Published on March 9, 2023, at 10:43 a.m.
by Kate Amberson.
If you’re like me, once you started college you spent more time on LinkedIn than any other social media platform. Scrolling through your feed while exploring new connections and potential jobs becomes addictive. In all honesty, I wouldn’t necessarily call LinkedIn a social media platform. While it is constructed with similar components as Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn is more comparable to a virtual résumé and is a more suit-and-tie kind of platform.
Although the platform allows for easy job searches that can be narrowed down by specific filters, this feature simply does not matter if you can’t land a single job. As a result of LinkedIn’s accessible design, more people than ever can apply for jobs at the click of a button. Nearly every job seems to have close to 400 applicants. After all, a whopping 8.72 million job applications are sent every day through LinkedIn. With over 50 million users looking for jobs through LinkedIn weekly in 2022, users must set themselves apart from the crowd through personal branding and being their own public relations professionals.
At its roots, LinkedIn is all about selling yourself. It contributes to a vicious cycle where users compete to see who can make the most connections or post excessively about impressive achievements. LinkedIn is the finest example of “it’s all about who you know.” Because so many people are applying for jobs, the market is extremely competitive and you have to find a way to stick out.
But how can you sell yourself or build a personal brand on an incredibly overcrowded platform where everyone has a leg up because they know someone who knows someone?
LinkedIn is essential to building a personal brand as a public relations professional or student. With 135.4 million users active on LinkedIn every day, it is important to differentiate yourself from other users. While frequent posting, making connections and commenting on others’ posts can be agonizing, it is also imperative to growing your professional network. In fact, profiles that post weekly have 5.6 times the number of followers than profiles that post monthly. Each of these components expands your reach and makes your name known.
Professional networking can pave the way to a new contact or future job. Being authentic and engaging can set you apart from other users because LinkedIn is such a professional network. Creating an account that adequately showcases your skills and experiences makes you a competitive contender in a job search. Recommendations and endorsements from colleagues highlight your successes.
But what about organizations and companies? Isn’t it a two-way street?
While it is necessary for individuals to establish their virtual résumé on LinkedIn, organizations should do the same. An organization utilizing LinkedIn must be aware of its brand image. Having a completed profile and frequently circulating engaging content are crucial in connecting with potential employees. LinkedIn is not the place for advertisements. Instead, having a genuine conversation will draw users onto your organization’s page.
By posting frequently, organizations can build trust with potential employees and become thought leaders in their respective fields. In addition, answering questions and being involved in discussions on LinkedIn allow an organization to give and receive valuable insights.
It is never too early to start creating potential opportunities for your future and finding people who can help you get where you want to be. However, it is a mutual relationship, a two-way street one might say. Individuals and organizations must set themselves apart through personal branding and positive brand images to attract potential employers or employees. If you haven’t already created a LinkedIn profile, I’d recommend making that a priority.