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I remember sitting with my friend in a coffee shop when I was 18 and a freshman in college. I was scrolling through my apps to get rid of notification bubbles, and in my email inbox, I had five new messages from classmate acquaintances asking me to join LinkedIn.

“People need to stop sending me these requests,” I angrily told my friend, showing her my phone. “It looks boring and stupid.” We laughed. I probably went back to my dorm and took a disgustingly long nap.

I was young and naïve. I didn’t realize, well, how to be a good student in general, but as importantly—the connections I would need to establish to help me lock down a job once I had my degree. My circle of awareness was grossly small, and I couldn’t foresee how important networking would be in my not so distant future.

Though it’s not too late for me to utilize the wonderful world of LinkedIn at age 25, I am still late to a really helpful game. So, if you take away anything from this article, let it be this: DON’T MAKE MY SAME MISTAKE. LinkedIn is the most beneficial social media app in use today—and I’ll explain why:

1. Connections

This seems fairly obvious, but let me explain in better detail. You know how sometimes you see a friend suggestion on Facebook, and you have no idea who the person is, but you share a handful of mutual friends?

Well, on LinkedIn, this random web of connections could be the pathway for a dream opportunity. Say you went to high school with Rick Dangerfield, and you have kept in contact throughout the years.

Rick is a software engineer and you’re an elementary art teacher. Having Rick as a contact doesn’t seem beneficial until you visit the profile of the inspiring administrator who spoke at a charity event about the innovative and creative curriculum she implemented in a school you’ve been dying to work at, and you realize that she is Rick’s brother’s new wife.

Now you can ask Rick if he would be willing to facilitate an introduction or a coffee date, and you’re one step closer to being… Linked. In. Cool, huh?

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2. Career Building

Having your resume and profile available for potential employers to see, is a great way to plant a little morsel in their minds of who you are and what skills you bring to the table, before they meet you in person for an interview. And trust me, almost all employers are checking LinkedIn profiles out.

Not only are you able to select the way you want to present yourself, LinkedIn also has evaluation sections where previous employers and co-workers can testify that you were a great leader, team builder, and Mr. or Ms. Positive Attitude and General Hard Worker.

3. Credibility

A common misconception about LinkedIn is that only job seekers are utilizing it, and that’s simply not the case. Successful business owners and start-up companies use LinkedIn to grow their sphere of influence by marketing themselves as a great place to work for potential, opportunity-hungry job hunters.

There are multiple schemers and schmoozers on the web looking to con people into investing time and money into their fake or failing businesses. LinkedIn brings an aspect of credibility to a business because it allows job seekers to see the number and types of people who are working for the company.

Plus, since business owners have no ability to edit or create their own reviews—any positive response written on their profile page contributes to their legitimacy and speaks to the integrity of their operation.

Don’t waste any more time. I’m telling you, LinkedIn can do wonders for you as a student, job seeker, employer, and business founder/owner. But don’t just take my word for it, get set up and start networking ASAP.

Want help building out your own LinkedIn profile? We can help!