Why You Should Be on LinkedIn

By Kathryn Cambrea

Graphic created by Kathryn Cambrea

  • Grow your network.

This is absolutely crucial. As college students, we should begin to grow our networks if we haven’t already. This is applicable to LinkedIn as well as any way that we choose to further our careers. In an article titled, “How to Network from Home” from The New York Times, author Julie Weed writes, “In fact, the time to invest in your network is when you least need it, so by the time you do require assistance, you have created a strong support system.” You never know who could be of value to you in your network. This includes professors, coworkers, classmates, current and former employers, prominent people in your chosen field, and more. Also, you should never stop growing your network. By creating a LinkedIn account and making your first connections, you are planting a seed. Continue to feed that network with people within the career you want to pursue. As you continue on your career exploration journey, you will only meet more people, and your network will inevitably grow. 

  • Locate job and internship opportunities. 

When signed into your LinkedIn account, click on the tab labeled, “Jobs.” From there, you can use key words such as a company name or skill as well as specific location information such as your zip code to find jobs near you. Continue to refine your search with the filters of LinkedIn. For instance, you can narrow down the jobs that pop up to internships and select if you would prefer a remote internship. You could also find internships within a certain distance from your home, and see which opportunities are looking for people with your skill set based on your profile. You can even apply to internships through LinkedIn.

  • Establish your platform in the job world.

Why else would you be on LinkedIn? This tip goes hand in hand with the first tip. Evidently, you want people in your network, especially those within the same industry as you, to remember who you are. Reaching out to them, even if it is to simply connect, is a huge step. If you choose to frequently post on LinkedIn, this could help. Your profile plays another role in this as well. It may appear in someone else’s feed, and he/she may initiate in asking to connect with you first. In fact, people may search for or click on your profile, and many times, you can see who does. According to LinkedIn Pressroom, “With more than 20 million professionals using LinkedIn search every week, these insights can help you understand where opportunities are coming from so that you can better optimize your profile to get connected to a new job or other professional opportunities.” Every job and internship you have will be on your LinkedIn profile; your profile is associated with your school as well as any place you ever worked at. This maximizes the chances of people locating your profile. And you never know who could!

  • Showcase your work and credentials.

On LinkedIn, I like to treat my profile like my resume. Describe your internship experience as well as tasks you complete or completed. It is important to have every job or internship you have ever had listed. This shows your credentials to anyone who visits your profile. Another component I love about LinkedIn is how you can attach your own work to your profile. LinkedIn allows you to add “Accomplishments,” and there are multiple subcategories, such as “Awards” and “Publications.” I aim to add the links to every published article I have written to LinkedIn. It is one thing on my profile to say that I have written articles, but to have them there not only proves what I have written, but makes the publications easily accessible to people who may need to see them, such as a future employer.

Ten Ways to Maximize Your Internship Experience

By Kathryn Cambrea

Through reflecting on my internship with WRCR Radio AM 1700, here are some tips to follow to ensure that you make the most of exploring your career. (Learn more about my internship experience here on The Thoma).

(Photo courtesy Kerry Potter): Kathryn Cambrea poses in the WRCR station before co-hosting the “John and Kat Show.”

  • Ask questions.

This tip is absolutely crucial to any field. Evidently, we learn through wonder and curiosity. By interning with the local radio station, I asked staff for feedback on my work, such as my newscasts, as well as for technical information so I could learn how to board-op or operate the sound of a program. Also, since my internship is in the field of journalism, I conducted interviews regularly, either at events that I would later cover in the news or during my radio program. Asking questions allows you to grow and ultimately learn more about your internship as well as the whole world around you.

  • Take initiative.

This is a motto that I always abide by. I had the privilege to co-host a radio program with a STAC alum this summer. The experience required a lot of planning and preparation. I reached out to many of the guests who we had on the show; our guests included a mental health professional, a leader of a local nonprofit organization, a former teacher of mine, a radio host and business owner, a STAC professor who has tremendously served the community, STAC’s new president, an RCC student who created a fund to help his classmates, and more. I also took initiative by suggesting ideas to established radio hosts on the station and executed those ideas by interviewing them over the airwaves. Through such interviews, not only did the listeners and I learn more about the radio hosts, but I gained invaluable experience of being heard on the air.

  • Take risks.

Speak to people who you have never spoken to before. As a journalist, you have to do this a lot to gather information and quotations. If you are offered an incredible opportunity to further your internship experience, do not turn it down. The unfamiliar is daunting, but once you explore it, you may realize just how much better you now are for tackling your nerves. To me, my internship had two components: covering events and helping several facets of the station as well as planning and hosting a program. My internship grew to include the latter, which was new yet ultimately exciting and rewarding. Had I turned down the opportunity of creating content for and hosting a radio program, I would have regretted it. 

  • Establish connections.

Not just on LinkedIn, although that is recommended. Talk to your coworkers and exchange contact information. Most importantly, have a positive impression on your coworkers. They may take the liberty to connect with you and present you with invaluable feedback and opportunities. Also, you do not know who else your coworkers know. If you maximize your internship experience and are a reliable asset to the company or organization, perhaps your work will be recommended to others who could potentially hire you in the future.

  • Base value on experiences, not dollars earned.

Not every internship pays. The idea of an internship being unpaid does not invalidate the work that you do nor the skills that you acquire. For instance, my internship during my senior year of high school was unpaid, and yet, I covered events and had my articles with my byline published in local newspapers. If an internship does pay, that is certainly a benefit, but do not automatically negate opportunities presented to you solely because they do not pay at all or enough. Also, money should not be what motivates you; it should be your own fulfillment that does. 

  • Communicate with your support team.

Tell your family and friends about your internship. Also, tell your advisor, professors, and even your past teachers. I had the privilege to interview my sixth grade and high school journalism teacher on the airwaves. People who love you will root for you, and such support is an incentive to learn and grow. 

  • Learn about the community the company or organization serves.

WRCR is a great source of news for the community of Rockland. And WRCR’s listeners are a loyal family who are just as likely to tune into the afternoon drive as they are to the morning programming. I had the opportunity to meet many of these listeners when answering the phone at the station as well as over the airwaves when they chimed into discussions. Without the audience, there would be no radio. Without the community, the company or organization that serves them would not exist.

  • Continue to learn more about the company or organization you intern for.

I made sure to listen to WRCR even on days that I didn’t report to the station. This allowed me to not only learn about the different programs, but to learn the names of the community members who always tune in. In addition, I would be elated to hear my own voice saying newscasts and advertisements over the air. Covering an event and writing a newscast are integral responsibilities, but hearing your voice say the newscast on the air is very exciting.

  • Value feedback.

When you are given positive feedback at your internship, accept it and remember who gives it to you. This is important because in the future, you may need a letter of recommendation. Also, value constructive criticism. You never walk into an internship knowing everything there is to know about the field; employees of the company or organization understand that you are learning. Use constructive criticism as fuel to improve and gain more skills. 

  • Consult with the Office of Career Development for assistance.

Director of Career Development, Maureen Mulhern, will help guide you in your internship search. After conducting research, I found that I was potentially interested in interning for WRCR, and I communicated this to Ms. Mulhern. She had the email address of a staff member there, so I reached out. And I ended up having a memorable internship experience. Ms. Mulhern not only has multiple connections, but she can help you navigate resources to find your ideal internship, such as LinkedIn and SpartanJobs.