A friend recently asked me; “what do people do on LinkedIn?” after i told him about an article i read on the platform. I brushed over the topic quick and we were back to catching up. Later i thought about that question again and thought it was pretty serious considering the guy is almost my perfect replica, career wise. Most young people today have no idea what LinkedIn is all about, others signed up in 1820, uploaded a picture and took off. others cant remember their login details. As of 2015, statistics showed that 2 people joined the network every second! That makes LinkedIn the worlds largest professional network.
Well, LinkedIn is a must have for your professional future, whether you are a job seeker, happily employed, an entrepreneur or a consultant. Every day you are not on the platform, you are letting potential professional opportunities pass you by.
But lets get back to the real question. Why should you join LinkedIn?
1. Personal branding.
Go to Google and search your name. Right now. (use a phone or computer that your google account isn’t signed in ; assume an employer is looking you up). If you have a LinkedIn profile, it will usually come up as one of the first results in the search. So if you put relevant career information on your LinkedIn profile means that you can control what people see about you. It’s the source that most interests recruiters and business people and is probably the easiest way to give a good first impression online. But of course, only if your profile is 100 % complete: those profiles with little or no information, no photo, no activity and few connections are of little value. Focus on filling in all the possible information relevant for your career.
2. Up to date resume.
How many times have you been called or mailed by a recruiter, potential client or company, asking you to send them your CV ASAP? Then you started looking for the latest version of your CV, and you just couldn’t find it, so you had to write everything from the start in a terrible hurry? Sending a poorly done resume to a potential employer or client. Amongst the other benefits, LinkedIn is extremely useful for storing and sharing your professional experience. Your resume is online wherever and whenever you need it – and it’s easy to keep up-to-date.
3. Managing and growing your professional network.
You may still like to keep in touch with your ex – colleagues after leaving your job. But lets be honest, sometimes adding them on Facebook does not feel very comfortable. Nor do you feel like going for a drink with them. Unless you were very close. In this case LinkedIn is everything you need. As its primary purpose is to serve as a professional network, no one thinks it’s weird to add a person you worked with several years ago, even if you haven’t had any contact with them since then. It also enables you to get to know new people in a professional way. By asking to be introduced, you can access more people and companies through your 1st level connections.
4. Building an expert status.
Do you know a lot about what you do, but never had a chance to share with the world? One of LinkedIn ‘s main purposes is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge. You can easily build your expert status by posting content and participating in discussions in relevant groups with other people interested in your area of expertise. In the Answers section, you can ask questions and give advice to others in your knowledge area. To further boost your leadership status, you can create your own group in your niche or start a networking event. And the best part? Everyone is interested in what you’re saying. Over time, as they start to recognize your name, you will see an increase in professional opportunities.
5. Finding information.
LinkedIn is extremely useful for finding information for business purposes such as background information about the prospective company before your interview, work experience of the recruiter you are going to meet, countries in which the decision maker of the potential client company used to live before and hundreds of other details which make your life easier. As you can access others’ profiles easily, even if you are not connected with them, there’s a vast amount of valuable information at hand for free.
6. You need to have a large network. It comes in handy later.
Imagine you just got fired. And you have 5 people in your LinkedIn network. You suddenly realize that you should have invested more in getting to know people. So you start to add people like crazy.
Well, LinkedIn might blacklist you for suspicious behavior or the new people you are inviting to your network will question your intentions. They might think, “I haven’t heard from this guy in forever, now all of a sudden he’s lost his job and wants to connect. What does he want from me?”
It’s always better to dig your well before you need to drink from it. If you haven’t been building social equity with your network, you’ll have little to draw from later. So don’t wait until you are in need.
7. Opportunities come to you; recruiters are always looking for passive candidates
When a company seeks the services of a contract recruiter to fill a job requisition, that company isn’t looking for someone unemployed. They wouldn’t need to hire a contract recruiter for that. There are enough unemployed people to fill every single job vacancy in the country. What the organization needs is someone who is not actively looking, called a passive candidate.
In other words, the recruiter is paid to steal and pillage from competitive companies, convince the happily employed person that the grass is greener and get a huge commission from the new hire. Companies who use the types of recruiters are willing to pay you more than what you are making now in order to snatch you away from your comfortable job. If you aren’t on LinkedIn, you are greatly reducing your chances of being discovered and having the opportunity to make more and grow in your field.
When you start receiving expert connection requests and career opportunities begin to show up in your inbox, you know that your efforts have started to bear fruit. Now go Build a strong network on LinkedIn. Be active. Give value. Stay in touch and You’ll thank me later.