Networking, a word I’ve heard so many times in my career that I could only dream of being on a game show and networking being the answer to the question sending me home with a million dollars. How about actually having questions when the interviewer asks “do you have any questions?” Or how about having people recommend you who have kept up with you over time? Accomplishing these tasks and more is where LinkedIn comes into play.
A resume is a synopsis, but a LinkedIn page is a never ending story. For every funny video shared on Facebook, there’s the opportunity to post a great media project, event, fundraising campaign, and so on that one helped run in detail. Many hold the misconception that LinkedIn is just a copy and paste of a resume on the internet. However, where the resume is succinct and sweet, LinkedIn is the place to detail your life like the Greek epics of old. I encourage others to think of LinkedIn the ilk of Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and so on. These sites constantly reveal our personalities and preferences, which encompass our brand. Whether we actively think about it or not, we each are a brand, and LinkedIn allows for continual personal and professional development of said brand, leaving less room for others to define the narrative for us.
LinkedIn simplifies keeping up with professional and personal contemporaries. A few ways I use LinkedIn are viewing the latest career exploits of former colleagues, researching job titles and duties of others with roles similar to mine, and researching roles I plan to pursue someday. The same way that an individual should know about the organization they are interviewing for, they should also know about the specific individuals that they plan on working with. For example, if you know a bit more about your interviewer then you can curtail your questions from broad and vague to sniper accurate. Even with less selfish motives, keeping up with others in your network really allows you to assess the strength of your network.
Clearly, network maintenance requires much more than just using LinkedIn, but LinkedIn can be a valuable tool. Networks do not merely exist to be at the beck and call of those within them. A network may as well be thought of as a tree sapling; nurture it and it can grow exponentially, neglect it and it will wither. With LinkedIn as a tool, it is much easier to nurture a sapling network. Maybe you want to send a handwritten note, but don’t have any idea what to write about? Well, checking in on LinkedIn is usually a good place to start to see some career moves that have been made, posts about their job, or it can serve as an access point to other information sources on a person or organization. There’s a lot more I can say about LinkedIn, but I’ll end with this. Information is the key to preparation, and having more information can only aid any young professional, especially when it comes to making ourselves more visible in the industry. In short, create and maintain a LinkedIn today.
Erick Taylor is an aspiring college sports professional and MPSA candidate attending Texas A&M University. Originally from the Greater Atlanta area, Erick received his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University, where he also served as a development intern for the Panther athletic department. A young, relatively inexperienced prospect in this industry, Erick is in search of the tools and skills required for success. By sharing his journey, he hopes to help others achieve their professional goals as well.