Today, many prospective workers and students use the internet to find jobs and internships to utilize their skills and broaden their horizons. LinkedIn is a social media site that focuses on business, employment, and networking.
In 2017, LinkedIn had 106 million monthly active users and is available in 24 languages, so users come from around the world and can form links that they would not have been able to make otherwise.
The main feature of LinkedIn is its “connections”, which shows you other users and how far away they are from knowing you. For example, if your friend (a first connection) on LinkedIn is connected with someone with whom you are not, the unknown person is a second connection. This can be useful when trying to contact people in other industries since you can ask your first connection to become a liaison and introduce you to them.
LinkedIn also provides a way to get your skills and experience “out there”. Skills can be endorsed by your connections, which can add a layer of validation to them, making you a better candidate for certain jobs. You can list your certifications, leadership positions, and past employment for proprietors to see as well. Other valuable features are groups and recommendations.
Recommendations are statements from past employers, professors, co-workers, et cetera and give potential employers insight about you that you yourself may not be able to display. Groups connect you with professionals in the same field or that have similar interests and are used to share information and amplify your voice by sending messages en masse.
While LinkedIn may seem like a bastion for the unemployed, it can only give what you put in. So, if you do not put effort into your page or networking, you will not magically get a job at a Fortune 500 company.
LinkedIn also has a major problem with scammers who prey on college students that are eager to find internships and jobs relevant to their field. LinkedIn also has a membership system that puts “free” users at a disadvantage since they do not have access to the various advanced features (reference searches, instant messaging system, etc.) that members do.
LinkedIn, while having its downsides, is a good investment (even if you just put your basic information down) for anyone who wants to meet and network with new people in various fields of study. Its basic features are good enough to make using the site a no-brainer.