By: Ransom Gates | College of Business Alumni | AMA Member
I’ve got to be honest…two years ago when I first heard of LinkedIn, I thought it was simply a silly means for individuals to broadcast their accomplishments and impressive educational/work background to the public, but nothing more than that. I just didn’t get the point. “Oh cool…I see that some kid I used to have a class with just got a job as bank teller!” Who cares?? This could easily be done on Facebook, or not done at all. I was convinced that LinkedIn was solely an arbitrary way to boast in a somewhat professional manner, and doesn’t have near the resources or appeal as something like Facebook has. Like, honestly…what is the advantage of having a LinkedIn profile??
As part of a requirement for the business organization I was involved in at the University of Wyoming, I reluctantly created a LinkedIn profile, but only threw in the bare minimum to give the impression that I actually was going to utilize it…though I didn’t actually have the intention of doing so. However, towards the end of my junior year I heard from the grapevine that there may actually be very unique advantages for having a complete LinkedIn profile. Somewhere in the 30% of what I actually retained whilst I bathed in the teachings of my illustrious professors, I was incidentally informed of the many tools of this professional social media outlet. Thus began my venture into the murky waters of this uncharted territory, as I finally cracked down and spent some ample time into checking this hottie out.
I was truly baffled that companies would actually post job openings on LinkedIn, and somehow, in the Internet’s infinite wisdom, it was able to match some of these job openings that were unique to my interests, skills and education. What is that?? With graduation looming more than ever and the pressure of avoiding unemployment bubbling inside my head, I thought that was pretty cool. I can literally sit on my couch at home and careers that I am actually interested in are presented to me two feet in front of my eyes.
Employers Actually Use LinkedIn
Then I learned that employers actually will use LinkedIn to assess job candidates. Okay…maybe I will make my profile a little more complete and impressive….and I may slap on the prettiest, most professional picture I have of myself me they see how handsome I am (Did you know that physical attraction is actually correlated with whether or not people feel like they can trust you?? I’m actually not positive if that’s true, but I really feel like I heard that in one of my classes). Essentially, a LinkedIn profile is a more extensive online resume - - and it’s easier on the eyes than Times New Roman 11-pt font splattered across a single white page with ABSOLUTELY no pictures.
Then poses the question, what’s the point of having a LinkedIn if you already have a job? Networking. And networking will always be essential until we’re 10 feet under. First of all, most of us probably won’t have the same job throughout our life. We are constantly making changes, so it is important to have resources, both professionally and socially, to fall back on. You want to leave a positive impression in case you happen to be seeking the professional opinion of these individuals two years from now. This is also why I encourage you to connect with people you maybe don’t know…expand your network, keep your options open, make it easier on yourself to make career changes. Secondly, having these connections allows for an acceptable outlet to seek out persons for business purposes. I, for one, plan on using some of my connections to pitch some health insurance options. So if you happen to be one of my connections, watch out, because I might be coming at you guns blazing with bullets of Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plans.
Up-to-date on Current Events
It also a great way to stay up-to-date on the current events across the county and the world. I encourage you to follow the companies that may peak your interest career-wise. See what kind of things they’re posting about…what is important to them. You don’t want to be at your company’s annual wine mixer without the ability to throw in witty anecdotes about the most recent haps of the stock market. As the great titan of industry, Michael Scott, once said, “Don’t be an idiot.”
Let’s Make One
Lastly, I want to sprinkle some quick, easy tips on making an impressive LinkedIn profile. First, do actually write a personal summary. This is often the first thing that employers look at if they happen to be viewing your profile, and it is an excellent way to concisely express what’s unique about you. Second, please do have a professional profile picture. It is, after all, a professional site. Next, put everything you have on your resume onto your profile (educational background, community service, skills, awards, martial arts ability). Like I said, it can essentially be a resume taken to the next step. Also, have as many of your friends, coworkers, professors, or whoever endorse skills that they think you possess. A big part of the purpose of this is making yourself look as impressive as possible. Lastly, as I also said previously, connect with as many people as possible. Networking sometimes seems insignificant, but I cannot stress enough how happy you’ll be if you continue to consistently network.
I’ve only touched on a tiny piece of what LinkedIn has to offer to you as a student, employee, and potential employee, but I want to leave it there for you to look into for yourself. Really flirt around with it and see how it can be of use to you. There really is a lot that you’ll find will be hugely beneficial to you regardless of what stage of life you find yourself in. So, to the three people that actually took time to read all of this to the bottom, you’re welcome. I will just assume that I changed your life.
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