If you are a professional who expects to have some type of career for many years to come, YES, you need to be on LinkedIn (or Academia.edu, which we’ll discuss in a later post). LinkedIn is “the world’s largest professional network” (according to LinkedIn) and was recently highlighted by Leverage as one of the “world’s six largest social media networks”. LinkedIn allows professionals across industries and roles to connect, share information, and explore new opportunities. Here are a few more details about this extremely beneficial tool:
- As of this writing, LinkedIn has 277 million members from 200 countries and territories, which is a lot of people you can network and connect with through this platform.
- There is no question that LinkedIn is indispensable for job searching for many reasons. For starters, you can conduct a search for employment postings in the Jobs section based on various criteria, such as location, keywords, and company names. More importantly, LinkedIn displays who in your network is working at specific organizations, thereby giving you the opportunity to reach out to these individuals for informational interviews and networking. One of these folks could be the inside connection you need to get your resume or CV past the gatekeepers and directly onto the desks of the hiring managers.
- There are now more than 3 million companies on LinkedIn that have “company pages”, detailing information such as their latest news, job postings, and who in your network works at these organizations. This is a great way to target specific companies and keep tabs on your favorites.
- Even if you are not currently searching for a job, you should be on LinkedIn. Due to major changes in today’s working world, we must be building and nurturing a network of professionals throughout our entire careers, not just when we need a job. By being on LinkedIn, you are there to not only receive assistance but to also help others, share and exchange information, and enhance relationships. Furthermore, you can continuously connect and build new relationships; LinkedIn’s tools (some of which we’ve already mentioned) will help you expand your network and find professionals that could be valuable to your career. There are even tools to find students and alumni of the schools you’ve attended, including the Alumni section and the Education pages, which we will discuss more in the near future.
- Another great feature on LinkedIn is the Groups section, which now includes more than 2.1 million groups focused on college alumni, corporations, nonprofits, professional associations, and networking. Once you join these entities, you can participate in their discussions, meet similar professionals, and learn about jobs that members post. Two of my favorite types of groups you’ll find here are professional associations, such as the American Historical Association, and universities. We’ll talk more about these groups in a future post.
- Finally, by having a profile on LinkedIn, you are establishing a positive, professional online presence, as LinkedIn ranks high in search engine results. Therefore, when someone searches for you on the Internet, your LinkedIn profile will be one of the top items listed. In addition, your profile will also come up in keyword searches that employers, recruiters, and others conduct on LinkedIn.
In summary, if you want to have a positive, professional online presence, be approached for and find career-related opportunities, and have a network of professionals you can tap into when needed, LinkedIn is the place to be!
– Emily Seamone