Since its inception in 2002, LinkedIn has grown into an enormous professional networking site with a global membership of more than 200 million users. While there are a number of other social networking sites with an emphasis on professional networking, LinkedIn remains the leading career networking site worldwide. So how can you use this platform to expand your horizons and plan your next career move?
What LinkedIn essentially does is allow you to create your professional profile and connect it with potential and existing professional contacts. By way of tools like endorsements and recommendations, the service showcases your professional self in all its glory, complete with past and present activities and achievements.
Let’s look at some practical tips on how you can get the most out of your LinkedIn profile to get that new job, or make valuable business connections.
Having a LinkedIn account is like floating your CV on the internet. Having an incomplete or outdated profile would therefore be as bizarre as handing over an old and incomplete CV at a job interview! Be specific in your skills and experience, and make the effort to build a strong network and get recommendations from past colleagues. All this will help in making your profile stand out.
For anyone looking to promote themselves and build a promising career, it is important to create a brand spanning different platforms. Interconnectivity between different platforms like Twitter, Blogger, and professional networking sites like LinkedIn both makes it possible as well as perhaps necessary to have a trans-platform identity. It is important to spend time in building a personal brand, and keeping your LinkedIn profile in line with it.
The stronger your networks, the higher number of people are likely to come across your profile. A LinkedIn network is therefore like casting a net, and the wider it is, the better the catch. Also, the way LinkedIn works is that the bigger your network list, the higher up you will be on search listings, which is especially pertinent for job seekers. So unless you prefer being on page number 16 on a recruiter’s search listing, expanding your network is the way to go.
LinkedIn is a thriving community with a strong representation from numerous fields and professions. If you are in the market for a new job, new business connections, or simply new ideas or directions, you can join some of the many discussions and groups on LinkedIn’s social platforms. The exchange of thoughts and ideas is the driving force behind most new ventures and LinkedIn gives you plenty of opportunities to do just this.
Lastly, LinkedIn is not just a way to showcase yourself and communicate, but also an excellent tool to find out more about potential connections including recruiters, companies, businesses and individuals. If you have an upcoming interview or a recruitment fair, researching the companies or recruiters will help you gain a valuable insight into the company or individual. Simply browsing the profiles of individuals and organisations can lead you to new connections and hitherto unexplored vistas.
How do you use LinkedIn to better yourself professionally?
About the Author
Richard McMunn is the director and founder of How2become.com; a career and recruitment specialist. Richard has written a number of books and helped numerous applicants prepare for and pass recruitment processes. Connect with How2become on Twitter.