Young Professionals, listen up! If you’re spending most of your time Tweeting, #hashtagging, Poking, Liking and Facebooking but not “Linking” then you’re doing it wrong. As we head into the new year, I’m sure a lot of you have plans to enact resolutions and some of those may revolve around professional development. If you’re not on LinkedIn, your career isn’t on a downward spiral by any means but at least read my three reasons why LinkedIn can help you if you’re serious about your career.
There’s a wealth of information. LinkedIn is definitely the premiere hub of professional knowledge and resources on the internet – and it’s free. Have a question about your field? Ask professionals in the Answers section. Want to learn top trends and current events in your field? Check your homepage or join Groups. LinkedIn is one of those sites on the web whose goal is to make you smarter. Not only does it make you smarter but it provides you with resources such as job leads, networking opportunities, the ability to share and demonstrate your work and a ton of other cool things. If you’re not on LinkedIn, professional people tend to wonder if you are serious about being a professional!
Your next mentor is waiting. If you hate face to face networking and the idea of trying to ask someone to be your mentor in person, the best place to go is online at LinkedIn. LinkedIn removes the barriers of location and time and allows you to connect to top experts in your field in all parts of the globe. Why is this important? You may not know anyone in your office that is skilled and experienced enough to help push you to the next level of your career (or the next couple of levels). Also, you may just be really shy and timid. Our generation is considered the “Digital Native” generation since most of our life we’ve lived in front of a screen. LinkedIn makes it easier for you to continue that lifestyle and be productive all at the same time. I’ve found that professionals on LinkedIn are generally pretty helpful. The volume of great professionals is so high that even if one person declines an offer or fails to follow up with you, you can just ask another person. If you don’t have a mentor, I suggest you start on LinkedIn.
Get a realistic (and maybe even hopeful) outlook on your field. Let’s be honest. Not every work environment is not ideal. In fact, some work environments can be very toxic and discouraging. LinkedIn can bring you a virtual breathe of fresh air when you are looking for inspiration to continue in your field. If you’re like me, the workplace has been a place where your ideas may not have been accepted or your opportunity for growth may have been stunted simply because someone above you or the organization was set in their ways. I encourage you to draw your inspiration from LinkedIn. You’ll find more people who are forward thinking and progressive and you’ll be able to see a more well-rounded and objective outlook of your industry. I’ve seen too many friends change careers simply because they were discouraged in their work environment. One workplace doesn’t define your field and sometimes your workplace can be a distorted interpretation of your field. Networking on LinkedIn can help you find your way through a foggy and toxic workplace.
So there it is… my top three reasons why young professionals need to be on LinkedIn. Young Pro’s, did I miss anything? Seasoned Vet’s, would you agree with some of the points in the article?