LinkedIn is a worldwide, social media giant. Founded in 2002, it has become a huge resource for people looking to make professional connections.
While Facebook is useful for connecting with others all over the world socially, LinkedIn allows for a more serious and professional approach. By connecting with people you know and with the people those connections know, users can begin to grow their network.
These second-degree and third-degree connections, as LinkedIn has dubbed them, are incredibly valuable when one is trying to meet more higher level individuals in their industries.
Not only is LinkedIn useful for finding connections just through people a user is familiar with, but LinkedIn members can search and follow specific companies and request to connect with employees of those companies.
The site offers job posting features as well, allowing employers and potential employees to find opportunities within the LinkedIn community.
A LinkedIn member’s profile serves as an online resume. The online nature of it takes away space restrictions and allows users to provide as much detail about their qualifications as they would like. Users can also have profiles in multiple languages to make it more available to other LinkedIn users from around the world.
The social media site has also created a platform for groups. A forum where likeminded individuals can post, like and comment on specific topics of interest. This is a great way to get to know other users and make more first-degree connections.
LinkedIn also provides a tool not too many users are aware of. It is called the LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI). This tool allows users to see how they compare to people in their network and in their industry. The SSI is a fantastic way to see where one can improve their profiles and connections.
There are four aspects to the SSI: establish a personal brand, find the right people, engage with insights and build relationships. Each category has a total possible point value of 25, so a perfect SSI would be a 100 out of 100. By using this tool, members can see where they are lacking in points so that they can create a more useful and effective profile and network.
“Social selling is taking out the pitching component of sales. You’re creating conversations about your product and services which organically can produce sales conversations,” says Paul Sowada, a LinkedIn user with an SSI of 89.
LinkedIn is definitely a tool college students should start utilizing while still in school. Building a resume and a history of shared articles and thought provoking posts will show employers that you are prepared to do the job.
“It’s not about WHAT you know but WHO you know and WHO you get to know,” Abhishek Shukla, another LinkedIn user, writes.
Using this social media will be a great way to get your foot in the professional door. It can help you find internships, mentors and hopefully a job after graduation.