Linkcdln is a social media abdication that every accounting ami business student should join and use. Linkedln is a database of90,000.000 business professionals that enables each to connect and interact with their business associates-
Five reasons are offered for why accounting students should join Linkedln followed by II hints for use.
~c arc in the social media century. It is likely that some social media application has significantly impacted your life. Facebook has over 500 million active users, with average usage at 47 minutes each day (Faccbook. 2011). YouTube has resulted in a new phrase added to our daily vocabulary going viral. A social media app or application has made it big when it becomes a verb – friended, tweeted, skyped. texted, blogged.
Social media has had a profound impact on business (Golden. 2010). Accounting firms arc abandoning traditional marketing channels and arc moving to social media for getting the word out (Golden. 2010: MACPA. 2010). Competency in social media is becoming as important to your career as mastery ol debits and credits.
Linkedln is a social media application that is essential for any business professional. It has been said that everyone in business should be on il (Schaffer. 2009): many arc. The most used social media app is Linkedln (Association of Accounting Marketing. 2010). The purpose of this article is to explain why you an accounting and business sludenl should be on Linkedln and how you should use it.
WHAT IS USKEWS
Linkedln is a mainstream business application with several important capabilities. First, it is a large database of business professionals with 90 million members as of January 2011. iiach user has a record that contains I) biographical information called a profile, 2) a list of business associates also on Linkedln, and 3) contact information. Second, it is a social network. A social network brings together people who have relationships and who potentially could have relationships. This is accomplish, in large part, through the key word search function. Third. Linkedln provides convenient channels of communication, allowing its members to interact and share. This is accomplished by 11 the feature of sending e-mails through Unkedln to members of your network and 2) discussion groups organized around specialized topics.
Linkedln offers free basic accounts, which ate adequate for most users. It also offers paid subscriptions. Paid subscriptions return a higher number of search results and permit sending e mails (or inmails) to members not a part of your network “Unkedln paid accounts are generally geared toward professionals, such as HR representatives and recruiters …”(Burnham. 2010).
WHY JOIN AND USE UNKEDIN
Students are extremely busy. There is too much to do and too little time to do it. Prioritization is a must. Joining and using Unkedln is as important as creating a resume or taking Intermediate Accounting, and should he done just as early in your collegiate experience. Here are five reasons why you should do it now;
- Linkedln is a mainline business tool. There are 90 million u>ers on Unkedln, most of whom are in the business world. They use it. and expect you to he on it. Please don’t disappoint.
- Unkedln is how 21° century professionals build and manage their network of business associates. The business world is a team sport where you and your network compete against others. Your network is comprised of people who like, admire, and respect you. They have worked with you in the past and they arc willing to work with you in the future. The foundation of your netwx>rk is the group of students with whom you study, take classes and enjoy life. You need to formally connect with them before they leave campus.
- Linked//1 is where you professionally present yourself to the business world. It gives you the flexibility to manage your image (or brand). This is done through your Unkedln profile, which serves as a searchable resume. When others Google you. it will probably be the first item on the list. On your way to an interv iew? Check out the profile of the interviewer.
- Unkedln makes it convenient to stay in touch and informed about the members of your network. It isn’t true that you will always know a contact’s e-mail or phone number. Hath time a business person changes positions or moves around, their phone number and e-mail address can change. If they regularly update their profile, you will always have the latest contact information.
- Unkedln will be very useful to you alter college when you arc out in the business world. It will help your career. In the same way that farmers plant seeds months before anyone cats the food, you will need to create, grow and develop your Unkedln profile and network before there is a direct need of it. An important future use will be to search your extended network (your contacts have contacts who in turn have contacts).
Many professionals use Unkedln to find a job. Although it might serve that function after you have been out of school fora while, it probably won’t help you land that first job alter college.
TIPS FOR USING UNKEDIN
- Create a comprehensive profile. Make it visible to everyone. You are making no personal revelations here, only providing information that is available on your resume. You have already sent those out by the hundreds, haven’t you?
- Invite your college professor* to connect and join your network. Not all of your professors are on Unkedin, but some undoubtedly are. Most professors will he eager for the chance to stay connected with you after graduation.
- Ask your professors to write a Unkedin recommendation for you. Tl>e value of a positive recommendation should be obvious.
- Invite your fellow students to connect and join your network. They arc your friends now and can be your friends for a long time if you nurture the relationship. More than friends, they form the core of your professional network. Years after college, they can be helpful with business referrals and help in locating new positions.
- Make inkedm the home page on your browser. Viewing your network activity makes you aware of what people in your network arc doing. You should check it every day.
- Because Unkedln is the hub of where you professionally present yourself to the world, put your profile URL on your resume and business cards. If you have a blog, add a link to your profile. Also, update your profile URL to your name, if possible.
- Because social interaction is the means through which you will strengthen your existing network and grow it in the future, get started by joining Unkedln discussion groups related to your major and your school. Every college’s business school should have its own group. Occasionally post a question or an update.
- Always remember that Linkedln is i>ot You should not post personal photos, nor engage in unprofessional conversations. Remember, no one wants to know what you ate for breakfast or what you did on Saturday night. They are interested if you arc looking for a new position, recently found a new one. or acquired an important competency. Business people are busy and will disconnect you if you send out too many or too frivolous status updates.
- Include a professional photograph (i.c.. business suit).
- Always keep your e-mail and phone number current. Remember to change these after graduation.
- Send a personal note to anyone joining your network. Saying thank you has never gone out of style.
Business professors find Linkedln to be extremely useful, and so will you. They use Unkedln to get reaequainted with former friends, associates and former students, sending out an occasional personal note to a few members of their network. In addition, they connect with consulting clients, directors and staff of state CPA societies, professionals at the FASB and PCAOB. Professors make these connections because it is easy to have directed communication through Linked hi. Not only do professors need to send notes to. they also receive communications from textbook authors, journalists, professionals and form students through Unkedln.
You should begin and continue to use Unkedln. It is sure to be a value-added tool for your professional career.