LinkedIn is a popular website you will hear referenced throughout your college career. Prior to college, I was unfamiliar with it, so I took the initiative and went to an event called “How To: LinkedIn”. There, I learned how to use this important career development tool. The following sections explain how to effectively navigate LinkedIn and why you should create an account.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is an online social networking service for professionals. Once you create a personal profile, you can interact with other professionals on the site to form connections and expand your network. LinkedIn can help you find a job, a college contact or a business colleague. It can also help you obtain information about trends in your industry and allows you to share information with others.
Who is Using LinkedIn?
There are over 250 million LinkedIn users, including 90, 000 Villanova alumni. The professionals on LinkedIn represent upwards of 3 million companies in more than 150 industries. Also, of the 75% of recruiters that use social media, 94% use LinkedIn when searching for future employees.
Managing Your Account
Creating a LinkedIn profile may seem overwhelming at first. Completing the required information, including your past work experiences, goals, and skills is time consuming, but not difficult. It is helpful to use an existing resume to guide you. Also, editing your profile is easy, so you can update your profile as you gain additional skills and jobs.
Customizing your Profile to Stand Out
After completing your basic profile, you can customize it to emphasize your strengths. The site allows you to alter the order in which information appears on your profile. For example, allowing you to focus on your education and awards to compensate for a lack of work experience.
Also, there are many customizations to make your profile stand out from the millions of others on LinkedIn. By uploading a professional profile picture, tailoring your headline to include your career ambitions, and using language that targets industries and careers of interest, you can shine in a sea of competing professionals.
Once you’ve created your information profile, it’s time to develop your personal brand. A personal brand is what people think when they hear your name. To create your brand you need to focus on who you are now, who you want to become, and what you want to achieve in the future. A strong personal brand will aid you in establishing credibility and networking.
Why use LinkedIn? The answer is simple. With LinkedIn, networking is easy. You can connect with millions of professionals with the push of a button and have the ability to search for people who hold jobs in industries and companies that interest you. LinkedIn provides an efficient way to find jobs, and grow professionally and personally. It is never too early to start preparing for your future, so create an account, build your brand, and link into the real world today.