The moment that Facebook was no longer my favourite social media site was also the point in time I realised I was a grown up….or just about.
For those who are not familiar with LinkedIn, my new social media love, it’s a networking site for professionals. It sounds boring and like the last social media site that you would want to sign up for whilst desperately clinging onto your final few days as a student. However, if you’re serious about trying to make your way in the professional PR world then LinkedIn is pretty much essential and is more interesting than you think it would be!
Network of Professionals
Public Relations is, as you know, all about communication and who you know is very important. On a very basic level, LinkedIn allows you to keep in touch with your current contacts as well as giving you an opportunity to interact with other professionals through your existing contacts and group pages.
This is incredibly important because although PR is a very competitive industry when it comes to hunting for jobs, a PR pro working in London told me that the industry is really like a community where collaboration and an exchange of ideas and skills is essential when building strong, creative campaigns.
The effectiveness of the traditional C.V is declining rapidly. For the likes of PR relations and marketing it is essential that you can demonstrate good social media skills so where better to recruit than directly from a social media site. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially your own online CV. However, one added benefit which I have found useful is that you can link your blogs or published articles to the bottom of your profile so that potential employers can see your work just by clicking once. The same is possible for projects that you’re working on so that each user has the potential to create their own interactive portfolio.
Furthermore, companies are increasingly choosing to advertise their job opportunities and internships through LinkedIn as and when they become available. Similarly to twitter, LinkedIn allows you to follow companies or people you’re interested in and thus you’ll never miss an opportunity to apply to your favourite companies if you regularly check your newsfeed.
PR students like myself will know that internships and grad scheme places are like gold dust and must be applied to quickly before they disappear, so keep your eye on LinkedIn like you do on Facebook or twitter!
The group platform has to be one of the best functions of LinkedIn, well for me anyway. It is a platform from which professionals ask questions, exchange interesting articles and research as well as hints and tips.
This has helped me in ways I never thought it could. For one assignment at university I was faced with the puzzling question – Why is the integration of marketing communications so important to the success of global communications campaigns?
When I began reading for this in textbooks and journal articles I only become more and more confused. So I decided to ask the professionals what they thought and to do so I posted on the wall of different groups I had joined. After sending over 30 emails to PR professionals directly and with very little response I didn’t hold my breath.
Surprisingly, PR and marketing pros from across the globe responded to the post and a very interesting discussion began. I was able to enter into a conversation with experts in the field easily and openly so that others could join in and fuel the debate further….and it gave me brilliant quotes to use in my essay!
Following the success of my first attempt I did so again to ask for recommendations for good PR blogs. Again, I had many responses and all were extremely useful. I now have a wealth of reading material at my finger tips whenever I log onto the computer and I’ve made connections with PR pros as a result.
Furthermore, LinkedIn has allowed me to make connections with professionals I would never have had a chance to meet had it not been for this website. Who knows, perhaps it will help me land my dream PR job!
Do you have any tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile? Or any recommendations on ways to make using LinkedIn more effective? Please let me know!