This is just my opinion but I feel that LinkedIn is one of the better Social Media programs out there for people to use. While most people use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I do not feel that most people fully utilize LinkedIn because they have not looked into how much it can potentially help their professional career and grow your network.
If you are one of these people I am talking about, do not feel bad. The average user currently only uses LinkedIn for a little under eight minutes which really is not a lot of time considering how much time people spend on all of the other Social Media out there. (alexa.com/siteinfo/linkedin.com). Anyways enough about my opinion, let’s get you signed up and start networking!
How to Get Started
The most important part of LinkedIn is your profile. That's what you use to connect with people in your network and your profile is how you get found on LinkedIn, because it contains information about your skills and experience. The way I look at it, LinkedIn can become your online resume for you when connecting with other people and even other businesses. Your profile will can show all of your work experience, your education, a “professional” picture of yourself, what organizations you are volunteering/working with, who you are connected to and if someone has endorsed you it can also say that as well.
I have heard of people creating their own website where they essentially do the same thing. They show work experience, what projects they are working on and who they want to work with. To me, unless you have your own business and need a website for that, all the resources are available at LinkedIn to totally skip that step and use all of LinkedIn resources.
How to Connect
This is one of the coolest parts about LinkedIn I think. You can look for anyone in your industry, your field of interest or just someone you have looked up to and connect with them very quickly by using LinkedIn. However, unless you have someone who is already connected to them, you cannot connect with them without sending a message to them about your interest in connecting with them. That is where the beauty of networking comes in. On other Social Medias you simply can follow someone or add someone without every saying anything to them. Whereas LinkedIn encourages people to send a message and network with the people you are interested in connecting with.
How to Apply For Jobs on LinkedIn
Another option on LinkedIn is to use it as another tool for job searching. There are hundreds of new jobs posted daily on LinkedIn. Not only can you search for jobs but based on the information you put on your profile, LinkedIn also will find “jobs you may be interested in.” From your interests, to your current industry to similar titles, LinkedIn is also a great job searching engine. On top of that, because you are already trying to connect with people, if there is a job you want to apply for you can look at the application and see who put the job on and site and connect with them. It really puts the saying “it not what you know, it is who you know” to the test. A lot of human resources and recruiting professionals use LinkedIn to look into potential candidates so connecting with someone in that field can also help your job search.
Let’s say that there is a certain company you want to work for. Most of us would go check out the company’s website and see what they have to offer. If that company has a ‘company profile” on LinkedIn, you can get a similar synopsis of what the company provides and what they do. Most importantly, you can see what other people are currently working there and if you are connected to any of them.
How to Use LinkedIn Endorsements/Recommendations
This can be a really big part of your profile on LinkedIn. If you are going to be looking at a lot of profiles on LinkedIn, you will most likely get asked to endorse someone and vice versa if someone looks at your profile. Getting an endorsement can set you apart from others on LinkedIn. LinkedIn endorsements are meant to provide credibility and networking opportunities for yourself. You can also decide what skills you want to be endorsed for. You can add up to fifty skills to your profile, so go ahead and set those skills yourself and be recognized for the skills you want most.
A recommendation can be even a bigger game changer for you. A recommendation is a comment written by a LinkedIn member to recognize or commend a colleague, business partner, or student. Viewers of your profile often view the recommendations you've received on your profile to see what others have to say about your work. If you have an employee you are connecting with, you can even request a recommendation as well.
Get Started Now!
Play around with all of the options that are available to you on your LinkedIn. I encourage everyone to get one especially if you are a young professional. I also think you should check it daily so that you can use all of the resources provided. Even if you have a LinkedIn already, try to use it more to grow your network. Hopefully I will be connecting with you in the near future!