A killer way to jumpstart your career

Via Flickr user Shekhar_Sahu.

Via Flickr user Shekhar_Sahu.

Are you on LinkedIn? You should be.

People give numerous reasons for why they don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, but no matter your field or if you’ve been working for 20 years or haven’t had your first job/internship yet, it’s time to get on the social media site designed for professionals.

I’m a LinkedIn success story — I found my job on LinkedIn’s job section. I find sources and experts for stories on the website. I want to convince you to get on LinkedIn today and start making connections.

Besides, it’s free, so what do you have to lose?

Excuse #1: “I don’t have a career yet, so I don’t need to be on LinkedIn.”

But LinkedIn is one of the ways you can jumpstart your career. You can meet people in your desired industry and see what key players your friends know. Knowing the right people is important for any field you want to enter, and LinkedIn allows you to search for people at any company. Let’s say I need an employee at Google because I want to work there, want to pick an employee’s brain, or need to interview an employee for a story. A quick LinkedIn search reveals that I have 29 second-degree connections (friends of friends) who work at Google. That gives me a lot of leads about who to contact.

Excuse #2: “I’m already on Facebook. I don’t need LinkedIn too.”

Facebook is great, but it’s not a professional social media site. Facebook is a way to stay up-to-date with friends and family; it’s not an effective way to meet new people who can play a role in your career. That’s what LinkedIn is for. It’s a way to market yourself to employers, people in your field, and anyone who wants to know your work experience and skills. You may not want to be friends with your former professor or boss on Facebook, but on LinkedIn, it’s encouraged.

Excuse #3: “There isn’t anything to do on LinkedIn.”

It’s true that I don’t hang out on LinkedIn like I do on Facebook because that’s not what the site is for, but there is plenty to keep occupied with. Besides the different ways you can find people and companies, you can also read career-related articles that LinkedIn recommends for you and see your friends’ latest professional happenings. You can also join groups for any job-related subject matter or industry and trade ideas with other people in your field.

I used to not know what to do with LinkedIn, but I’ve become a believer in it over the years. It’s how I got my job, find sources for stories, and know what my professional connections are up to. No matter what industry you’re in, LinkedIn is the tops.

And who knows? It could lead to your next big break.

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