Why You Need A LinkedIn Profile

Well it is currently that crazy, exciting/nightmarish (depending on how many offer/rejection letters you receive) time of the year known as recruiting season.  Unfortunately, due to our soon to be “deceased” quarter system, Fisher graduate students have historically been at a “timing” disadvantage in getting internships and jobs since many students at other universities have already had midterms by the time we finally have had our first day of class.  Fortunately, though, the Fisher graduate programs are amazing as are their students.  Thus, many big companies are very willing to wait the time for Ohio State/ Fisher graduate students to start and get them into their company.

One of the biggest things I tell students to do as they search for employment is to create and actively use a LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site in the world.  Notice how the word networking is in bold.  Every time you see your career advisor, or anyone you ask “how do I get a job” related question in Fisher, he or she will tell you to NETWORK.  Last year I just wanted to say to people “Ok. WE GET IT.”  As many times as your ears may ring from hearing that phrase, get some gauze because it is extremely true.  But let’s face it, networking can be uncomfortable and sometimes really awkward face to face.  That’s why LinkedIn is so perfect!  It allows you to professionally network and remove the initial awkwardness.  And by the time you have established some communication with someone over the Internet and actually encounter them in person, it can take away a lot of that initial awkwardness.

(Don’t go just “Linking In” with people you don’t know or you’ll look like a crazed freak.  More on this next week).

My organization, Columbus State Community College, just started using LinkedIn and paid a decent amount of $$$s to set up a contract with LinkedIn.  The reason I deem this important to put into this blog is due to the fact that we are in a transition of having a transactional HR department to a more strategic one.  We don’t even have recruiters or someone who mainly focuses on bringing in our talent … our HR Representatives do it (among the million other things they have to do).  However, our department thought, in our steps to evolving as an HR department, that it was very important to start using LinkedIn.  If a local community college deems it important, than I can guarantee practically every person you are talking to at career fairs are using it.

LinkedIn is transforming the way recruiters recruit.  From an HR side, it gives us access to millions of people/resumes/profiles that we can search for down to what we want.  It has made things so much easier.  I sat in on a webinar a few weeks ago and this recruiting consultant who does training for many corporate recruiters praised it up and down, and he said he enjoyed using it so much that if he weren’t so “experienced” he would be a recruiter again (since this tool was not available to him at the time he coming up through the ranks).  It is also nice because it is one of the few social networking sites that tends to be acceptable to be on at work.

Now, some may disagree that using this at work means you’re trying to leave your job.  Perhaps – but it is actually better if more employees are connected.  It is a lot easier to sift through the connections of your employees (who know good people) than random people who you may not be able to see their entire profiles, because you’re not connected.  All employees should be encouraged to broaden their network (so your HR department can use you through your networks).  Any employer who doesn’t encourage this is limiting themselves, and making the lives of their recruiters a lot harder.

I was going to insert my personal tips on how to use LinkedIn, but I think this post has been long enough.  So I will save that for next week.  Plus, Ringer is about to come on.