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Hellooooo Real World! Welcome to LinkedIn

With graduation less than a week away, it’s time to start realizing the end is near. Very near.

For those of us who are graduating seniors and moving on to the next chapter in our lives the time has come to accept the fact that the golden years of minimal responsibility, Thursday nights at the Brew and escaping the Parking Ticket guy are finally coming to an end.

With our professional lives starting too soon it’s time to start (for those of you who have yet to do so…) the daunting job search process. If you haven’t heard of the professional social networking site, LinkedIn, yet…it’s time to start learning.

LinkedIn operates as a professional networking site for those of us in the workforce. It was launched in 2003 and the site currently has one million new members joining every week. It operates as the world’s largest professional networking site with over 200 countries and territories.

This site serves as an online gathering place for networking. And believe me, from personal experience; networking is what it is all about. You create a profile on the site that is basically an online version of your resume. You also have the option to fill out a summary portion of your account where you can pretty much highlight your specialties or like me, showcase a condensed version of your general cover letter.

There’s a section that you fill out with your work experience, including timeframe, company and a list of the actual description of your position. There is another section under your profile for recommendations that your “connections” have written for you. And for more additional information about yourself you can add any personal or company websites, Twitter accounts, interests and groups and associations.

So similar to Facebook you can amass a whole crew of “connections”, just like your Facebook friends only not as creepster style (as in all those friend requests you get from random guys). And what’s different than Facebook is that those randos who usually add you on The Book, will do so on LinkedIn…only it’s not nearly as sketchy because it’s purely professional (…I think?). You will actually want to accept most connections who add you because you never know who knows who and what opportunities may follow!

You also have the option to create status updates, join professional networking groups and search for jobs. You can “follow” certain companies you’re interested in, sync your Twitter account with LinkedIn updates and see what your fellow “connections” are up to.

From a personal experience, LinkedIn has proven wonders for me, even getting me my first full-time, real world, big girl job. One of my connections from a company that I was interested in added me and I then messaged him asking about any job opportunities within his company. I sent over my resume and necessary info, was transferred to another Director within the company and voila la…I’m now employed!

Whether or not you’re about to say goodbye to the careless days of freedom here at the University of Maine or about to begin your last year as an underclassman (aka…sophomore), join LinkedIn to get ahead of the crowd and show off your skills and talents to the professional world. Go out there and start looking for opportunities for internships, real world jobs or even part-time summer positions, whatever work experience only adds to your resume and gives it a polished look that will appeal to any employers out there.

So for those of us entering the real world, it’s time to set aside Facebook; stop creeping the smokeshows and Campus Cuties of the week. Instead, create an account on LinkedIn to begin life as a grownup (kind of) and start makin’ that money, honey!

P.s.  Add me as  connection!

Photo Credit:Linkedin.com & www.thedigitalbus.com

Shaina Dennis is a senior at the University of Maine majoring in mass communications and double minoring in public relations and business administration. She was born in heels, preferably 5” stilettos, and is a lover of traveling, shopping, cooking, laughing and meeting new people. She is an active sister in the Delta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi and when not obsessing over anything sparkly, Shaina can be found making sushi and taking photos. But don’t let the glitter and pink fool you, this girly-girl drives a stick and can fish for lobster like no other. Although she grew up in a small, rural town, Shaina is a city girl at heart and loves a fast-paced lifestyle of always being on the go!
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