Get connected. Get LinkedIn!

Written by Sarah Prince

When it comes to connecting with professionals, LinkedIn is a great new tool for young people to build their network. For any PR student, professional connections are invaluable. Creating a LinkedIn profile provides unlimited potential for networking. It’s simple and free to join. Simply set up an account, post your resume and don’t forget to fill in your qualifications. It’s that easy to get connected!

Joining a professional networking site may not be on the radar for all students. Rather, Facebook and Twitter may be the social networking websites of choice. Now more than ever, PR students need to attract the attention of companies to secure future employment. LinkedIn provides a unique advantage over Facebook and Twitter; it can help you find jobs upon graduation and can help set you apart from other students.

It’s time for a change. It’s time to get connected. It’s time to get LinkedIn.

Below are five important benefits from joining LinkedIn.

1. Connecting with Professionals

Linkedin.com has more than 200 million professionals registered to exchange information, ideas and opportunities. Students will find friends, co-workers and company CEOs using this forum to connect with each other. Members are able to search for people, companies and job opportunities within the public relations field. Once a profile has been created, members can import email lists to expand their network.

2. Available Job Alerts

Once a profile is created, members are able to set email notifications for recommended job opportunities. Based on your field, interest and location, LinkedIn will provide notifications on job listings as they become available. For PR students this can be a valuable tool to help the job search and learn more about what skills and qualifications are required for future positions. Weekly emails alert each member what positions are available specific to their profile.

3. Gathering Company Information

As PR students are preparing for interviews and entering the workforce, researching a company is crucial preparation for an interview. LinkedIn provides valuable detailed company information. By visiting a company or organization’s page you have access to information such as; the location, their hiring process and what people have to say about that company. This type of research will help keep students ahead of the competition and it increases the possibility of finding employment.

4. Personal and Professional Recommendations

Following an up-to-date resume and skill set comes recommendations. LinkedIn has a feature where members receive recommendations from any of your connections. Professors, previous employers or even peers can share how brilliant a connection is at event planning, social media, communication plans and more.

All of this positive feedback enhances employment eligibility. The more recommendations received per skill, the greater the chance of attracting an employer’s attention. Don’t forget to recommend others to receive it in return.

5. Establishing and Growing your Professional Network

At any given time during the PR program followed by a professional job search, students will become networking experts. Networking will come in handy during a career; don’t forget to keep in touch.

Whether you meet someone at a conference or a career fair send them a personalized invitation to connect through LinkedIn. In PR and communications meeting new people is a daily occurrence. Sending a personalized message may trigger the memory of a potential connection that otherwise would pass over the request. It’s important to stand out, be memorable and professional.

Once a network has been built, use it to your advantage and stay current. As PR students, thinking about what comes after graduation is important to keep in mind. With numerous professional connections and available job listings, staying informed about opportunities within the field of Public Relations is easy. Take the opportunity to move away from Facebook and Twitter and try something new.

It’s time to get connected. It’s time to get LinkedIn!