Along with the growth of social networks, LinkedIn has positioned itself as the go to network for work relations. Launched in 2003, the professional network giant has seen an exponential growth in its user base and today more than 300 million people use it actively (LinkedIn). This also ushers us into a new era of the Internet where you can connect instantly with many people across the globe.

The world's largest professional network

(Image of the world’s largest professional network)

In the past if you wanted to apply for a job, you would have to go to the company’s website and drop your resume. Based on the giant resume pool, the recruiters would pick a handful of potential leads and then contact you to schedule interviews. Now LinkedIn has eliminated the need to do that. Recruiters can directly search for users matching a certain profile. They can directly see your work history, accomplishments and recommendations in your profile and contact you.

Over 70% of the companies use LinkedIn to find the right candidate. A recruiter found Jeff Epstein on LinkedIn and hired him to be the CFO of Oracle (Dutta, 2010). This makes it very important to have an up to date profile in LinkedIn. I always make sure that my LinkedIn profile has all latest work experiences listed. Under each experience, I give a brief description of the key highlights of the work done. This helps the recruiters not only see my job’s assignments, but also my key accomplishments during those assignments. I also usually ask for recommendations with colleagues and my manager so that they can also add to the richness of my profile. It is also important to put information about the college degree, courses taken, certifications etc. This helps the recruiters to see the skills you got through formal education. Also you should add all relevant skills into your profile. Your friends and colleagues can endorse you if they have seen you demonstrate a particular skill.

Marketing yourself

(Image of LinkedIn Exposure)

LinkedIn has excellent value for personal branding. This is the place for selling yourself. Make sure your LinkedIn profile reflect your strengths. Join groups on LinkedIn based on your interests and get involved in discussions. The more you are active, the more is your value.

It is also very important to grow your network. Many of the inside job openings are found through contacts and your personal network. Similarly, you can get referrals through your network which most of the time guarantee at least a first round interview for jobs. To grow your network, you have to start with your friends and immediate colleagues. Then you can add all the people you know from college, high school, etc. Also every time you meet someone, you can get their names and connect to them in LinkedIn. You can also explore and follow the Company pages.

In conclusion, LinkedIn has changed the way that companies hire professionals. You can have a great profile by always keeping it up to date. Also getting recommendations and endorsements on skills makes your profile better. You can connect with your friends and colleagues and grow your social network. And most importantly, build your personal brand.

References:

Dutta, S. (2010). What’s your personal social media strategy?. Harvard Business Review, 88(11), 127-130.

[Image of The world’s largest professional network]. Retrieved October 19, 2014 from

      http://scitechconnect.elsevier.com/resources/author-connect/linkedin-optimizing-professional-profile/

[Image of LinkedIn Exposure]. Retrieved October 19, 2014 from
      https://www.pinterest.com/ryanwheelwright/improve-linkedin-exposure/

LinkedIn. Retrieved October 19, 2014 from
      https://www.linkedin.com/about-us

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