By Mari Behovitz
“What’s the point of having a LinkedIn Account?”
It’s incredible how many times I have heard my classmates make this remark.
Just the other day, one of my classmates mentioned that he thought at this phase in our lives it doesn’t make sense to have a profile on LinkedIn. The phase he referred to was having the lack of relevant industry experience. He continued to say, “if the only job experience someone has in college is at a fast food restaurant, then what’s the point?”
To me, the answer to this question has always been obvious, especially for my selected field of study. As an Advertising and Public Relations young professional, I know that networking is and will continue to be an essential key to my success within the industry. The idea of networking has been presented to me over and over again in classes, and at our very own Advertising Club meetings. As young professionals, we understand the importance of getting to know others working in the industry. Networking is not only important to have face-to-face, but also over social media networks like LinkedIn.
Two great reasons to use this platform is to make connections with industry professionals and classmates, as well as to put your resume online for others to see. As technology continues to advance, more job applications have to be filled out on LinkedIn, rather than submitting a resume. Hiring Managers often have you add your link to your LinkedIn profile to your application. That factor alone makes it essential to have one.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is similar to a professional Facebook page. A LinkedIn profile allows for individuals to showcase special skill sets they have, relevant experience, and general information about themselves.
Even if you lack relevant work experience, you have to start somewhere. You can still showcase all your valuable skills that you have acquired from college classes. Also, if you have received awards from Yardstick, the Superior Awards, or the Addys, you definitely want to add them to your profile.
If you have not received any awards yet, get involved at your college so that you can add more clubs/organizations to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Even if you start off with very little information, having a LinkedIn can be an extremely useful tool. Whenever you go to an event, try to have a brief conversation with some of the professionals, and then add them later as a connection on LinkedIn. You never know, they may be the key to getting your future job.
I know creating a LinkedIn profile can be intimidating, so here are five tips to help you get started…
- Have a professional picture- NO SELFIES
- Have a well thought out and well written profile
- Have a bio that depicts the type of person you are, and the goals you are trying to accomplish
- Endorse coworkers, friends, and classmates on traits you think they are good at
- Connect, connect, connect!
Be sure to connect with any relevant individual you meet along your career path. Whether these individuals are fellow students, your professors, or professionals you meet at networking events, don’t be afraid to send them an invite. You never know when having that connection could be beneficial to you in your career.