Argh! Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, now Linkedin?! You may be thinking how you’ve had enough of all this technology. The phrases “online presence” and “professional network” may make you nauseas. You may long for the days when looking for a job was as simple as opening a newspaper and circling Want Ads with a red pen and mailing a letter to a company. You miss the taste of licking an envelope to seal it, miss the satisfaction of folding a letter in thirds.
Times change, my friend. And it’s time to join Linkedin.
Linkedin is a great site to help you stay connected with people in your field, and to learn about potential employers. Here are some scenarios in which Linkedin can be helpful:
Job or Internship Interviews: If you have an interview scheduled, you can look up the professional background of the person who is interviewing you. This gives you a sense of who they are, what their knowledge is, what they might be looking for, and any key interests that you have in common.
Planning your career: You want to be an asset manager and run your own company one day, but you have no idea how to get there. You can check out the profile of someone on Linkedin who has the career that you want, and see their past job experience, and get a sense of how they got to be where they are.
Staying in touch with colleagues: You met some great people at a career fair, but they ran out of business cards (or didn’t have business cards). You don’t want to friend them on Facebook, because that’s too informal. You can most likely find them on Linkedin.
Your resume is too long: Maybe you are just so totally awesome and have a ton of job and internship experience, so much so that you can’t fit it all on the standard one-page resume format. On Linkedin you can share everything that you want to share, and potential employers can go to your page to get a better picture of who you are and what you bring to the table.
Deciding on a job: Oh wonder of wonders, you’ve been offered a job at two different companies and are in the rare and glorious position of getting to choose. You can research those companies on Linkedin and see what kinds of people work there currently or worked there in the past to find out whether it’s a place that’s right for you.