New online networking website raises questions for students
Recent college graduates need to educate themselves on online networking etiquette
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 20:02
In an increasingly competitive job market, university students are in constant need of new ways to network with potential employers. Since 2003, a website called LinkedIn has taken online networking to an entirely new level. On LinkedIn, employers and potential employees are able to “connect” (the Facebook equivalent of “friending”) with one another by sharing more professional information than what is included in a simple cover letter or resume.
Online networking is exploding with popularity as college graduates and the unemployed scramble to land jobs. LinkedIn allows its users to connect with people they know and others in their field of interest. Similar to other forms of social media, users upload pictures and add personal information. However, there is an obvious distinction between LinkedIn and a website like Facebook given your LinkedIn profile is supposed to land you a job and not show off pictures of your cats and funny YouTube videos. But where do you draw the line? The semi-formal atmosphere of LinkedIn can be confusing as many questions begin coming to mind.
Who should I “connect” with? Should I “connect” with everyone or just people in my field? How am I supposed to present myself? What pictures do I post? What is a picture in professional action? Do I come off as less interested applying for a job via LinkedIn? If I don’t have any professional experience, is LinkedIn for me? Should I be “connected” with as many people as possible? How many is too many? Do I “connect” with my mom? Is that weird?
Obviously, there is a lot we need to learn about online networking. LinkedIn has been around for almost 10 years and the university has yet to offer much guidance on using it. Online networking is going to continue playing a prominent role in our search for a career and in order to use it successfully, we need our questions answered.