Businessmen and women around the world are constantly looking for a way to make new professional connections and gain an upper hand on their competitors. This is not, however, always an easy task, so if I told you that with just a few minutes of your time you could form a connection with business professionals around the world, wouldn’t you take the offer? On Wednesday, October 29th, when I attended a LinkedIn seminar presented by Sheila Doherty, an assistant director of the Villanova University Career Center, I was introduced to a website that made exactly what I just described possible, and I want to explain exactly why this site is so great.
CREATE A PROFESSIONAL PRESENCE FOR YOURSELF
An Online Resume
LinkedIn acts almost as an online resume for its users. It lists all of the things that you would put on a job application and it displays that information to whomever you choose. This is an effective way to get your credentials out to potential employers, because they can research you on their own and decide if they want to offer you a job or bring you in for an interview, skipping the process of submitting a formal resume.
Making Yourself Available
Potential employers and business partners will often want to research you before meeting you. In fact, Roughly 75% of recruiters look for a candidate’s online footprint when making hiring decisions, and about 95% of those use LinkedIn specifically, which just goes to show how beneficial it can be to have an account on this site.
LinkedIn is by far the largest social networking site aimed at business professionals in the world. Businessmen and women in every sector use LinkedIn, and it can be found in almost any office around the world.
Not only that but, as I learned at the seminar, over 70,000 Villanova students, faculty, and alum are currently active on LinkedIn, and one poll determined that approximately 50% of the university’s community is active on the website. This strong University presence means that LinkedIn is especially valuable for Villanova students, as it is an incredible tool for making meaningful connections with alumni–the types of connections which, hopefully, could lead to job offers down the road.
Ms. Doherty did not speak only speak about the virtues of LinkedIn at this meeting; she also discussed the proper way to use the site. For starters, she emphasized the point that we should only connect with those whom we can vouch for, and those who can in turn vouch for us. Your connections on LinkedIn can be very important, because you never know who a potential employer might know. Therefore, Ms. Doherty explained, it is important to never accept a request from someone you don’t know.
The second biggest point of emphasis for proper LinkedIn use that was covered at the seminar was messaging. LinkedIn has a messaging feature that allows for direct contact between users. Ms. Doherty explained how important it is to send one of these personalized messages whenever a connecting with people. The personalization reminds whoever you are trying to connect with of who you are, and explains why you should accept their request.
I have done my best to give some of the highlights of what made this seminar so fantastic, but truth be told, it would be impossible for me to list here all the different things that I learned there. The event was incredibly informative and helpful, and I would implore any readers who have the opportunity to attend a similar event in the future to do so, because it really is worth the time.