LinkedIn. The one social media platform many of us have, but do not pay much attention to.
Despite just being in the professional workforce for a short amount of time, it still boggles me how some industry veterans choose not to have an account on LinkedIn. In an age where nearly all transactions we carry out are in digital forms, it is almost essential that every working professional has one.
Contrary to popular opinion that LinkedIn is ‘just another social media platform’, it does have some really great benefits. Taken that the world is dealing with a global health pandemic, LinkedIn has become a ‘virtual networking’ playground that spans across seniority, industry and location. If one takes time to understand the platform and tinkle around with its functions, LinkedIn is actually a really intuitive and useful social media platform that every working professional should have. Besides its Twitter and Facebook-like functions, LinkedIn offers a variety of extra subscribable services that can benefit both individuals and businesses alike - from social marketing tools, to business sales tools that help you better streamline your business operations (though not necessary to use).
In terms of one’s own personal use, think of LinkedIn as your résumé/CV in a fluid form where you can edit and change at any time and anywhere. It gives you the opportunity to connect with others that share similar experiences, or may have worked where you did too. It is also a great way to display and organise one’s qualifications and achievements in a more animated way. In my opinion, it really is not necessary to subscribe to LinkedIn Premium to reap the full benefits of LinkedIn. Knowing how to navigate your way through the free (and normal) version is good enough for everyone.
Not to get too technical, but LinkedIn is a great example of how communication relationships can positively affect one’s professional life. In Communication Studies, there is a concept within Communication Theory that LinkedIn is a real-life functioning example of - the Strength of Weak Ties Theory. The 1973 concept theorised by Mark Granovetter details that the best avenues to job opportunities are more likely to come from your (distant) acquaintances [weak ties], than your close friends [strong ties]. LinkedIn is a perfect example of this, as one can professionally connect with those within your industry, but have no direct relationship with.
Moreover, the theory is a true reflection of my experiences. I landed my internships as well as my full-time jobs through the use of LinkedIn; simply by connecting myself with the industry’s more prominent figures, and they in turn referred/introduced me to other well-known individuals in the industry. This is an incredibly useful tool for fresh graduates looking for job opportunities straight out of university. Believe me when I say that many fail to see the significance and usefulness of the platform, thinking that the platform would not serve much purpose. Businesses are increasingly using LinkedIn as their platform of choice for job listings and communication with their consumers, so why not take advantage of the potential opportunities that could be there?
Needless to say, more and more hiring managers are using LinkedIn as a prominent platform as a recruitment tool. Not to say that having a résumé/CV is redundant, but LinkedIn is becoming a more go-to platform to look for potential candidates. LinkedIn also has a job-search and job-posting function that both employees and employers can use!
Having a LinkedIn profile forces one to maintain a professional outlook. It forces young graduates to think about their next steps as they progress through their chosen profession, it encourages them to properly organise their résumé/CV and it urges them to be proactive about the job-searching process. Knowing when to start your job search is probably one of the best things you can do to ensure yourself a smoother transition between university and professional work life.
If you do not currently have a LinkedIn account, create one. It is an easy and intuitive platform to use and it really does make a difference. [This is in no way a #Sponsored #Ad for LinkedIn, but really, learning how to use the platform has made a significant difference in my professional life so I encourage you to do the same] :)