LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet. You can use your LinkedIn profile to find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships, and learn the skills you need to succeed in your career. You can access LinkedIn from a desktop, LinkedIn mobile app, mobile web experience, or the LinkedIn Lite Android mobile app.
LinkedIn is similar to Facebook in terms of its layout and broad feature offering. These features are more specialized because they cater to professionals, but in general, if you know how to use Facebook or any other similar social network, LinkedIn is somewhat comparable.
What you can do with (Benefits of) LinkedIn?
It should be clear that LinkedIn is a tool you can use to enhance your professional networking and job searching activities.
Many people use the site to grow their contacts and find career opportunities, and the Jobs section of the site is a powerful tool for finding and applying for jobs. There are settings on LinkedIn that let you alert recruiters that you’re actively job searching as well. Some people take benefits of LinkedIn to enhance their professional reputation by making posts in the news feed, and commenting on other people’s posts.
LinkedIn Premium is a subscription version of LinkedIn that adds a number of additional features, such as online professional development classes, insights into who’s viewing your profile, and the ability to instant message anyone on LinkedIn, even if they’re not in your network.
How to use LinkedIn Effectively?
Complete Your LinkedIn Profile
Your profile can be a powerful part of your personal brand . All registered LinkedIn users will be able to view it (unless you set it to private mode). You can also have a public profile that can be found by external search engines, so that even people who are not registered with LinkedIn can see it.
LinkedIn’s internal search algorithm only finds profiles that rank as “complete,” and these can get more than 20 times as many views as incomplete profiles. It’s important, therefore, to complete yours. Here are the essential things to remember:
Add a good-quality photo of yourself, preferably one taken by a professional photographer. Look smart, smile, and don’t have any distractions in the shot.
Make your profile sparkle by adding a background image (sometimes called a “banner” or “cover” image) that reflects your personality and your profession.
Mention your industry and location in your headline. You have up to 120 characters for this.
Include a concise summary of who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer. You have 2,000 characters to play with, but you don’t have to use them all. You can also link to, or upload, six examples of your work to make your profile sparkle.
Add your current position and describe what it involves. Be specific. Don’t say, for example, that you’re a “great communicator” – even if you are one! Instead, give details of your communication skills , and examples of how you’ve used them. Again, you have 2,000 characters.
Add your previous work history, education details, and at least four skills or areas of expertise.
Contact and Connect With Other LinkedIn Users
LinkedIn enables you to network with people and professional organizations in your industry. This is a great way to stay up to date with the latest developments, and to share information with others in your field. You can invite anyone to connect (and accept their invitations to connect with you), but they must have their own LinkedIn account to use the site.
LinkedIn saves the connections that you make to a list called My Network. When you make a new connection, you gain access not only to that person’s profile, but to their publicly available connections, too. These become your “second-degree connections.” This opens up even more networking opportunities , as you can then invite them to connect directly with you. You can also introduce any two LinkedIn connections who haven’t yet connected to one another, but who might benefit from doing so.
Give and Receive Recommendations and Endorsements
Your connections can write “recommendations” for your profile, and offer “endorsements” of your skills, and you can do the same in return.
Recommendations are personal testimonials that emphasize your professional abilities. Moreover, aim to collect a handful of these (between five and 10 is a good “rule of thumb”) by asking people you’ve worked with to write one for you. Ask them to highlight the particular attributes or achievements that have impressed them, rather than making general comments such as, “Bella was fun to work with.”
Endorsements are simple notifications confirming that you have a particular skill. They may lack the impact of custom-written recommendations, but if a connection endorses you for your leadership skills , for example, it can help you to stand out from the crowd.
LinkedIn’s Main Features
Here are some of the basic features that this business network offers and how they’ve been designed to be used by professionals.
Once you’ve logged in to LinkedIn, the home feed is your news feed, showing recent posts from your connections with other professionals and company pages you’re following.
Your profile shows your name, your photo, your location, your occupation and more right at the top. Below that, you have the ability to customize various different sections like a short summary, work experience, education and other sections similarly to how you might create a traditional resume or CV.
