Traditionally, when someone wanted to learn more about a potential new employee or an applicant, they would need a copy of a resume given by the individual in question. Now, in the age of information based services, it is important for basic information about yourself to be easily accessible online. The information expected is roughly equivalent to what one would see in a resume.
Since 2003, LinkedIn has been providing this sort of service for free. The idea of LinkedIn is to be a business oriented social network that is designed for professional networking. LinkedIn originated in the internet revolution referred to as the Web 2.0 era along with many of the most famous social networking websites that we use today. The idea of Web 2.0 was that the users of websites would create the content and that content could be shared with their friends or the whole world. In 2003-2005, the evolution of the internet from “Web 1.0” to Web 2.0 resulted in the creation of many of the most famous websites used today like Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, Yelp, WordPress, YouTube, and Blogger.
A LinkedIn profile is important for anybody who is looking to be professionally recognized. I do not know a single professional that does not have one. From doctors to lawyers, researchers to photographers, EVERYBODY has a LinkedIn account. Some companies even require employees to have accounts. For this reason, I believe it is important for pre-dental students to also have LinkedIn accounts that are properly filled. It is possible that future employers, dental colleagues, or even admissions officers could look at your profile to get quick access to a summary of you.
To get started visit their website at www.linkedin.com. Fill out the basic information on the front page to create your account. Once your account is created, reference your resume and add as much information as you can into the designated fields. Give this time, treat it as if you are rewriting your resume. Upload a profile picture that represents you as a professional. Remember, everything about your LinkedIn page should scream “Professional” when somebody views it. I would recommend looking through LinkedIn’s new user resources to get more detail on what one should add to their profile.
Like many other Web 2.0 websites, LinkedIn allows us to add “friends” better known as Connections. This appears on your profile and is a great way for individuals looking into you to learn more about the kind of people you are networking with. I would advise to be very picky as to who you add as a connection. Only add people you believe are valuable and reputable connections; after all, who you add is a representation of yourself and your professionalism.
If you want some ideas of the kind of things one should add, check out my profile (Elias Almaz). Also check your privacy settings to make sure your profile is completely public. The main reason we made this is so potential employers and admissions officers will be able to view the content without difficulty. The easier it is for them to find the information they want, the better their impression of you will be.
Hope you enjoyed the quick introduction to LinkedIn, if you haven’t already….go on and make that LinkedIn account now!