Why Get LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the top social networking website for jobseekers. As Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, explains it, “Post a full profile and get connected to the people you trust. Because if you’re connected to those people and you posted a profile, then when other people are searching for people, they might find you.”
With more than 120 million registered users — and adding two new members every second — the rate at which your network expands on LinkedIn can be truly amazing. A hundred strategic contacts could mean access to millions of people in a short amount of time. You’d have to attend dozens — or hundreds — of in-person networking events to equal the reach you can get on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn allows you to leverage the power of your network — the people you know, and the people those people know — to help you connect to the person (or people) who are in a position to offer you a job.
As the co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, puts it, LinkedIn is about “connecting talent with opportunity on a massive scale.”
Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn. And 59 percent of folks who are active on social networking sites say LinkedIn is their platform of choice, according to a June 2011 report from Performics and ROI Research.
But author Guy Kawasaki puts it best, “I could make the case that Facebook is for show, and LinkedIn is for dough.”
Why LinkedIn Is Important In Your Job Search
Once upon a time, attending networking mixers, industry events, and Chamber of Commerce meetings were the best way to make new connections and build business relationships. Now, these activities have moved online within the LinkedIn community. Much like networking in person, professionals interact on LinkedIn with the explicit intention of making business connections.
With LinkedIn, you get all the benefits of networking in person, with less of the hassle. Instead of going from business lunch to business lunch hoping to meet people, LinkedIn provides a platform for you to specifically search and research individuals who you know will directly add value to your job search.
Employers and recruiters use LinkedIn to locate both active jobseekers and those who aren’t necessarily looking (passive candidates). They also use LinkedIn to vet job candidates before making an interview invitation or extending a job offer.
The ability to identify, research, contact, follow-up, engage, and maintain your contacts in one place is the power of LinkedIn. Its ability to facilitate business networking is unmatched by any other social network. Essentially, your LinkedIn profile is a résumé, business card, and elevator speech all rolled up into one.
However, your LinkedIn profile is not your résumé. LinkedIn is a personal branding page. You need both a résumé and a LinkedIn profile, and they should be in sync with one another, but not be exact copies. The information on your résumé should match your profile (in terms of positions you’ve held, your educational credentials, etc.), but the content you include on your LinkedIn profile will be different than what is included on your résumé.
How To Set Up A Basic Account
Setting up a LinkedIn account is a quick and easy process. You can be listed in just five minutes. However, speed is not the objective if you want to use LinkedIn to facilitate your job search. Rushing could lead to a sloppy profile that doesn’t represent you well — or may even prevent you from getting called for an interview.
Basic memberships in LinkedIn are free. For most job seekers, the free option is adequate enough to effectively network on the site. (If you find you need the paid functionality, you can always upgrade your account later.)
To get started:
Go to LinkedIn.com. Fill in your first and last name, email address, and password. Then click “Join Now.”
Important Note: If you are conducting a confidential job search, be sure to un-check the “Career Opportunities” option under “Contact Preferences.”