As a member of the millennial generation, I have become well versed in the language of social media. So much so, that colloquial such as “hashtag” has been integrated into my speech.
However the one outlet of social media that I feel my generation neglects is LinkedIn.
For millennials who are naive to LinkedIn it is essentially a social networking site used by professionals to connect with one another. It has been proven by many companies to be quite successful in promoting their brand and mission. It has also been revolutionary in the workforce during an economic recession by forming connections all across the world without the expense.
To many, it may seem as though LinkedIn is just for (dare I say it?) old people. However this is a fallacy. There are incredible benefits to young professionals who properly use LinkedIn, especially when entering the work force.
However, in order to reap the benefits, you must utilize it to its full potential.
Don’t be shy
Have a clean cut and professional picture of yourself. If an employer can put a name with a face, then you already are more memorable than those who have a mysterious grey avatar.
Make it personal
When completing your profile, make sure you make it unique to YOU. Add skills and experience that are important and personal. Showcase your accomplishments and make yourself stand out.
Keep it current
Attempt to refrain from jobs you may have had in high school that have little to no relevance to the future job you hope to land one day. Saying that you gained some wicked biceps from scooping ice cream at the local ice cream shop might be a good thing to leave out.
What is social networking without connecting to people? After all, LinkedIn is essentially a professional Facebook. However it is important to realize that in order to maximize your presence and professional outcomes, you must be picky about whom you connect with. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is not a place to connect with someone who is a friend of a friend. Be smart about who and what you connect with.
Intimidating though it may be, using LinkedIn is the only way it will benefit you. Showing that you are active on LinkedIn gives employers the notion that you are engaged and aspire to have your professional career skyrocket.
Being in your mid to late twenties and entering into the “real world” can be unnerving. The thought of moving back in with mom and dad petrifies you, but so does the thought of being on your own. Make it easier on yourself and do what you do best, socialize and network, and you will profit from the benefits of a successful career.