I think you would have trouble finding many other undergraduate students who enjoy utilizing LinkedIn as much as some of the public relations students at Ohio University do, myself included. In the words of my good friend and the current Hugh M. Culbertson PRSSA chapter president, Heather Farr, “You know you’re addicted when you use most of your free time to browse updates your LinkedIn iPhone app.”
All joking aside, I would like to take a moment to encourage all of my fellow undergraduates to learn more about the benefits of LinkedIn. The site offers much more than networking. Just some other great uses available to LinkedIn members include:
- LinkedIn Today
- Reading List by Amazon
- Ability to Follow Companies
- Job Matches
- LinkedIn Events
LinkedIn Today is great for keeping up with business news, as well as finding great reads about company cultures, learning to foster a pleasant work environment, facing challenges in the workplace, and a plethora of other trending topics. Just one example of the sorts of great content you will access through LinkedIn Today is an article sent to me earlier today, “8 Rules For Creating A Passionate Work Culture.”
I found this article very insightful and inspiring. It is great content because it is applicable to a wide range of professionals. Companies looking to hire new talent should be well aware of the importance of hiring the right person, and how a hires personality can influence the overall work environment. People on the job search need to understand that they need to have passion for what the company stands for, instead of applying to any number of jobs just for the sake of applying to get hired anywhere that will take them. A great piece of advice I recall hearing from a PRSSA meeting my sophomore year was “when looking for a job, don’t apply because you want A job, apply because you want THAT job.” Overall, the article is simply fantastic, and presented philosophy I think many companies strive to live up to, just take a look at Red Frog Events in Chicago. They have been recognized by the Chicago Tribune and Experience as one of the best places to work, and by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as Small Business of the Year! I can say from my own personal experiences touring their office and they definitely live up to the work hard-play hard mentality, hiring the right candidates, being ambitious, and creating the space. In summary, I read the suggested articles by LinkedIn Today, they’re fantastic!
Groups is probably the second most commonly used feature, following the standard connecting/networking with individuals. Groups are great for a number of reasons: they create communities of individuals who share similar interests, goals, and are looking to discuss trends in their industries. Groups you can join range from ones of professional orientation to social outreach, and they provide a great source for insight and frameworks for thoughtful discussion and outreach.
I find polls on LinkedIn very interesting, especially when voters reply to the survey with an explanation on why they voted the way they did on a topic. I’ve explored polls examining everything from hiring techniques used by search committees to interoffice dynamics and attendance at trade shows and conventions. The information provided by these polls can be useful to a variety of people, including students on the job hunt, managers, company leadership, and HR.
Reading List by Amazon
I love to read. Previously, my choice novels primarily included leisure reads such as The Hunger Games trilogy and works by David Sedaris. In the past year I have ventured out to reading books to help improve my professional skills in writing, public relations topics, event planning and execution, crisis communication, and higher-level management and coordination, among other things. Reading List by Amazon allows you to explore what your network, as well as thought leaders in your industry, are reading.
Subscribing to Company Pages
The ability to follow companies is great, especially if you’re interested in working with that company in the future. The company page shows public updates and posts from their current employees, as well as any college alumni and connections who currently work for the company or have in the past. Contacting people in your network to pass along your resume to the right set of eyes is an important part of getting your foot in the door at your dream company, so you can begin your journey toward that dream job!
Maybe you’re not even sure which company your dream job exists. Well, LinkedIn has a solution to that as well: Job Matches. Job Matches sends job opening alerts directly to you via email. Companies post openings, then, based on your settings and site algorithms, LinkedIn sends openings in your industry and areas of interest to you. For as many large corporations that are posting job openings, I’ve noticed almost as many posts from smaller start-ups. These companies are definitely worth checking out, maybe they just created a position that is the dream job you never knew existed!
Events on LinkedIn are great for two reasons, one, you can promote your own events, making it easy to publicize it and invite your connections. Secondly, you can browse events in your area, or an area you are looking to relocate to for networking opportunities, conferences and workshops.
SlideShare on LinkedIn
SlideShare is a tool I’ve only recently began exploring. During this past winter quarter I was enrolled in a course taught by Dan Farkas, a visiting instructor at Ohio University and media extraordinaire. He introduced me to SlideShare, as he posts his course PowerPoints on their server. This was certainly helpful in a instructor-student workspace, but I see other advantages to posting content to SlideShare as well. First, as you post content it sets you up as a thought leader in the topics you’re posting about. Additionally, SlideShare can help increase brand awareness, people can share your files through email or social media sites, it can help drive traffic back to your company’s website, and it might be a great option for featuring portfolio work, as the slides can be featured on your LinkedIn page. Interested in learning more about SlideShare? Check out this article from PR Daily: “5 reasons PR pros should use SlideShare”
So there you have it, just a few more reasons you should be actively engaged with your LinkedIn account. There are a number of other features on LinkedIn I still have yet to discover myself, did I miss mentioning one of your favorite features? Let me know in the comments!