This post is not for everyone. One very important thing in the blogosphere is creating unique content, and this is not very unique. The topic has been touched on thousands of times. But I know for a fact that the following information is unique and will perhaps even be useful to the people I hope will read it: my friends.
Connections are more important than ever these days. I consider myself blessed to have a lot of friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, as much as I love them and as much entertainment, support and friendship they provide, a lot of my connections are useless to me in the professional world (no offense). But this can change. I have somewhere between 300-400 friends on my Facebook account. That total was significantly cut down recently and probably could be done so even further. Recently I went through this list and searched for a large amount of the names on my Linkedin account. I found almost none of the names on the site. Considering everyone that I searched is either a college grad, an unemployed college grad, a college grad working a job they don’t see being their career, or a soon to be college grad, the fact that hardly anyone could be found on the site is not encouraging.
What is Linkedin? Linkedin is a website that allows you to upload a profile, tell the world about yourself, your work experience, your goals, your professional interests and allows you to connect with people that can help you in a variety of different ways. Say you’re a construction management major who is about to graduate. Create a profile, list what you’re getting your degree in, list your goals, put your resume and relevant coursework and school accomplishments up there. Next, start looking for people you know on the site. Have a professor in your major that you really like? Connect with them. If you know them, ask for a recommendation (Recommendations look great on Linkedin). And keep doing this. Keep finding people who could be influential in your job search. Find a company that you want to work for and research their employees. Search through the groups, maybe there’s a group of construction management college students who would share advice, tips and job postings.
Construction management was the first thing that popped into my head, but you can go through the same process for yourself no matter where you work now, or want to work in the future. Work at a restaurant? You are still a professional and Linkedin still has a place for you. Find co-workers, get recommendations and reviews, and who knows, one day someone from corporate may reach out to you. If you have a job, or someday want a job, you should have a Linkedin account.
The bottom line is: job searching sucks. Linkedin and having a network can make it a lot easier.
Some random stuff:
-One of the main and most important things about Linkedin is that it connects you to people even if you yourself aren’t connected to them in the first degree. Say you want to work for Komo News but don’t know anyone in the company. As it turns out, I am connected to a few employees of Komo (not really, just hypothetically). Now, when you connect to me, my Komo connections will now have the ability to see your profile and connect with you, the hopeful Komo employee. This can be confusing until you start getting involved on the site. Think six degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
-Thinking about grad school after you get your diplomuh? Linkedin allows you to network and connect with employees of schools your interested in, as well as individuals who are currently in or have completed the programs in the past and they can share advice, tips or answer any questions you may have.
-It also pays to be connected to friends who are currently employed. For example. Say you work for an accounting firm. Your boss tells you they are hiring and asks for any recommendations. If your friend who just graduated with his accounting degree has an impressive profile on Linkedin, how easy is it to just direct him straight to your friend’s profile? Very.
– Today, some recruiters and headhunters are using Linkedin as their primary recruiting tool (See the previous linked Fortune article).
-Have a unique hobby or passion? Fill out a profile and note in there that your dream is to one day work for WWE. All it takes is for a WWE employee or hiring manager to search for the keyword WWE on Linkedin, and boom, up comes your professional profile.
– A lot of people have been deleting their Facebook profiles for whatever reason. Not me. I like Facebook and it allows me to share stuff on there with my friends that I wouldn’t want professionals to see. Linkedin on the other hand, still allows you to be connected with your friends but provides more useful benefits than photos from a party you went to last weekend.
To me, the possibilities and opportunities of Linkedin are too great to ignore and I still am learning something new about the site and what I can do with it every day. Just this week I came across someone’s profile, contacted them about being interested in their company, and now I have a meeting with him later this week. It’s that easy. Anyone who I’m connected with on Facebook knows I am constantly posting status updates, pictures, whatever. I also have recently become a big Twitter fan. But if I had to ditch these profiles in favor of Linkedin, I’d do it in a heartbeat. So please, do yourself a favor set up a profile and start networking. You can learn more about it as you go on, but you have to start somewhere.
-Please share any questions and comments