Students should treat LinkedIn as their professional Facebook

Why your networking it not working

Many people constantly update their Instagrams, Twitters and Facebooks. However, LinkedIn is the one social media account that tends to be forgotten.

There comes a time in every student’s life when they need to start thinking about their future career goals and how they’re going to get there. The first step along the path to professionalism is networking. In many instances, who you know can outweigh what you know by a significant amount.

Networking is a very important aspect of the college experience. It gives students the opportunity to learn from professionals in their field of interest and begin building their personal brand. One of the best ways to begin exploring the professional world is by making a LinkedIn account.

 

So, what is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn describes itself as “the world’s largest professional network with more than 400 million members in 200 countries and territories around the globe.” I recently made a LinkedIn account as a first step toward building my professional network.

From my personal experience, I can say that LinkedIn could be equated to a professional version of Facebook. Rather than seeing your friends and family share videos of their dogs or photos from birthday parties, LinkedIn shows you professional profiles and shared articles and career accomplishments from your connections.

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Friends vs. connections

Friends on Facebook and connections on LinkedIn are similar. But, there are some key differences. To make a connection with someone on LinkedIn, you send them a connection request and then they have to accept it before you can see their full profile and have them in your network. Connecting on LinkedIn has a more professional feel than Facebook does and people’s profiles are more on the conservative side. Let’s just say you aren’t going to see anyone’s selfie with a red Solo cup.

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Why make a LinkedIn account?

LinkedIn allows you to build your own professional profile where you can showcase your academic and professional achievements and your extracurricular activities. After creating your profile, you can start making LinkedIn connections. By making connections, you simultaneously build your professional network and get your profile seen by potential employers. Creating a LinkedIn is a great first step in the process of becoming a professional.

 

What to put in your profile

Due to the fact that LinkedIn is a professional form of social media, only certain types of content are relevant for a LinkedIn profile. Some things to include in your profile would be your education, current and prior work experience and any other involvement such as student organizations or volunteering opportunities.

 

And this is just the beginning. Exploring the different facets of LinkedIn is definitely advisable. It can all be pretty intimidating, so the most important thing is seriously just ripping off the bandaid and setting up your own LinkedIn account.

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