Here you’ll find a list of all the professionals you’re currently connected with on LinkedIn. If you hover your mouse over this option in the top menu, you’ll also be able to see a number of other options that will allow you to add contacts, find people you may know and find alumni.
All sorts of jobs listings are posted on LinkedIn everyday by employers, and LinkedIn will recommend specific jobs to you based on your current information, including your location and optional job preferences that you can fill out to get better-tailored job listings.
In addition to your connections with professionals, you can follow certain interests on LinkedIn as well. These include company pages, groups according to location or interest, LinkedIn’s SlideShare platform for slideshow publishing and LinkedIn’s Lynda platform for educational purposes.
LinkedIn has a powerful search feature that allows you to filter your results down according to several different customizable fields. Click “Advanced” beside the search bar to find specific professionals, companies, jobs and more.
When you want to start a conversation with another professional, you can do so by sending them a private message through LinkedIn. You can also add attachments, include photos and more.
Like other social networks, LinkedIn has a notification feature that lets you know when you’ve been endorsed by someone, invited to join something or welcomed to check out a post you might be interested in.
When other professionals invite you to connect with them on LinkedIn, you’ll receive an invitation that you’ll have to approve.
What Is LinkedIn Used For (As an Individual)?
Now you know what LinkedIn offers and what kind of people typically use it, but that probably doesn’t give you any specific ideas for how to start using it yourself. In fact, many users create an account and then abandon it because they have no idea how they should be using LinkedIn.
Here are some benefits of linkedin for beginners.
Get back in touch with old colleagues
You can use the My Network section to find old colleagues, teachers, people you went to school with and anyone else you might think is worth having in your professional network. Just enter or connect your email to sync your contacts with LinkedIn.
Use your profile as your resume
Your LinkedIn profile basically represents a more complete (and interactive) resume. You can include it as a link perhaps in an email or your cover letter when you apply to jobs. Some websites that allow you to apply to jobs will even allow you to connect to your LinkedIn profile to import all your information. If you need to build a resume outside of LinkedIn, there are apps for that.
Find and apply to jobs
Remember that LinkedIn is one of the best places to look for job postings online. You’ll always get recommendations from LinkedIn about jobs you may be interested in, but you can always use the search bar to look for specific positions too.
Find and connect with new professionals
It’s great to get back in touch with old colleagues and connect with everyone at your current workplace who may also be on LinkedIn, but what’s even better is that you have the opportunity to discover new professionals either locally or internationally that may be able to help out with your professional endeavors.
Participate in relevant groups
A great way to meet new professionals to connect with is to join groups based on your interests or current profession and start participating. Other group members may like what they see and want to connect with you.
Blog about what you know
LinkedIn’s very own publishing platform allows users to publish blog posts and gain the opportunity to have their content read by thousands. Published posts will also show up on your profile, which will increase your credibility in related fields that are relevant to your professional experience.
Benefits of Linked In/How using LinkedIn can add value to your job search?
LinkedIn gives you the ability to showcase your profile, expertise, recommendations and connections, not only is your profile the first professional impression of you when recruiters and employers use LinkedIn to search for candidates but it also demonstrates credibility in your industry and highlights your achievements. Many people still underestimate the benefits of LinkedIn in their job search and are sometimes reluctant to embrace social media. This Part showcases the benefits of LinkedIn and the 13 reasons why using LinkedIn can add value to your job search.
1. Gain exposure to Hiring Managers and Recruiters
93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to research and recruit candidates. Moreover, LinkedIn allows you to have an online personal brand which makes you visible to key decision makers and recruiters. This means when your name is put into a search engine such as google, you have an online personal brand and you are appearing in search results. It’s for this reason you need to make sure you treat your LinkedIn profile in a similar way to your CV and you ensure what is on the profile is selling you in the best way possible.
