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Linking In to Our World

In addition to serving as the leading social media channel for B2B marketers, LinkedIn is becoming increasingly more active as millennials, and now centennials (also known as Gen Z or iGen), put forth their best efforts at networking the 21st century way. Of the approximate 590 million total LinkedIn users, about 40 million of them are students and recent college graduates. Personally, I find myself receiving more and more LinkedIn requests from college marketing students looking to make a connection or seek guidance while figuring out their next move. As we approach graduation 2019, this seems like an opportune time to shed some light on what I believe is essential for grads to keep in mind as they enter the workforce. So whether you are one of these upcoming college grads, if you have one in your life, or if your company is seeking to hire, I hope you find these insights relevant.

Due to market dynamics and how rapidly things change, I convey to the college students who ask me that they must study what is around them. Certainly, focus on the academics and get the best grades possible – That is a bare minimum and will likely help them get that first job. However, in order to demonstrate their value to an organization, they need to go beyond an impressive GPA and show that they are skilled in research and understanding trends.

Research in this sense means knowing about what is happening in our world, especially in business and politics, as they are more interrelated than ever. This does not necessarily mean taking a specific position, but it does mean being knowledgeable and sensitive to what the hot topics and hot buttons are that can determine whether a certain move will come across as an impressive idea or a mistake that may be difficult to recover from. 

In the age of so much information, choosing how to research is just as important as the content found. Choose credible sources with citations. Read about the same topic from different points of view. Get information from books and school journals – not just the Internet. Credible news and trade publications are full of the latest facts, figures and trends, which can seem to change almost in real time. Keep in mind that details can become outdated quickly, so put effort into following the evolution of a topic or story.

In addition to going beyond academics with thoughtful, extracurricular research, my other piece of advice is to keep networking, both online and in person. It is a critical part of the professional growth process. Networking can feel overwhelming to some recent grads, so be armed and ready with relevant research to share something you have learned, or offer a point of view based on a wide range of facts. Oh, and if you don’t know the answer to something, don’t try to make one up. Ask questions and listen. This is part of the professional maturation process. You don’t need to have all of the answers right now. Learning never stops. Seek out the help and guidance from mentors. The grads of today who do their best at keeping up with events and trends will be the most valuable leaders and mentors of tomorrow.

Marketing Agency Blog Post Author of Linking In to Our World

March 8, 2019
Written by Manish Patel

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