Reap benefits of professional social media

You’ve probably heard of Facebook and Twitter, but another social network could hold a higher stake in your future.
LinkedIn is the black-tie cocktail party of social networking. Users create profiles that showcase their experience, awards, recommendations, community involvement and more. The website offers both free and premium versions of their services.
“Having a LinkedIn profile is the equivalent of having a resume, a portfolio and references, all within the easy reach of recruiters and hiring managers,” said adjunct communication professor Kathy Aicher.
Aicher, who owns her own business and previously worked at NBC Universal, knows the importance of entering the workforce digitally.
“Launching your career is a competitive business, and if you are not on LinkedIn, you are at a disadvantage,” she said.
In addition to acting as a digital resume, LinkedIn offers access to job listings, professional discussion boards and the ability to “follow” companies to stay updated on their happenings.
Users can also see who has viewed their profile and how many times their name has appeared in search results.
The LinkedIn network introduces a new element into job hunting: recruiters and hiring managers can search for candidates with certain qualifications and experience.
Andrew Stein, senior digital analyst at L.L. Bean, landed his current job and his previous job at as a result of recruiters contacting him via LinkedIn.
“I haven’t searched for a job in 10 years,” he said in a phone interview. “Advancement and better opportunity have found me through LinkedIn. Even if you aren’t actively in the job market, jobs may find you.”
Connections on LinkedIn are meant to be authentic. You can ask to be introduced to someone via a mutual friend, or reach out to someone directly with a personalized connection request.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, the best time to start building is now. Begin by making connections, posting your experience and joining groups relevant to your skills and desired career path.
The network you build now will follow you long into the future. You can stay updated on classmates’ professional activity and maybe even reach out to a Castleton alum in 10 years to land your dream job.

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