WHAT IS LINKEDIN
LinkedIn is regarded as the world’s largest professional network boasting of about 610 million users in more than 200 countries around the globe and around 9,200 employees with its revenue being generated from selling access to information about its members to recruiters and sales professional.
It began in 2002 and was officially kick-started on May 5, 2003. LinkedIn is basically an employment-oriented system that functions through websites and operates on mobile phones through apps.
It works as a platform for professional networking where employers post jobs and potential employees put up their Curriculum Vitae, giving details of their educational background, training and skills acquired, working experience and a photograph of the individual.
With its Headquarter in Silicon Valley, LinkedIn has offices spanning across the globe in places like Omaha, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Washington D.C., Dublin, London, Munich, Amsterdam, Singapore, Stockholm, Japan, China, Australia, Canada, Dubai, India, etc. it is funded by European Founders Fund and other big companies like Bain Capital Ventures, Greylock and others.
How Does LinkedIn Work
LinkedIn gives members the platform to create profiles and helps employers and potential employees to connect to each other; advertising sales and recruitment solutions, also affording them the opportunity to build professional relationships as close to the real-world as possible.
It affords registered members the opportunity to invite anyone to become part of the system. It was acquired by Microsoft in December 2016 with Jeff Weiner as the CEO and the board of management consisting of well-versed and experienced executives from companies such as Google, PayPal, Yahoo and their likes. It operates a diversified business model with revenues streaming in from Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions and Premium Subscription products.
As earlier said, a member can invite anyone to become a connection, to expatiate on this; this is how it works. When a member invites a non-member to join a connection and the non-member accepts, then the person becomes a member, but if the individual invited selects “I don’t know” or “spam”, it counts against the inviter and such an individual may be closed down if he/she gets much of such negative responses.
A member’s list of connections can then be used in a number of ways;
- Users can secure introductions to the connections of connections – referred to as second-degree connections - and connections of second-degree connections – referred to as third-degree connections.
- Users can source for jobs, business openings and people recommended by an individual in his/her contact network.
- Employers can put out job opportunities and scout for potential employees
- Users can browse for second-degree connections who work at a specific company they are interested in and then ask a particular mutual first-degree connection for an introduction.
- Users can put up and view others’ pictures/images for easy identification.
- Users can use the platform to send congratulatory messages including birthday wishes.
- Users can follow as many companies as they are interested in.
- Users are able to view those who have visited their profile page
- Users can bookmark jobs that they would like to apply for or consider late
- Users can put up their articles or write-ups to share with their network
- Users can also share videos including texts and/or filters with the introduction of LinkedIn Video.
The mission of LinkedIn is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
Why LinkedIn is Important to Job Seekers
LinkedIn hosts more than 500 million professional profiles, this definitely means that it is a platform for an unlimited supply of network connections and job opportunities; whether you are seeking a new job or you want to maintain and develop your personal brand, LinkedIn is an essential tool to have as a professional in this 21st century. There are many important reasons to have a LinkedIn profile, some of them are discussed below;
- Best Job/Hiring Platform: LinkedIn is very essential for those looking for jobs, whether actively or passively, it offers a platform where job seekers can search for the job they desire and also apply for them. Also, users who are connected to managers and colleagues can turn on their “I’m interested” button, this will alert employers to the fact that such an individual is open to new opportunities which will not be visible to the present company. LinkedIn recommends jobs that match the details provided by a user as well as provide job listings that are applicable to one’s profile.
- Best Bet for Priceless Resources: LinkedIn has moved from just an online resume and networking website to an all-inclusive personal branding resource. Therefore, its services are wide-ranged and make life easier for every professional or executive. It offers not only connections but expertise, it connects employers to potential employees, provides contractors for a particular challenge/issue, offers connections up to the third degree, supplies lock-sure referrals, offers gist on what other companies/competitors are up to and many more. There are so many assets that LinkedIn offers to its users.
- Ultimate Brand Building: It is a great avenue – probably the greatest one for now – to build and maintain one’s professional brand; visibility and credibility online. This places such a person strategically, not only for business opportunities but also for education, training, partnership and skill acquisition. It also helps such to broaden his/her horizon on what to do to be different in his/her company, what to make him/her more marketable and what to do to increase his/her value and inadvertently, his/her salary. It is a big spectrum that offers everything a professional needs to develop in the business or corporate world. It also helps an individual to stay connected to large networks of contacts by following top-notch leaders and companies and by joining groups that are tailored to one’s field of interest.
