I recently came across this article and thought it had some good points so I wanted to share it with you. 

Angie Richardson

Clinical Recruitment Supervisor

 

Perhaps you've heard about LinkedIn, the professional social network, but you're not sure exactly what it is.  Or, you've set up a LinkedIn profile but you don't really know what to do with it...

For students who are accustomed to Facebook, LinkedIn can feel like a foreign land, a bit uncomfortable and a bit intimidating.  It's true that LinkedIn is a different world from more socially minded online networks; however, it is a world where students need to be.  If you are a student or recent grad who is looking to build your prospects, setting up a professional profile and becoming active on LinkedIn are absolute musts.  Here are the key reasons why.

Important People Are Googling You

First and foremost, LinkedIn is about professional visibility.  When a networking contact, grad school admissions officer or prospective employer types your name into a search engine, you want that person to find something more than your Facebook profile.

By having a LinkedIn profile, you'll guarantee that at least one search result is providing information about your professional accomplishments and goals.  LinkedIn profiles rank very highly in search results ( almost always on the first page), so having a LinkedIn profile is like a business having a listing in the yellow pages: it shows that you are proactively taking part in the professional community. 

A Resume Is No Longer Enough

In today's ultra-competitive job market, a good resume is not the only tool required to land a position.  Online portfolios, blogs, Twitter feeds and other virtual tools are helping people present their credentials in new ways.  Smart studnets know this and manage the online representations of their credentials as carefully as they craft their resumes and cover letters.

LinkedIn profiles can supplement the contents of your traditional one-page resume in several ways, even if you don't have much paid work experience.  On your profile you can include volunteer positions, extracurricular experience, Web links to examples of your work and recommendations from people who can vouch from your skills and talents.  To make sure that people find all of this supplemental information, be sure to include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume.

Relationships Are Crucial To Your Career Success

We all know that success is not just about what you know, but whom you know.  Another important reason for students to have professional online profiles is to use social networks to build and maintain professional relationships.  A LinkedIn presence facilitates networking, and the earlier you begin to network, the more robust your professional relationships will be throughout your career.

LinkedIn also helps you maintain your relationships over time.  It can be difficult to keep in touch with the various people you meet in your career; however, when you have a strong online network, you can have small, frequent interactions.

In the end, building a professional presence and growing your professional network on LinkedIn are great ways to declare to the world that you are here, you are ready to contribute and you are eager to make your mark in the world--the online world and the real one.

For those of you who have LinkedIn profiles, what other advice do you have to share?