.
These days, it is so crucial for not only graduates, but undergraduates, to get their foot in the door of the career world right away. It is very important for young professionals to use LinkedIn for many reasons. Young professionals don’t have a lot of experience, so LinkedIn helps them by providing an answers section. This allows a wide variety of professionals to answer any question you might have about your field or any type of field you may be interested in. Asking and answering questions also helps you build your online visibility. This is essential to making your way to the top. This generation of young adults is said to be the “Digital Native” generation since most, if not all, of their life was spent in front of a screen. LinkedIn lets them continue this sort of lifestyle and it makes it a lot more comfortable to be more productive on the network. Young professionals have little to no experience in the work force. LinkedIn gives them a realistic outlook on their field of interest. You should never let one job define your field. With over 175 million members worldwide, it is easy to network and see all kinds of different sides of your field. You can also check out your fields leading players. You can see how they got to where they are by seeing where they went to school, what they studied, what skills they developed, what groups they belong too, and to whom with they are connected. This will help you obtain a better grasp on your anticipated field you want to join.
The people who are part of your network are called your connections. A connection can indicate that you know the person well or that they are a trusted business contact. In order to become a connection, you need to be invited and accepted. LinkedIn doesn’t support people in adding somebody that they don’t know. When you want to send someone a connections request, LinkedIn asks how you know this person. The options include colleague, classmate, friend, business partner, and I don’t know said person. If you chose “I don’t know said person”, LinkedIn will not allow you to add them. If you chose any of the other, it will ask for the persons email address.
LinkedIn narrows down your connections into three different categories. They are first degree, second degree, and third degree connections. First degree connections are the people that you have directly connected with because you or the person sent an invitation that has been accepted. Second degree connections are the people who are connected with your first degree connections. You can contact them through something called an introduction. You may ask your first degree connection to introduce you to your second degree connection. Since you probably don’t know your second degree connection, an introduction from your first degree connection would be the only way to connect with them. Finally, your third degree connections are the people who are connected to your second degree connections. If you want to become their first connection, you have to ask for an introduction. An introduction usually sounds like, “Dear Mr. Smith, Let me introduce you to Mr. John from Company X.” LinkedIn shows you which connection a person is by placing an icon which says either “1st”, “2nd”, or “3rd” connection.
LinkedIn offers a feature called “groups”. Being a member of a group lets you engage in one on one networking between group members. An advantage is that you can send lnmail for no fee. As a member of a group, you can discover the most popular discussions in your professional group. LinkedIn groups also allow you to follow the most influential people in your groups by looking at the Top Influencers board to see all their group activity.
Looking for a job on LinkedIn is said to be a whole lot easier than going door to door hoping they are hiring. If you know what company you are interested in joining, simply search for them on LinkedIn’s search bar. The company will have their employers listed and you can network with them and see what they did to be able to work with the company. Eventually, you will be able to establish them as a connection. On the other hand, if you have no idea what company you want to work for, you can search a keyword, job title, or location. Even though the search is much broader, you will still get a general knowledge of what you are looking into.
It is clear to see that there is a lot more to LinkedIn than just looking for a job in a newspaper. Connecting with people and getting your name out there can also contribute to your success on LinkedIn. If you use your LinkedIn profile correctly, it will become a huge benefit for you in the job marketing world.
The content in this article is part of Digital Ethos’s Digital Media Education in the Higher Education Internship Program, the content was created by @KaylaMarzo, a Student at Suffolk County Community college, intern at Digital Ethos.
Digital Media Education Internship Program is an outreach initiative for Digital Ethos.