- Companies’ Profiles: LinkedIn is a platform where most companies own their LinkedIn pages - where it is easy for users to access information about their desired company- share their recent activities, current employees and general news. This helps the potential employee to be well armed, i.e. having an informed knowledge of what the company is all about, what it stands for, its culture and its workers. It will greatly influence decision-making for any individual considering such company.
- Stay Current and Connected: It affords an individual the opportunity to stay abreast of what is going on in the corporate and business world, especially one’s industry or field of expertise, in other words, it keeps such individual updated and in touch with all happenings in his/her field. It also helps to boost one’s influence as every thought-leader and company an individual follows is revealed to anyone that views one’s profile. Also, LinkedIn gives a better option of keeping tabs on one’s ever-increasing contacts, allows for the update of your status on a regular basis, which will alert one’s contacts to the recent activities of such an individual and where such can be found. It also affords one the opportunity of joining different groups of interest where one is free to voice one’s thoughts, opinions, ideas, and observations on others’ posts.
- Best Networking Board: This cannot be over-emphasized. LinkedIn caters to all types of personalities, it gives the best alternative for going to functions and social gatherings and networking. With LinkedIn, every individual has the opportunity to foster a relationship with mutual connections, role models and people of like minds.
- Increases Visibility: There are thousands of people searching for services provided on LinkedIn every day. It is the best platform to project oneself (advertise skills) with the right detailed profile structured to one’s field in order to ensure that one doesn’t miss out on numerous opportunities, be it business or the executive world. In other words, it is the best platform to promote oneself as a professional as it should contain a listing of personal achievements, detailed job experiences, acquired skills and any other relevant information which will then be shared with everyone the individual is connected with as well as like-minds, CEO’s, recruiters and generally anyone looking for someone who fits into ones profile. A comprehensive, updated and complete profile (supported by images and videos where necessary or available) will give a good impression to anyone searching and increases one’s chances.
- Google Appearance: LinkedIn is the best way to be found on Google! As earlier stated, LinkedIn is acquired by Google, therefore, the website ranks higher in the Google results (SERP). What this means is that there is a higher probability for an individual’s profile to pop up during a google search and this is a plus for any prospective employee, this helps you expand your network and stay in touch with others.
How to Build A LinkedIn Profile That Works
- Dedicate the time to build it: The more complete the profile, the greater the chances that employers will locate you, to begin with. It is very important to have a complete profile as it should contain all the information that the employee needs to know and make a decision to reach out. Therefore, it is expedient to take out time to fill all the sections provided. The good thing is that LinkedIn helps to measure how complete one’s profile is and provides suggestions on how to make it stronger and better.
- Don’t miss out on the Basics: Many people get it wrong from here, any registering user must make sure that his/her demographic data supplied must be accurate, for example, the email address provided must be the one regularly used/checked in order not to miss out on any vital information like connection requests, messages and more. Also, a mobile number that can be easily reached should be added and a clear and precise (as much as you can) address should be submitted.
- Choose an Account: LinkedIn offers two types of account: the Basic which is free and the Premium which offers more features than the Basic but goes for a price/fee. Each has different benefits and the type of account selected should be influenced by the intention of joining LinkedIn in the first place. It is also noteworthy that each account offers a one-month free trial so it is possible to cancel or switch accounts if such so desire.
- Select a Good Picture/Image: It is not advisable to use a blurry picture (use one with at least 200 x 200 pixels) or a picture with filters or even one that doesn’t just match a ‘professional’ look, if one is confused about what type of picture to put up, then, it is advisable that such consults other pictures/images of other professionals on the LinkedIn site especially those in one’s field of expertise, this gives a great idea of what is ‘generally expected’ for a professional picture. Also, LinkedIn provides features for this, therefore, if there are pictures that depict well one’s profession, it is also advisable to put it up there with a caption as this important feature in profile-building can convey passion, energy and charisma to whoever is viewing it.
- Talk about Experiences, Skills and Education: It is pertinent to ensure that experiences listed reflect all that one is capable of doing, starting with the most current. When doing this, make contents fleshy, optimize keywords and make it attractive-to-read. List not less than 5 skills (there are spaces for 50 skills allotted on LinkedIn) in order of expertise and efficiency as this increases one’s chances of being contacted by recruiters and other LinkedIn members. When including educational background, it is, of essence, to include all the schools attended as this will foster easier connections with old classmates and alumni groups. Corporate training and seminars earned through an organization related to one’s field should be also included.
- Make use of a Catchy Headline: This is what will pop up with your name on LinkedIn therefore, it is advisable to make it as catchy as possible, encapsulating and make an impression. No need for long sentences; short and precise. A good example is “Marketing and Sales Manager at Peak Pensions and Trust Fund”.
