I love LinkedIn. I first created my profile back in undergrad and have since been using it to build my network. LinkedIn was quite common in the business and start-up scene – the norm was to add someone so you could stay connected. But when I got to law school, I realized majority of my peers didn’t have a LinkedIn profile. So, to anyone who has been wary of LinkedIn and doesn’t want to jump on ‘another social media platform’, consider this my pitch for creating a profile. (This especially applies to anyone who is job searching or looking to explore new opportunities!)
1) Companies and employers are on it – All major companies, big or small, have a company profile on LinkedIn. They’re sharing updates, job postings and engaging in discussions. LinkedIn is usually the first place employers look to when hiring someone. Simply put, if the companies and employers you’re trying to pursue are on LinkedIn, why aren’t you?
2) Keep track of existing connections – Back in the day, people used business cards or email to stay in touch. For me personally, it became increasingly hard to keep track of my connections after attending two schools, switching between jobs and attending various conferences/events. LinkedIn made it easy to stay in touch with my connections. For example, when I was looking for a job or hoping to volunteer with a charity, all I had to do was jump on LinkedIn and figure out if I knew anyone at that organization. And more likely than not, I was either directly connected with someone who could help me or had a connection in common with someone I wanted to speak to.
3) New opportunities and connections – LinkedIn is not just about creating a profile and using it to keep track of your connections, it also helps people discover new opportunities. Several companies post jobs and other opportunities on LinkedIn. In fact, many recruiters actively seek out candidates on LinkedIn. I’ve connected with some very engaging people and potential mentors through discussion groups and interest groups on LinkedIn. For instance, we have a Hacking Health group on LinkedIn, which brings together leaders in health-tech and provides members with new opportunities, engaging discussions and valuable connections.
4) Controlling your online presence – What happens when you Google your name? If you don’t have much of an online presence, it is likely that none of the search results will be about you. Searching your name will either bring up your Facebook profile or links that relate to someone who shares your name. But if you have a LinkedIn profile and keep it up-to-date, that will be one of the first search results. Having a LinkedIn profile allows you with a simple way to control your online presence to a certain degree.
5) What’s the harm? Technology isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. I know we phased out of MSN and a bunch of other social media platforms. And maybe LinkedIn will no longer exist in a few years but really, what’s the harm if it is something that can help. It serves a professional purposes, rather than just a social one. So long you’re using it wisely, I’d say it’s worth the time and effort.
I helped conduct an Intro to LinkedIn Workshop a few months ago. Click the link to view a PowerPoint Presentation to help you get started: LinkedIn and Twitter Presentation