If you're a college student then you've probably heard a teacher, parent, academic or career advisor talk about the importance of LinkedIn. You might've actually taken the initiative to make one, but if you haven't or if you have a half-completed profile that you haven't logged into in months, then here's a few reasons why you should change that.
1. Networking is everything.
LinkedIn allows you to connect with professionals in various industries that have experience relevant to your interest. Networking is essential for career development. When you invest in your professional relationships it can reward you immensely in the future. A connection you make and a relationship you establish on LinkedIn could be what gets you your dream internship or job in the next 3 months or 3 years.
2. LinkedIn is the best personal branding tool.
It's the best way to communicate to your established and potential connections what you want them to know about you. LinkedIn is where you get to highlight your education, work experience, volunteer experience, skills, accomplishments, membership and participation in organizations, interests, etc.
3. It allows you to "spy" on companies you are interested in working for.
On LinkedIn, you can follow companies and get post notifications and updates. Companies' profiles can also reveal present and former employees, and cross-check them with your connections, place of education, et. al. You can also find open job positions and posting with X company and see what skills and qualifications their current/former employees have.
4. Hiring managers and recruiters use LinkedIn.
According to a Jobvite Study from 2014, 94-97% of recruiters use LinkedIn, but only 36% of job seekers do. Take advantage of this disparity. If the people that are hiring talent are on LinkedIn, then you should be too. LinkedIn is like professional Facebook people looking for employees; they are searching for suitable candidates, and people looking to be employed are looking for suitable employers. If you want/need a job or are going to want/need a job in the next 2, 5, 10 years, you should probably go set up your profile.
5. Your profile can come up when potential employers Google your name.
I don't know about you guys but I would rather have my LinkedIn profile come up in a Google search before my Instagram or Facebook...maybe if your potential employers stumbled across your killer LinkedIn page, they would be so impressed with you they wouldn't feel a need to look any further.
6. Establish endorsements and recommendations
LinkedIn has a feature that allows others (bosses, colleagues, fellow students, etc) to endorse you for certain skills, as well as write brief recommendations on your behalf.
7. You have an online resume!
You can send your LinkedIn page to potential employers in place of a physical resume. LinkedIn can also be a great reference to you in creating a resume, since they require you to input similar categories and information. You can also apply to job listings on LinkedIn and your page will automatically be sent to the hiring official. Employers can contact you if they believe you could be/are a good fit for an opening with their company.
8. It sets you apart!
If you have a LinkedIn account, you are setting yourself apart from every candidate who does not. Professionals use LinkedIn! Having a profile shows potential employers and clients that you are open to new opportunities, value relationships and are well connected, but most importantly that you are interested in and invested in your future.