On February 14, Cleveland State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) held a workshop to discuss with the student body the importance of using LinkedIn as a professional tool and a way to network with possible employers. PRSSA is a student organization that focuses on networking and public relations at Cleveland State. The organization also focuses on content creation and event management. Held in Cleveland State’s Music and Communications building, the LinkedIn event was a successful turnout addressing student concerns and educating the student community about the benefits of using LinkedIn.
Founded on December 28, 2002, LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps and is used for professional networking. As of October 2018, LinkedIn had 590 million registered members in 200 countries. LinkedIn members create profiles and connections to each other in an online social network which are represented in real-world professional relationships.
“Each student is a different individual and we need to place an emphasis on putting themselves out there,” says Issam Roufal, Cleveland State alumni and event guest speaker. During the event, Roufal used a powerpoint presentation to display tools that help students create or advance their LinkedIn accounts. “It is not all about what you know, it’s who you know as well,” said Roufal. “That’s why I created this event; it’s for the students to help connect with each other and others in their professional fields.” As an aspiring law student, Roufal uses LinkedIn to network and connect with deans of multiple law schools.
“I’m a very social person, and LinkedIn embodies that same social perspective,” said Griffin Parrett, PRSSA president. “I can always find someone that I can connect with which is especially good for me working for Live Nation.” LinkedIn has helped Parrett connect with Live Nation members in various places such as San Diego. Parrett looks to his future with Live Nation and being connected with members will help if he should move outside of Cleveland. Parrett has also connected with a guest speaker that has made an appearance during one of his classes.
“I ran into someone a Barrio who happened to be a financial manager at KeyBank,” said Victoria Shepard, PRSSA vice president. “I sent him my connection on LinkedIn and he accepted it. It was a great connection and a talking point whenever people see that you know a particular person.” After Shepard has a phone conversation, she connects with them on the networking website. “Adding more people gives you more opportunities through these connections,” added Shepard. There are also jobs postings for professionals searching for employment. According to Shepard, it’s organized because the person searching for employment simply needs to upload a cover letter and resume to apply for a position. “Also, when you click the organization that you are applying for, you can see everyone from that organization and connect with them as well,” she said.
For Chau Tang, Cleveland State senior, LinkedIn has helped her know what kind of professional keywords to use in resume building. “I also met a professional in analytics, and we have had conversations about my minor in marketing,” said Chau. “I graduate this May, and I was told by professionals to connect. So, hopefully that will be a good connection that can help me with my career,” she added. “[LinkedIn] makes me feel more confident because I have connections!”
Students can gain great perspectives and opportunities through the professional networking website, and PRSSA encourages connections with other students as well. “PRSSA is a big, happy family and we get together often,” said Shepard. “We love attending and planning events such as LinkedIn and Student Day together. PRSSA isn’t a major specific organization and welcomes any student at Cleveland State.” Promote yourself, network your opportunities and get LinkedIn.
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