As a junior in college, I still run into people daily who don’t see the need for a LinkedIn profile. “I’m only a junior,” they say. “I’ll do it next year.” Here’s what I have to say about that — while they’re setting up their LinkedIn profile 365 days from now, I’ll be starting a job I had planned months earlier, launching my career to its dreamed-of success. Harsh? Maybe a little, but for all the naysayers out there — I believe in the power of LinkedIn. Here’s why.
Connect. The world of public relations, journalism and communications is all about whom you know. Just the other day I was reaching out to a contact at a large brand asking for advice about applying to their internship. A few days later I was submitting the first-round video interview. Sure, I could have received that first interview by chance, but for this large brand where I initially knew no one, that seems like a long shot to me. It was with thanks to an older mentor and their LinkedIn network that I was able to connect with a current employee and begin the application process. So next time you know someone who knows someone, make a connection and don’t be afraid to ask for advice or a recommendation. You never know what that could start.
Link. Beyond mentor and professional relationships, LinkedIn helps you connect to your peers and the world around you. Lately, I have caught the article-posting bug. LinkedIn has a plethora of educational news just floating around the site. If you post articles and interact with others who do the same, your profile beams success and motivation, all traits future employers are most likely looking for. LinkedIn is a platform that allows you to connect and link to the world around you, granting education and advice (for free).
Dream. For me, LinkedIn serves as a dream board. I’m the first to admit that I’m a dreamer. I think up scenarios upon scenarios of what my life will look like in the next 10 years. It’s a fun pastime, but LinkedIn can be the vehicle that lets those dreams take off. By connecting and learning about people and opportunities, LinkedIn fuels the possibilities and opens up so many doors. If you don’t know what you want to do with your life, start connecting to people and topics, and pretty soon you’ll have a running options list.
Sure, LinkedIn can sound like an outdated, mature site that only working professionals need. But as a pre-professional, I truly believe it was created for people like me, people like us. It is such a wealthy base of chances and thoughts, and we would be passing up too much if we didn’t start using it now; using it wisely, of course (that’s another post). So go set up your profile and let your future bloom. It could be just an invite away.
Ashley Hinson is a junior public relations major at Samford University with minors in marketing and communication. She serves as the secretary of her PRSSA Chapter. Hinson hopes to pursue a career in corporate communications or branding after experiencing these fields through previous internships. If she’s not studying or going to class, you can find her baking, catching up on Gilmore Girls or finding a spot to walk outside. Connect with her on LinkedIn.