Last week, I connected with yet another social media-marketing consultant on LinkedIn. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities LinkedIn has provided me in helping carve out a niche for myself in the public relations and digital marketing industry. Yet, I have friends who do not understand how LinkedIn can be beneficial for them.
“I don’t need a LinkedIn.”
“I’m a science major. People only look for communication majors on LinkedIn.”
“You sell yourself on LinkedIn; it makes you look cheap.”
These statements were like nails on a chalkboard to my ears. Although I admit I’m biased towards all things social media, LinkedIn can do nothing but help anyone, whether you’re a a chemical engineer or a theatrical performer. Brace yourself, college kids. If you are not on LinkedIn, there are 5 reasons to get on it as soon as possible, or risk falling behind in landing the career of your dreams.
1. ALL companies look for it
Everyone’s heard that potential employers look up their job candidates on social media before even considering them. More importantly, they are looking to see if you have established a professional presence. One source informed me that a chemical production company (I’m talking to you, scientists and engineers) specifically looked to see if job candidates had a LinkedIn before even reviewing the rest of the resume. You don’t have one? Well… guess you really don’t care that much about professional development.
2. You are not a Red Solo Cup, You are a Passionate (Insert Job Here)
Nothing on social media is meaningless. Every single picture, status, and shared link on any platform contributes to the development of your online identity. As aspiring professionals, it’s time to start considering how you want to define yourself to employers. What are your goals? What are you looking to accomplish after your get your degree? How do you feel your experiences have contributed to your overall goals and personality? A LinkedIn profile answers those questions. Posting pictures of your sorority’s formal on Facebook does not.
3. One Page Limit? What One Page Limit?
It irks me how you can never put every single experience and accomplishment on your print resume without going over one page. Before I joined LinkedIn, I wished there was a way I could show employers that I have done X Y and Z on my resume, but I’ve also done A B and C that I consider to be of equal value to my successes. Then I found out, oh wait, on LinkedIn there is no page limit! Your profile acts as a resume where you can add anything — publications, causes you care about, links to research you’ve conducted — that you want without worrying about lack of space. Everyone needs a resume; everyone wants to showcase every success that contributed to their development. LinkedIn gives everyone the chance to craft their identity using as much or as little information as possible.
4. Networking Just Got That Much Easier
While LinkedIn is a place to establish your professional presence and brand, at its core, it is a social networking site. Students are at an advantage here: you have the power to reach out to people you admire in your industry without fear that it’s impolite. Why? People on social networking sites want to meet other people, and successful people love when students reach out to them to ask for advice. Successful people get excited to meet students who are interested in their work, and students get to meet people they may have been scared to approach through email and build their network in ways they never imagined possible.
5. On That Note, Job Searching Just Got That Much Easier
Job searching can be overwhelming with so many search engines and options to consider. LinkedIn can help you specifically target opportunities in the companies you specifically want to work for. On LinkedIn, you can follow a company, join an alumni network, and find groups that are talking about fields that interest you. People post job opportunities in these groups. There could be a potential perfect job out there for you where the employer is specifically looking for members of a certain group, and you could never know about it. Unless you join LinkedIn.
People may not think that LinkedIn doesn’t apply to them, that it’s not useful, or that it makes you look cheap. But I assure you, if you invest the time into creating a simple profile, LinkedIn will take your career places you never thought possible. I look forward to connecting with you all in the future!
By: Paxton Mittleman