While it may not be the sexiest of social media networks, LinkedIn is definitely the most important one for professionals. With more than 277 million members, there’s no denying LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. In fact, professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at an astounding rate of more than two new members per second. And that’s just the beginning of LinkedIn’s potential.
A whopping 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. Moreover, LinkedIn’s growth in web traffic grew by 34.51 percent in 2013. In short, LinkedIn use is not only increasing with millennials, it’s also become the go-to service for professionals of all ages. If you need more convincing, consider the following.
LinkedIn is all about establishing connections. When you connect with other professionals in your field, you’re gaining more knowledge and insight since you’re interacting with colleagues. Have a question? Ask someone on LinkedIn. Want to know about upcoming events in your area? You can find out this information on LinkedIn as well. In other words, your connections on LinkedIn can help accelerate your career.
If you’re looking to get more connections on LinkedIn, here are a couple of tips:
- Have a profile image — a professional headshot is recommended.[pullquote]When interviewed by Search Engine Journal’s Murray Newlands, LinkedIn Senior Content Marketing Manager Jason Miller explained that establishing connections was a crucial part of the LinkedIn Influencer Program.[/pullquote]
- Complete your profile. Make it easier for people to find you by including your name, location, and enticing headline. Be sure to add a summary of your education, skills, and experience.
- Add connections. Begin by searching for people you already know and send a personal message, inviting them to connect.
- Get recommendations and endorsements. Ask people you have worked under or with to give you a recommendation or endorsement.
- Share relevant content on a regular basis.
- Participate with groups. Become an active member of two sets of groups: one consisting of people from your niche, and the other consisting of your target audience. Then, share content and engage them. Joining groups is an excellent resource.
You can also use LinkedIn as a way to promote yourself professionally. Whether you’re employed, looking for a job, or a business owner, think of your LinkedIn page as a personal website that can be used to share your accomplishments with your connections. After all, you now know what potential connections are out there; a high-profile partner or client could be impressed by your work.
Behavioral health expert Shannon Freedle encourages young adults to “Keep in mind that LinkedIn should not be used as your resume. The difference is that a resume informs others what you’ve done, while LinkedIn tells viewers you who you are.”
Freedle further advises, “While sharing a summary of your past education and experience are important, it’s more vital to illustrate your value and what you can bring to the table.”
Receiving Job Alerts
Gone are the days of searching through pages and pages of job listings. LinkedIn now has the capability to recommend jobs that directly match your profile. Additionally, LinkedIn will show job listings in your network and send out email alerts for recommended jobs. If you’re a business owner and are looking for employees, LinkedIn also provides the ability to post job listings.
Showing a potential employer that you have a well-maintained LinkedIn profile can make an enormous difference when applying for a job opening. Consequently, you want to make sure that your information is both up-to-date and complete.
LinkedIn Bests Other Social Networks
When it comes to professional social networks, LinkedIn stands alone. Think about it. Who are LinkedIn’s major competitors? No other social network focuses solely on professionals. Moreover, local services such as Xing, Viadeo, and Baidu simply don’t match the size and scope of LinkedIn.
Also consider that LinkedIn is safer for your career, meaning you won’t have to worry about someone tagging you in an embarrassing photo or status during a drunken stupor. Furthermore, LinkedIn is probably the only social network that is permissible to be used in the workplace. While Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube may be banned, you can still be on LinkedIn because it’s a work-related tool.
Google Loves LinkedIn
Take a second and Google your name. What was one of the first results? If you have a LinkedIn profile, we’re willing to bet that it was one of the top results. For some reason, Google just loves LinkedIn, which is beneficial for managing search results. In other words, if you applied for a job or met someone at a networking event and they searched for you online, your LinkedIn profile would appear. That’s a major bonus if you’re attempting to expand your network.
Once again, make sure you have a professional photo, catchy headline, contact information, a vanity URL, a compelling summary, and samples of your work. These will all ensure that your profile has a professional appearance, and enable people to find you easily.
On May 3, 2012 LinkedIn acquired SlideShare, which is a great tool for educators and professionals. For the uninitiated: SlideShare gives people the ability to create and share information through presentations, infographics, or documents. SlideShares can be embedded into your website or blog and shared on your social media accounts. Remember when we mentioned sharing content to increase your connections earlier in this piece? SlideShares are a perfect example of this type of quality content.
LinkedIn is important to your career in 2014 and you should be keeping it updated even if you’re not looking for a job. You never know when you’ll need it. Recruiters are there, potential employees are there. Most importantly, people who you can potentially do business with are there!
Are you on LinkedIn? What are the professional uses you get out of it?