How LinkedIn Can Save Your Life
If you’re currently in graduate school and not taking LinkedIn seriously, you might be shooting yourself in the foot.
If one looks at the presence of academics on LinkedIn, one might think that scholars consider “The World’s Largest Professional Network” as the ugly step sister of social media. Most academics have a LinkedIn profile that is either incomplete or non-existent. Why is that? In light of the low number of tenure-track jobs, graduate students need large, diverse and externally focused networks to prepare for the harsh reality of life post-Ph.D. In other words, to find Phd jobs outside academia. So why do they keep ignoring a platform with over 1000 million users in the U.S. only?
Here are 4 reasons you might be making a big mistake if you continue to ignore the powers of LinkedIn:
- EVERYONE’s on it.
LinkedIn is not ONLY for investment bankers, managers, and CEOs. Its users come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and are happily employed. In fact, many (if not all) organizations that employ recent Ph.D.’s are very active on the platform: NGO’s, publishing houses, think tanks, higher administration, government agencies, etc. Why aren’t you?
- It offers the best and easiest kind of networking.
Finding Phd jobs outside academia is hard. We know it. It’s even harder when you have not kept up with your associates, friends, and acquaintances that are not academics. Let’s imagine the worse case scenario and you don’t find the tenure-track job of your dreams. Do you want to be in the position of having to get reacquainted with people you’ve ignored for the last ten years, specifically because you need a job? Awkward!
LinkedIn keeps its member up to date when other members experience changes in their career. It even provides templates you can use to congratulate someone on a promotion or send best wishes when someone reaches a milestone in his or her career. A few minutes of maintenance every couple of days are enough for you to remain in the loop and avoid the awkwardness of having to beg a semi-stranger for a job referral a few years down the line.
- Recruiters and businesses consistently use Linkedin to look for potential hires.
According to a 2016 Global Talent Trends Report, 30% percent of job seekers have landed a job through social professional networks, and 39% through a referral. Employers love to hire people they trust. Landing your dream job has less to do with your immediate connections than with their connections. In other words, networking is not about your friends, but your friends’ friends. Being visible within the LinkedIn community is a great way for you to be perceived as being engaged, trustworthy, and most of all, grow your awareness of phd jobs outside academia.
- It’s a great way to build a resume and to keep it up to date.
Coming up with a compelling resume takes time and a lot of work, especially if you’re used to writing C.V.’s. Building your LinkedIn profile and keeping it up to date will make writing your resume much easier. Browsing different profiles is also a great way to find inspiration as to how you want to showcase your professional experience online and in-person.
5. It’s a great way to explore different career paths
You’ve probably heard of the “informational interview”, the sometimes awkward exercise during which a job-seeker contacts an employed professional to gain insight into a specific industry? Well, LinkedIn can help you prepare more fully for these types of meetings, and might even help you avoid them altogether by providing you with information about other career options. Because people spend an average time of two minutes on their site, the folks at LinkedIn have worked very hard to get users to stay longer by providing them with news feeds that are in alignment with their professional profile and career interests. It’s a great way to learn more by getting to know what people in other professions are reading.
So there you have it. Convinced yet? While it’s great to be involved in your immediate community, it might be wise to exist outside of academia, even if you are not currently looking for a job. Better be safe than sorry, no?
Want to get started now on your LinkedIn profile? Our other post tells you exactly how. Click here
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