The Importance of Utilizing LinkedIn

Whenever I hear people say they are struggling to find work, the first question I ask is, “Do you have a LinkedIn account?” The answer is always the same: “Nah … uh, well … I think I know what it is. Someone tried to add me as a friend once. It’s like Facebook, right?”

Actually, LinkedIn is similar to Facebook. The biggest differentiator is you won’t be seeing 900 pictures of your neighbor’s baby eating spaghetti; instead, you’ll be seeing career-related topics! You are connecting with other professionals who may be looking to hire or connect with someone with your skill set, so the personal topics are left for other social media sites.

With more than 300 million members and over 90 percent of professional recruiters utilizing LinkedIn for sourcing purposes.  Not having a fully operational profile is doing yourself a disservice.

Employment:
We live in a time of advanced technology, so submitting a paper résumé might not pull as much weight as it once did. The truth is that recruiters and employers are looking for the “total package” in an employee and the best way to find the ideal candidate is to uncover as much defining information as possible before making a decision.

Think of LinkedIn as the ultimate “brag book.” You have the opportunity to showcase your professional skills, awards, contacts, references and endorsements. Additionally, recruiters like to put a face to the name. So unless you’re emailing a selfie to the hiring manager along with your paper résumé, chances are they might be searching your name on LinkedIn. If you don’t have an active LinkedIn account, their next option may be to find you on Facebook, which rarely screams, “Hire me, I’m a professional!”

Connections:
For those of us satisfied with our current employer, but still would like to connect with other professionals who share our interests, LinkedIn has become a new best friend. I am regularly able to meet with former colleagues and alumni groups, and learn about local networking events. Connecting with those groups has been beneficial to my professional advancement, as has my personal development through participating with various hobby groups. I have the ability to view and join discussions on an outstandingly wide range of topics and I’m able to soak up information from a well of knowledge. The latter is often poured out by those with more experience, so be prepared to learn something new.

Opportunity:
If you’re prepared to do everything it takes to be successful, or even just to provide for yourself and your family, you’ll find that LinkedIn is a valuable tool to promote your personal brand. You no longer can blame the economy for lack of opportunity if you’re failing to utilize the world’s largest professional network.

Whether you realize it, in your day-to-day life, you are making a first impression dozens of times with complete strangers. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to be prepared for this first impression. Properly utilizing LinkedIn as a professional can publicize your preparation and connect you with opportunity.

As a professional recruiter, trust me: we’re looking for you on LinkedIn. So utilize this free social network to brag on yourself!