2. Demonstrate your knowledge, credibility and leadership expertise
Having a LinkedIn profile benefits in building trust with employers and recruiters as they can see your recommendations and connections and evidence of where you have added value.
3. Use LinkedIn as a research tool
Having a LinkedIn account also means that you can use the site to research companies, interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers — this is helpful before submitting applications and researching who’s interviewing you and conducting interview research.
4. LinkedIn has a great job board
New opportunities exist throughout the LinkedIn site that may not exist on traditional job boards. You can directly apply for roles using LinkedIn apply, save job searches, as well as flagging to recruiters that you are open to hearing about opportunities.
5. You can gain social proof for your skills and talents
Let others recommend and endorse you for your skills and past work. Moreover, when others recommend or endorse you, anyone who sees your profile can see these and it shows you have other experts backing up your claims to have certain skills. This is very powerful in making connections. You can build your credibility through the endorsements and testimonials that LinkedIn allows your contacts to leave on your profile.
6. Follow Companies
LinkedIn is a brilliant tool for researching organisations and people that work at them. You can use this to target people within your network that work for organisations that you really want to work for.
7. Join LinkedIn Groups
Groups are a brilliant way to meet people with similar professional interests and expand your network from other graduates to professionals already working in your industry. Groups allow you to take part in discussions. This is a great way to exhibit your knowledge on topics related to your industry, ask questions and start conversations with key people in key organisations.
8. You can build your brand
Just like companies build their brands, it’s important for you to build your professional brand online. How do you stand out from others in your industry? What makes you marketable? Why should someone pay you six figures?
Personal websites are great for this, but they often come with extra costs — and hours and hours of building and finessing. LinkedIn is a simple way to put your name on the professional map. Upload a professional profile picture and write a powerful LinkedIn summary that emphasizes your strengths and showcases your personality. When recruiters, employers, co-workers, and managers peruse your profile, they should be able to gain a strong understanding of who you are and what skills you bring to the table.
9. It can help rank your name on Google
Chances are, if you apply to a job, one of the first things an employer or human resources manager will do is Google your name. Even emailing a new client could result in a Google sweep of your name. If you’ve never Google’d yourself, now’s the time. What pops up on the first page of results?
Here’s another benefit of LinkedIn: Ranking on Google’s first page can be difficult, but LinkedIn is a well-known and powerful network — and Google’s into it. Because of that, it’s typically easier to get your LinkedIn page to rank on Google versus your homemade website or online portfolio. If your LinkedIn profile is the first thing a prospective employer will see, then maybe it’s time to get one … or edit your existing one to stand out among the crowd.
10. It maintains your Rolodex of contacts
Remember that awesome young professional you met at that conference three years ago? Or that friend of a friend who was interested in freelancing for your company? Honestly, probably not.
Rather than stuffing their business cards in your desk drawer or adding their email addresses to your outdated address book, add these folks to your professional network on LinkedIn when you meet them. Keep them in your connections so one day you can reconnect when the time’s right.
11. You can research companies and its employees
Sure, if you’re applying for jobs you can access openings from other job boards; there are plenty of those out there. However, LinkedIn offers other perks.
These days, many companies maintain their own LinkedIn pages where they’ll update company information, share company news and insight, and showcase current employees. If the company knows what it’s doing, you should get a good, solid feel for its culture and its people to make sure it’s a fit for you before diving into the interview process or accepting a job.
12. It can help you tap into industry news
Like other social networking sites, LinkedIn aggregates a timeline when you log in. There, you’ll find news updates from your connections, your groups, and your company. It’s both fun and wise to keep tabs on industry trends and reports.
13. Network, network, network!
Can we emphasize this enough? LinkedIn is such an important networking tool for professionals.
Even if you’re an introvert and hate networking events, you can still foster meaningful LinkedIn connections. Through LinkedIn, you can build a relationship with mutual connections, folks in your field, and even your greatest role models.
The bottom line? LinkedIn is a great place to grow your brand. Like any tool, taking benefits of LinkedIn will take time, especially as you work to develop your company’s voice and build participation levels.