According to their website, LinkedIn “operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 500 million members in over 200 countries and territories.” Sounds like you should create a LinkedIn account when you graduate from college and begin your career…right?
Wrong. Here’s why:
- There are over 500,000,000 people on LinkedIn. This means one thing: networking. As we say here in the Center for Career Planning, “You get jobs by talking to people.” What better place to start than the place where 500,000,000 people are a click away? LinkedIn updates you on your connections’ activity and makes it easy to reach out to professionals in your field for advice. On LinkedIn, opportunity can find you instead of the other way around.
- “There are more than 40 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.” Your peers are joining LinkedIn and making connections before they graduate. Stay ahead of the game by joining now, and help each other out by giving each other recommendations and endorsements for their skills.
- Many companies post their job openings on LinkedIn. Not only does this make your job and internship search easier (think of the countless hours you’ve spent on Indeed or Monster), but it allows you to explore career paths and learn more about what you can do with your Bachelor’s degree in a given field. Because your LinkedIn profile is essentially your online resume, it’s easier than ever to see how a business management professional started out as a graduate with little experience and climbed the ladder to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
- A new feature called Lynda.com allows you to watch videos and learn valuable skills using your LinkedIn account. Lynda.com gives you access to over 5,000 online video courses in business, technology, and creativity. Not only can you market yourself on LinkedIn, but you can also make yourself more marketable by learning new skills from these courses.
So get out there, create an account on LinkedIn, market yourself and your experience, and connect with people you know! Don’t wait until graduation. Start your professional career now!