Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – us millennials sure do love our social networking. But as true as this is, it’s disappointing that so many of us are neglecting the one site that can actually help further our careers instead of hinder it (Facebook friend with one too many drunk selfies, I’m looking at you). LinkedIn is the ultimate social networking site for young professionals, and although it can’t help you stalk your ex best friend’s vacation photos, it will promote your fabulous, professional self to the rest of your industry. Now, I’m obsessed with keeping my profile up to date and connecting with all of the people I meet at networking events, but for good reasons – maintaining an active LinkedIn presence has so many benefits.
Still not into it?
Here’s why having LinkedIn is actually so awesome:
You Can Check Out Your Competition: If you had the opportunity to review the resumes of all of the people applying to the same job as you, you’d probably be able to figure out what to say in an interview to set yourself apart from them, right? Well that’s kind of like LinkedIn. I mean, you can’t see what jobs your classmates are applying for, but you can see what they’re doing to gain experience in the field. And it doesn’t have to be all about the competition, sometimes your connections might be able to help you get involved in one of their organizations or activities too!
You Can Find Motivation: In the same way that you can find out what your classmates are doing to gain a competitive edge, finding someone with your dream job and checking out how they got there can be just the push you need to start getting involved. Sometimes your dream can be more attainable than it seems.
You Can Stay Connected: Remember the time you met that person who worked for that really awesome company, but you forgot to ask for their email address? Connecting with someone on LinkedIn is the professional version of Facebook friending someone that you want to remain in contact with. Just remember to shoot them a message every so often so they remember who you are.
You Can Show Off: No one likes the Facebook friend who is constantly bragging about their cool new job (guilty as charged), but posting about your career progression on LinkedIn is normal AND totally acceptable. People will even congratulate you without talking behind your back! And to top it all off, if you’re not a blogger, or you haven’t quite figured out the whole “online portfolio” business, you can still upload your awesome work to your profile and use that as a portfolio-type platform. *Obviously it’s still best to keep a hard copy portfolio of your work to bring to interviews, but putting these projects up online gives people a taste of your work ahead of time.
You Can Get Noticed: If the above points are still not enough to convince you that LinkedIn is something you need in your life, let me leave you with a personal anecdote. One day, a manager in the PR field stumbled across a certain one of my most popular blog posts and decided to do a quick Google search on me. This led him to my LinkedIn profile (on the first page of Google might I add, cheers to rockstar-level SEO), where he was able to see that not only was I a decent writer, but I was also totally qualified for a position he was looking to fill. And then he interviewed me and we all lived happily ever after. The end. Think of LinkedIn as the resume and cover letter that can speak for your skills even when you’re not actively looking for a job. After all, the best opportunities arise when you least expect them to, am I right?
So take a break from tweeting, and trust me, we’ve seen enough pictures of your “OOTD”. Why not invest your time in a social networking site that leads to a bigger payoff than simple likes and retweets?