LinkedIn is a professional social network for people to connect with colleagues and business associates. It also offers a job search, events information, special interest groups and messaging facilities. LinkedIn is particularly useful when job searching, reconnecting with ex-colleagues and for showcasing experience.
Hosting more than 500 million professional profiles, which means nearly an unlimited supply of network connections and job opportunities. From seeking a new job to maintaining your personal brand, LinkedIn is an important part of being a full-fledged professional in any industry these days.
Building a strong presence in LinkedIn’s professional environment is a bit like combining some of the functions and presentation of a company website with the interactive nature of a social media profile. Today, more than 3 million businesses maintain their presence through LinkedIn company pages, providing a key point of access to a network of over 200 million registered users around the world.
LinkedIn’s party line has always been that you need to know the people you connect with. However, with the new Company Page, you have the ability to increase your following, without increasing your connections. And this is good news for people who are more interested in building their company’s visibility and business than their own.
Benefits of LinkedIn
- Reinforcing your reputation: As a marketing tool, LinkedIn provides a great way to share your company’s story, and develop trust and subject-matter authority through regular updates and customer recommendations.
- Generating Leads and Referrals: Your LinkedIn activity shows other professionals that you value and participate in business communities, and sends a message about your company’s competence with technology and emerging media. Especially for business-to-business firms, these connections can drive referrals that result in new clients, customers and contracts.
- Showcasing Products and Services: With LinkedIn’s company pages, it’s easy to communicate what you have to offer, and to tailor this message for different industries, groups and demographics. Listing your products also allows you to collect recommendations, as one report notes, and “to drive traffic back to your website’s products or services page, which can ultimately drive sales.”
- Building Your Brand: As current and previous employees actively use LinkedIn, they create a growing network that links (quite literally) back to your company page, expanding your brand presence.
- Attracting New Talent: While LinkedIn is useful for job hunters, it’s much more than a place to surreptitiously post resumes. The network offers companies a great way to advertise job openings to a diverse talent pool. Plus, the candidate profiles say much more about a potential employee than the typical resume and work samples.
- Powerful Job Board: Why is LinkedIn important for job seekers? You’ll find a number of reasons in this list, but let’s start at square one: You can search its robust job board — and even apply to jobs — through the networking platform.
- Search jobs by keywords and location: Even if you’re not actively seeking new employment, you can set job alerts based on your career interests to regularly receive email updates and stay in the loop. You can also be sneaky about it.
- If you’re connected with co-workers and managers, turn on your “I’m interested” button, which will let recruiters know you’re open to hearing about new opportunities. LinkedIn will hide this open invitation from folks at your current company.
- Build your Brand: Just like companies build their brands, it’s important for you to build your professional brand online. How do you stand out from others in your industry? What makes you marketable? Why should someone pay you six figures?
- Personal websites are great for this, but they often come with extra costs — and hours and hours of building and finessing. LinkedIn is a simple way to put your name on the professional map. Upload a professional profile picture and write a powerful summary that emphasizes your strengths and showcases your personality.
- When recruiters, employers, co-workers, and managers peruse your profile, they should be able to gain a strong understanding of who you are and what skills you bring to the table.
- Rank on Google: Chances are high that if you apply to a job, one of the first things an employer will do is Google your name. Even emailing a new client could result in a Google sweep of your name. If you’ve never Google’d yourself, now’s the time.
- What pops up on the first page of results? Here’s why LinkedIn is important: Ranking on Google’s first page can be difficult, but LinkedIn is a well-known and powerful network — and Google’s into it.
- Because of that, it’s typically easier to get your LinkedIn page to rank on Google versus your homemade website or online portfolio. If your LinkedIn profile is the first thing a prospective employer will see, then maybe it’s time to get one or edit your existing one to stand out among the crowd.
LinkedIn is a very powerful service (more of a tool). With it, you can build and maintain your network, search for jobs, and build your professional reputation. Plus it’s free, and it only takes about 30 minutes to create a profile. So why and what are you waiting for?