LinkedIn is a social network created to help people like you share their professional profiles. It’s the Internet’s largest professional network with over 660 million members. LinkedIn has been designed specifically to give you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications and talents. It allows you to connect with possible employers and other professionals - people who can help you shape your future.
Why should I use LinkedIn?
A great LinkedIn profile may help you land the job of your dreams. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a dynamic CV. You’ll be able to update it as often as you want and present your skills, personality and achievements in new and exciting ways.
Even if you’re just starting your career, it would make sense to join the network since it’s the most-used social media platform amongst Fortune 500 companies. Plus, more and more employers are turning to LinkedIn to find the employees they want; people like you.
What are the benefits of using LinkedIn?
You may be wondering if LinkedIn is the right social media network when it comes to your professional life. Not only can it help you with your career prospects but it can give you the advantage of having an online profile where employers can see your experience and qualifications in one place.
If you’re still weighing in on why you should have one, these are some of the notable benefits that come with having a LinkedIn profile:
- It has a professional and business emphasis: your profile will put you in touch with people at supervision, management and director levels as well as other graduates. There are people on LinkedIn from a wide variety of fields and it’s a platform that can encourage you to reach out to senior executives or management for major job opportunities that are related to your career.
- It allows you to network efficiently: the network gives you the opportunity to get your profile in front of interested people. Prospective employers use LinkedIn as a way to post job vacancies, search and recruit talent or use as a tool to review an applicant’s suitability before making employment decisions.
Why is it important to have a LinkedIn profile?
LinkedIn allows you to add layers of information that can help your personality stand out in ways that your CV can’t. It also gives you a platform to share your new qualifications and skills you’ve acquired throughout your career.
Like your resume, you can also be strategic and write a well-targeted profile using relevant keywords, helping recruiters or potential employers find you for suitable career opportunities. You can tailor-match your profile with relevant terms that are heavily used in your industry.
Can LinkedIn help you get a job?
The world of recruitment is always changing and with the current climate of flexible working arrangements and working from home, LinkedIn is an opportunity for hiring managers and recruiters to pursue suitable candidates to fill relevant positions that match their skills and knowledge.
One of the key features of having a LinkedIn profile is that it matches you with relevant roles you may be interested in, saving you the grunt work of having to actively look for roles yourself across various job search boards.
How to use LinkedIn effectively
Whether you’re looking to expand your professional network or put your best foot forward when it comes to your job search, it’s important to keep the content on your LinkedIn profile fresh, relevant and up-to-date. With recruiters and hiring managers using it as a head-hunting tool, these are some ways to use LinkedIn effectively:
- Have a professional profile image: if you can afford it, it’s worth having a professional headshot that complements your profile. Not only does it enhance your professionalism and expertise but it can make you more approachable to recruiters and hiring managers.
- Complete your LinkedIn profile: having a completely filled profile that includes your work history, experience, qualifications and skills is more impressive than one that has a lot of blanks. You could be losing out on some great career opportunities if you don’t utilise the full features of the professional social network.
- Create engaging content: if you have something important to say on a particular issue or simply have a knack for sharing wisdom when it comes to your career, LinkedIn is a great platform for that as you can write relevant articles using its LinkedIn Pulse feature. You can produce content in real-time, writing opinion pieces or industry news that can resonate with your followers.
- Connect with others in your industry: if you come from a niche field, LinkedIn can help you network with other professionals working in similar roles as you. Since you can easily find people online, the platform makes it simple for you to reach out and network with others. It has a messaging platform and you can also engage with industry experts by liking and commenting on the content they share through LinkedIn pulse.
What are the do’s and don'ts of using LinkedIn?
If you’re unsure how to navigate LinkedIn for the purposes of finding work and boosting your professional network, here are some dos and don’ts you should take note of when using the social media platform.
- Build your network: take the opportunity to build your network by connecting with former colleagues, people who you collaborated with at school/university or other valuable contacts within your industry. It’s important to be an active user on LinkedIn to keep up with relevant industry news and updates that are happening in your professional network.
- Be an engaged user: you don’t have to actively post on LinkedIn but recruiters can tell if you’re an active user or not. Be sure to keep your profile up-to-date and have it in line with your resume. If you do happen to love posting your own content, sharing relevant updates related to your industry and participating in discussions across groups and trending news topics can help boost your online reputation.
- Set up job alerts: even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, having alert notifications set up can be a handy way to see what opportunities are out there for you. Maybe you’re not too sure what the ‘next step’ is when it comes to your career, so perhaps seeing jobs that match your skills and experience can be helpful.
- Researching company profiles: this is handy if you’re actively looking for work and want to learn more about a potential employer. Most companies have a LinkedIn company page, showcasing their company culture and the valuable work that they do for people and/or clients. LinkedIn is an effective tool in helping you learn more about a company at face value.
- Include unrelated job or work experience: a good rule of thumb is to include relevant work history and experience within the last 10-15 years. Leave out any unrelated roles, especially if you’re at mid-to-senior level in your career. Nobody wants to know about that editorial internship you did in your early 20s if you’re already a well-established editor for a mid-sized online publication.
- Ignore opportunities: from time-to-time, recruiters or hiring managers may reach out to you for opportunities that may interest you. If you’re happy with your current job, it’s important to be transparent with these connections and politely decline offers that come your way.
- Burn bridges with your current connections: be conscious about your activity on LinkedIn. If you’re actively looking for work but want to do so in a discrete manner, it’s best to avoid liking updates on job opportunities as these can show up on people’s newsfeed.
- Use it as a sales platform: it’s perfectly fine to share the occasional promotion of your company here but if you’re actively looking for fresh leads, LinkedIn is not the network for that. It’s a platform that is solely about making connections with people in your industry as well as highlighting your expertise in the field that you’re working in.
Add value to your LinkedIn profile with an online qualification
If you’re looking to upskill and stand out in your industry, Upskilled has a wide range of courses in business, community services and IT. With an online qualification, it can help add value to your LinkedIn profile and provide you with a competitive edge when it comes to looking for your next dream role.
Since the courses offered are online, you can develop your skills and knowledge in the comfort of your own home. Plus, you can add your qualification to your LinkedIn profile which can help highlight your expertise and credibility. Get in touch and enquire about a course today.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in January 2017. Content has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Fi is a professional copywriter based in Devon, England. She specialises in education, careers, travel and outdoor writing and is the co-author of the popular daily outdoor blog 'Two Blondes Walking'. Fi has written three children's books and, when she isn't writing, Fi loves to gather inspiration from long walks, early morning sea swims and winter wild camps.