Deborah L. Jacobs
Rachel Abady always knew she wanted a career that involves writing and video and says she was “absolutely determined to get it.” But in the autumn of 2011, while she was in her senior year at Barnard College, she felt like she was competing against all her classmates for the same limited pool of online job postings on NACElink – a web site that connects colleges and employers. When she went home to Westchester for Thanksgiving and told her parents about her dilemma, her father suggested she try LinkedIn.
“Why would I want to do that?” she asked. “I’m not 50 years old.” An avid user of social media, most notably Facebook and Instagram, Abady, now 23, thought of LinkedIn as something that her father Samuel, a lawyer, uses to keep in touch with former colleagues and college buddies.
Today she laughs at the irony, since she found her current job, as an associate video programming manager at AOL, through LinkedIn. But it was not her own account – it was her father’s. She now describes herself as “a huge proponent” of the site.
LinkedIn won’t provide demographics, but their career expert, Nicole Williams, says it skews toward older workers, who appreciate what social media can do for their professional lives, and might be less inclined to use sites like Facebook and Twitter, which they consider entertainment. (For her advice to older workers, see my post “What To Say On LinkedIn When You’re 50+.”)
I met Abady in April when we were both on a panel about women in journalism sponsored by Barnard, which is also my alma mater. During the program Victoria Passarella, the school’s associate director for student and alumnae career education, urged students to set up a LinkedIn account – something that seemed unfamiliar to most of the audience members. Abady’s story of how she found her job gave them compelling reasons to do that.
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