Have you heard of LinkedIn? It is the world’s largest professional online networking site with more than 100 million professionals in over 200 countries. After setting up a profile about your work experience and employment history (among other information), you can connect with fellow professionals in your chosen sector. It’s almost like Facebook, just in a more professional context. Roughly one million new members join LinkedIn every week. That’s faster than one member per second!
Here’s a video telling you more:
Whether or not you have a LinkedIn account, read on to find out more!
For those of you who do not have a LinkedIn account yet, I have extracted the top 3 reasons from an article written by Guy Kawasaki, a famous venture capitalist who was a huge evangelist of Apple, to tell you why you should sign up.
1. Increases the relevancy of your job search.
Wondering where you should work or intern at when you graduate? You could use LinkedIn as a job search tool! One way you can do so is simply to type your skills (eg. accounting, marketing) into the search bar and see what the search results provide. You will probably see a whole list of people with similar skill sets as yours, complete with their profiles and their workplaces. This should give you ideas on how to improve on your own profile page, and the companies you could possibly venture into (which you may not have known about previously).
2. Improves your connectability.
LinkedIn is a good way to keep in touch with your friends and colleagues on a professional level, finding out where they are working or interning at, or their latest professional updates. If used effectively as a networking tool, LinkedIn could open many doors for you. Other than linking up with fellow peers, old colleagues or even relatives, it is recommended that you include your past employers into your LinkedIn profile too, so people will be able to find you if you worked for them previously. Having varied work experience at established companies under your belt also improves your credibility.
3. Improves your Google PageRank.
Many employers run Google searches on potential candidates to have a better idea of their background so as to decide whether to hire them for the job or not. This site shows that page-one google results are very important when employers are doing research on potential candidates, which means that it is important that your professional profile appears within the first page of their search. LinkedIn is a really good way to get your name onto Google searches, because LinkedIn profiles own high Google authority. For example, typing in my name into Google led me to my LinkedIn profile in just the top few links.
If the above reasons have managed to persuade you to join LinkedIn, or if you’re one of those who already have a LinkedIn account (good for you!), you may be wondering, “How should I utilize it so it can help me connect with others and help me find jobs?”
I have extracted 3 tips that I find most useful from this site:
1. Differentiate yourself!
This is where your online profile plays a big part in creating first impressions. Upload a professional headshot of yourself, not some crazy photo with your roommate or of you suntanning at the beach. You should also add a personal touch to your profile description, by using your own voice instead of merely listing your qualifications and achievements as if it were your resume. Another important point to note is that you should complete 100% of your profile so as to provide a holistic impression of yourself to others, especially potential employers. Your profile should also include powerful recommendations (from the right people, of course) to increase your credibility and let you stand out from others. Lastly, incorporate free plug-ins like Slideshare and Google Presentation to show people what work you have done in the past.
2. Build your online network
Search for your schoolmates, coworkers, former bosses etc and add them to your profile. The more people you know, the better! However, remember this important mantra: It’s not who you know that matters, it’s who knows you!” So, to make yourself known (for being professional and smart, not for being an airhead), read on to my last point below!
3. Add value to your community
Once you have built up your network of contacts, you should insightfully ask and answer questions on LinkedIn to stand out among other applicants. LinkedIn is multi-dimensional and you should leverage on this, by creating and contributing to discussions and conversations. You can do this by:
- Joining relevant groups and discussions. This is the best way to meet people in the industry you are interested in and to establish yourself among that network. Use the search tool to search for groups by industry, join the groups relevant to you and start networking.
- Answering questions. Post interesting articles. Start discussions. Become an active, valuable member in the community. If you contribute intelligently and show others that you have what it takes, they will sit up and take notice of you, and that’s when your career doors open. It’s the concept of “career karma”: give yourself to others, provide interesting insights, then reap the benefits when they help you back (eg. by recommending you for a job in their company).
Now that you’re all geared up, here are some things you should take note of, before jumping right in: Treat LinkedIn as a professional site and don’t post whatever you like, whenever you like, as if it was your own Twitter account! The video posted at the top of this article talked about the possibility to link your Twitter and LinkedIn account together. This should be done with caution and this article tells us how to go about it. Remember to keep things professional.
Today, many people are creating their own LinkedIn pages for themselves, and more than 2 million companies have their own LinkedIn Company Pages, so if you’re looking to land that dream job, make LinkedIn your tool of choice!