Hey there! Glad to see you could take a quick break from Facebook to see the latest from the Peer Into Your Career blog, brought to you by your friendly, local Career & Internship Services! OK, so maybe you may not have been on Facebook, and you were working hard on that equation from your Mathematical Foundations of Bioinformatics class… yeah, maybe. At any rate, you know you’re going there. Even if it is for a five-minute break to see if Stacy posted those vacation photos from her weekend trip to Mexico… lucky her! But instead of Facebook, let’s click on LinkedIn and see where the adventure takes us!
Whether you have heard of LinkedIn or not, I can guarantee that if you spend just one of those ten “Facebook breaks” you take a day on LinkedIn instead, you will be benefiting quite a bit more. If your professors have not told you the secret already, I will lay it out for you here… After graduation, we face the “real world” and it’s tough! Graduation is quite the accomplishment, and we will have a lot to be proud of, but as we open that door to our future careers, so do millions of other fresh graduates, and you are guaranteed to be competing with them in this selective job market. Now the question becomes, “How can I stand out in the crowd?” We all know you have the talent and skills, but that is not always enough… The answer is LinkedIn!
If you have not already started a profile, I am not going to go through the first ten steps to setting up your account because you can find those resources just by walking in our office (LinkedIn Drop-ins happen every Thursday, 2-4pm). I am here to convince you, and to explain how LinkedIn is going to help you stand out from the competition!
Let’s start with “What is LinkedIn?”
- LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional online network with over 135 million members
- Connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals
Other students are joining! Here is the “College Community”
- 2.1 million college students are currently members of LinkedIn
- 37,000 university groups (including UMD Career & Internship Services & Alumni Association)
- 200,000+ groups/organizations
Now you might be asking… “How does LinkedIn benefit me?”
- Helps you build a network of professional connections
- Find valuable information on companies. Which proves helpful during interview and informational meetings
- Search for positions in your field. LinkedIn is the extensive resume we are not allowed to have on our one page resume, so make it count and share what you’ve got!
- Display your personal brand! The question still stands, “how are you going to market yourself to stand out in the crowd?” It’s a huge game of Where’s Waldo, and they are looking for your candy cane outfit!
What are the facts, and “Why should I join LinkedIn?”
- Nearly 3/4 of professionals can be found and connected with online (eMarketer.com ©2010)
- People with more than 20 connections on LinkedIn are 34 times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than 5 connections (Anne Baber ©2010)
- The earlier you start with your career explorations, the more of an advantage you have over your peers!
If you can take only one thing away from this post, it would be to remember that it is a tough world out there, and you need to prove how you are going to be a better choice for a position than your peer. How are you going to separate yourself from your competition? How are you going to market your skills and abilities so that it will separate you from the rest? The answer, LinkedIn! It is a dog-eat-dog world out there, but luckily you’re a BULLDOG!