I joined LinkedIn soon after graduating undergrad in 2009 at the encouragement of my college mentor. She said it would be a great way to connect with professionals, and preferred it to Facebook for networking.
So I signed up, filled out a profile (replicating my resume) and thought, now what?
At that time, the site was clunky at best, and difficult to navigate. Being a recent graduate and LinkedIn being a virtually unknown site in 2009, I didn’t have many others to connect to but classmates (who at the time still hadn’t found their careers yet) and less than a handful of professors.
I had lined up a full-time gig as a literary publicist–why would I need to network for a new job? All LinkedIn allowed you to do was post your information and message others. In my 22-year-old naivety I pushed LinkedIn aside as yet another social media networking site that would soon flop.
Unfortunately, that’s where LinkedIn remained in my social media priorities for several years.
Meanwhile, I met several professionals through PRSA, vendor relationships, mutual friendships and other events…whose business relationship with me fell to the wayside because I didn’t feel comfortable connecting on sites like Facebook.
Over four years later, LinkedIn has more than redeemed itself. The first improvements included the opportunity to share updates on projects and industry news. Then, it included applications that allowed for the sharing of business presentations, news stories, integrated blogs, and project information. And while some LinkedIn groups and conversation threads seem to be yet another platform for blatant self-promotion or product marketing, there are many that provide useful, quality information and networking opportunities.
It’s been great to have a place where I can connect with peers and watch everyone blossom in their careers. Now four years into mine, I have a lot more people I’ve met who I can share opportunities with (and vice versa). But, I’m still working to re-train my brain to navigate and post items to LinkedIn, or check out what others are up to.
What are your thoughts on LinkedIn?