A guide to using LinkedIn and understanding its value with Modern Money co-founder, Erin Zorde.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a professional networking site, which is designed for professionals to share their professional experience, make connections, seek out new positions and interact with like-minded professionals.
LinkedIn is a widely used platform and has over 75 million professionals that actively use the platform. The platform is also often used by employers and recruiters who are looking for job candidates at their respective organizations. Whether you’re a seasoned business person or a newly minted graduate, you can expand your professional network through the use of LinkedIn.
Unlike the other social networking sites, LinkedIn isn’t about how many connections you have – it’s about the quality of those connections and what those connections offer. In fact, LinkedIn actually doesn’t show the number of connections that you have when you exceed 500, so remember – focus on the quality of those connections!
Is LinkedIn Right for Me?
If you are a professional and seeking to grow your network or expand your business, this is a great platform to do that.
Think of LinkedIn as your online resume. You can highlight your strengths and show employers and recruiters, or potential clients, why you are a good fit.
You can also use the platform to connect with others through your involvement in business or the community. For example, I often post some of my volunteer commitments on LinkedIn to engage with other like-minded individuals and so that I can seek out similar opportunities.
Do you want to enhance your professional network, create more business and seek out employment opportunities? If so, then yes, LinkedIn is for you.
How do I Create a Profile?
Creating a LinkedIn profile is easy! Go on the LinkedIn website, click “join today” and set up your profile.
In addition to a basic free profile, there are several types of LinkedIn profiles that you can create: Premium Career; Business Plus; LinkedIn Learning; Sales Navigator; and Recruiter Lite. Each profile has a description so that you can find the one that works best for you. Although the free basic profile will be sufficient for a lot of people, one of the interesting benefits of upgrading include the ability to see more information about who viewed your profile, which you can definitely use to your advantage while seeking out new opportunities as you can be more targeted in your approach.
Once you create your profile, it’s time to create some content. On your profile you can include the basis of your resume, summary of yourself, contact information, links to your work or website, work history, published works, notable projects. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so keep that in mind as you build your profile. How do you want people to see you in a professional context?
It’s very important to use a professional headshot and including up-to-date information right from the start. You don’t want to be one of those profiles without a picture because people will be more reluctant to connect without a picture of you.
Once your profile is complete. You can publish it and start looking for connections. A connection can be a person you know or would like to know. In essence, your goal should be to create and expand your network in your desired professional field. You can also seek endorsements from connections with whom you know or have worked with, which will strengthen your profile.
Using The Platform Effectively
Because LinkedIn is still a social networking site at the end of the day and your information will be accessible by all (depending on your privacy settings), it is important that you maintain a high-level of professionalism on LinkedIn and ensure that your information is up-to-date. The last thing you want is to share something on LinkedIn that my adversely impact your job prospects in the future.
Use your LinkedIn to follow-up with previous co-workers, clients, and the like. In doing so, you can remain top of mind for these people, which may benefit you down the road.
To benefit from your LinkedIn profile, engage with relatable content, seek out new connections, reply to messages and remain active! Like all things, you get out what you put in.