Social media is incorporated into our everyday lives whether we’re actively scrolling or talking about a post our favorite celebrity just put onto Instagram. Now, we even have a position for managing and planning social media in the advertising and public relations world. As fun as it is to post about how cute our pets are on Facebook for National Pet Day, social media can also be helpful to our career path.

LinkedIn Overview

LinkedIn is a social network that has the main focus of connecting colleagues, potential employers, or employees and essentially being a platform for career opportunities. The way I explain LinkedIn to my friends or family is “it’s basically Facebook but for jobs.” With our world being very digitally oriented, LinkedIn is essential to PR professionals and any other professional in the workplace. Think of LinkedIn as your online resume and online space for professional connections.

LinkedIn Basics

I recently completed a course at Grand Valley State University named “Business Communications” or WRT 350 if you want to get technical. At the beginning of the course, we did resume and LinkedIn workshops as our first assignments. My professor expressed how important it was to have a well written and concise resume as well as an organized LinkedIn to accompany it. I loved this assignment because I’m constantly updating my LinkedIn and tweaking my resume as a student who is usually looking for internship opportunities. The main takeaways from that class that stuck with me regarding Linkedin are: have a professional profile picture such as a headshot, write a concise yet detailed biography, always have your work experience up to date and include any and every skill that you have (if I’m recalling correctly, he suggested having at least 20 or more skills listed). 

Vital Tips

Along with those tips, it is so important to make any and every connection you can. Whether it’s adding a friend from high school or a speaker from an awesome seminar you saw, any connection can open a door to a potential opportunity. While sitting in on a speaker for a PRSSA meeting, the guest speaker mentioned how in the past she had acquired jobs from connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn and asking them out for coffee. What a bold way to get your foot in the door! I’ve personally tried and haven’t had luck, but it doesn’t refrain me from wanting to try again – especially if I want the job badly enough.

From personal experience, my past three employers viewed my LinkedIn profile prior to starting the interview process. I won’t give my profile the only credit for acquiring my past three internships, but I can be confident that it was a helpful tool.

What to do now? Make your profile!

If you don’t have a profile already, make one after reading this blog. Choose a professional-looking profile picture (even if it isn’t a perfect headshot) and a sleek header photo. Your profile will be constantly updating, just like a resume, so complete each section at your own pace – especially to avoid any grammatical or spelling errors. And most importantly, start adding connections right away! Build your network with any and every person who has crossed your path, you never know what kind of opportunities could arise.

For a quick article read of what not to do on LinkedIn, visit this article by Forbes.

Samantha is a senior at Grand Valley State University studying Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in Spanish. This is her first year in PRSSA, and her first year serving as Social Media Director on the PRSSA Executive Board. This is also Sam’s first year on the GrandPR staff as an Account Associate. Sam’s dream job is to work for a cruelty-free cosmetic or skincare company in their public relations team. Some of the things Sam enjoys in life are iced coffee, her dog Cody and spending time with loved ones. Twitter: @smarie1231