- Add additional information: Any information you consider relevant or useful including hobbies should be added, seeing that LinkedIn provides the opportunity to add a variety of interests to one’s profile. One can never tell, the seemingly mundane information like a hobby can be the eye – catcher for a recruiter. It can also translate into the type of personality that you possess. When done, it is advisable to double-check and edit where necessary, making sure all dates and places are correctly inputted. Ensure that your profile is typo-free and grammatical mistakes free. Avoid using crass/crude language, stick to professional terms.
- Make use of Numbers as much as you can: When highlighting past results and success in the summary space, it is advisable to include numbers and case studies that indicates and proves success in that chosen field. This helps to create a good and lasting impression on the mind of the readers, establishes credibility and gives a point of reference and also an idea of what such an individual is capable of achieving. For example, Social Media consultant and speaker; Wayne Breitbarth has this to say in his summary’s second sentence: “I have helped more than 40,000 business people – from entry level to CEO – understand how to effectively use LinkedIn.”
- Summarize in the Summary Space: There is a summary box provided for every user where such is expected to include 3-5 short paragraphs which should visibly reflect the individual’s relevant skills, work passion, unique qualifications and an itemization of various industries such a person has been exposed to over the years. This is strongly suggested and supported by the Career Horizons. Let your personality also reflects here, it doesn’t hurt to give a sneak-peek of your personality as it also gives the employer an idea of your person.
- Make use of a Custom URL: LinkedIn provides every new user with a series of numbers upon signing up but it is easier to advertise one’s profile with a customized URL (linkedin.com/yourname). To get this, go to the ‘Edit Profile’ icon, at the bottom of the grey window that shows the elementary information, there is a Public Profile URL. Click on ‘Edit’ next to the URL, then create what you’ll like your address to be. Upon completion, click on ‘Set Custom URL.’
- Consistent Update: Never let your LinkedIn profile become dusty, ensure that every milestone made professionally is put up there, no matter how minute it seemingly is. Also, regularly check for messages, put up posts and comments on write-ups, respond to requests and generally keep in touch with recent happenings in your field of expertise.
- Ask for Recommendations: Recommendations play a larger role in securing a position being considered for, therefore, do not be shy in asking friends and colleagues to drop a well descriptive and substantial recommendation on your page. Ensure you do likewise.
Top Tips On How to Use LinkedIn to Get A Job
It has been established that LinkedIn is used by about 90% of recruiters to recruit/employ, therefore, it goes without saying that LinkedIn is a great tool to have when hunting for a job. On a show; CBS This Morning, LinkedIn CEO had this to say, “Be yourself, represent who you are. It's not just your experiences; this is not a resume ... This is a more dynamic approach to representing your experiences, your skills, your objectives, what you know, what you're interested in within a professional context, It's not just about the comprehensiveness; it's also about freshness of the information, and the more complete and the more fresh, the more recent that that information has been updated, the more opportunities that are going to accrue to our members." The best way to maximize this tool is briefly discussed below:
- Set up a Detailed Profile: Without being a user, you cannot access all the goodies that LinkedIn has to offer, therefore, the first step is to set up a detailed profile including but not limited to your educational background, work experiences and acquired skills.
- Search for Connections: No man is an island of knowledge, therefore, don’t be shy to link up with others in your field of expertise, connect to colleagues and bosses and increase your chance of greater productivity. There are endless connection possibilities on LinkedIn.
- Maximize the use of Keywords: Scout through job descriptions that you are interested in, pick out words that are constantly used e.g. ‘team-player’ and throw them in your resume.
- Get Recommendations/Endorsements: This is a powerful propeller in positioning oneself for the best job, ask your boss, colleagues, organizations you’ve once volunteered with and friends to throw in a good recommendation for you. It makes you more attractive to employers.
- Follow Companies: Any company remotely related to your field of expertise should be followed, it is very crucial in job-seeking, this way, you find out what the company needs or requires of the potential employee, what job offer they have available and you also find out (as stated earlier) the culture of the company and their modus operandi.
- Scour for Greater Connectors: These are usually top-notch speakers, recognized authors or award-winning members. Such an individual is highly visible and can be the door to limitless connections. However, one must be a worthwhile connection, such must be vested in whatever interests the connector, for example, such must invest in reading that author’s book and reviewing it or watching that speaker’s videos and commenting on them or attending his/her seminar.
- Join Groups: This is a great way of establishing oneself and a great opportunity to do a massive network, there are hundreds of different groups on LinkedIn, join at least one and increase your visibility. Also, it is a good chance to establish your wide horizon of knowledge by the comments and reviews that will be posted by such an individual, it can also be a great avenue to discovering a new path and working on becoming an expert in such.