Ed Han wrote a great article on Job-Hunt.org about LinkedIn titled Why LinkedIn Is Not Optional for New Grads.
His three points are:
(1) LinkedIn helps you expand your network
(2) You can connect with employers on LinkedIn
(3) LinkedIn is essential for interview preparation
I wholeheartedly agree with Ed’s post. Here are my thoughts:
(1) As a new grad you might feel on top of the world, and like you have accomplished something of monumental proportions. And you have. Along with a ton of other people. If you think your buddies from school are going to be the ticket to your next job, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. Or, maybe they will help you land your job. But when you are looking for another job in two to five years, you’ll need a bigger, broader, deeper network. LinkedIn will help you with this.
(2) Why would you want to connect with employers on LinkedIn? I’ve got news for you: you aren’t a student anymore. You are considered to be working, or professional class. It’s time to put on your big boy or girl pants and swim with the big fish. Even if they are as old as a GenXer, or as outdated as a Baby Boomer, it’s time to play a whole different game. You can’t use “I’m a student” anymore to have the right conversations. The sooner you treat others as humans who bring value to your life, and appreciate them, the sooner you’ll make great strides in your professional networking. The flip side is to realize that even though you are inexperienced and wet behind the ears, you too might have value to bring (although it’s not as much value as the all the Millennial articles would have you believe – believe it or not, there’s something to be said for wisdom and experience). So, it’s time to start connecting with employers, even if they are (a lot) older than you, and start to nurture professional relationships.
(3) LinkedIn will be your best database for researching companies and people, and maybe even industries. Use it to learn, and understand, so that when you go into an interview, you can have an intelligent conversation and ask smart questions.
Read Ed Han’s take and tips on all of this here.