LinkedIn: The hidden gem of social mediaBy Jackson Bryant | 04/02/2017 6:22pm
As a college student, I find that social media serves as a vital avenue for communication and interaction with other students. The Alabama Student Ticket Exchange, a notorious Facebook group designed for the buying and selling of football tickets, has morphed into a mass forum filled with memes and date party auctions. Meanwhile, appearance on The University of Alabama’s campus Snapchat story has been added to the college bucket list of a wealth of students. However, LinkedIn, a web-based professional networking program, has easily been the social media outlet that has contributed the most to my college experience.
Often referred to as “Facebook for business,” LinkedIn has become an invaluable tool relative to building a professional network and seeking job and internship opportunities. A user’s “network” is composed of a group of friends, or “connections” that often share commonalities such as current classmates or similar areas of professional interest. Once users add each other to their network, information such as work experiences, leadership involvement and educational background can become visible and serve as a form of a virtual resume that can be a critical asset to gaining a head up in the job or internship field.
Personally, LinkedIn has given me the opportunity to connect with students and professionals with similar interests and backgrounds that I may not have otherwise had opportunities to connect with through my everyday activities. This year, as a freshman, my network has expanded to encompass faculty members in my field of study, older students who have valuable experiences and connections within my areas of interest, and even a few renowned public figures such as Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.
The ability to network is certainly one of the most important qualities required for a successful start to life as a professional, and LinkedIn is a great tool that can easily be utilized to hone this skill. The University’s career center is able to provide students with feedback on how to improve their LinkedIn profiles, as well as discuss other strategies for building a solid professional circle. Many students campus wide have already jumped on the LinkedIn bandwagon, but if you have yet to make an account, I urge you to do so as soon as possible.