LinkedIn 101: The Why of LinkedIn

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How you use the power of LinkedIn is up to you and your goals. Copyright Emma Kim / Cultura / Getty Images

With its 400 million+ users , LinkedIn has been adding 2 new users every second for the past several years. Whether you are reading because you are conducting a job search or just want to find ways to maximize your usage of the site, here you will find tips, tools and tricks that will put the power of LinkedIn to work for you.

Why Use LinkedIn?

You might reasonably ask “why?” I’ve been talking about LinkedIn since 2007 and am always asked that question.

So let’s talk about the “why.” There are 3 clear reasons.

Growing and Maintaining Your Network

LinkedIn helps you grow and maintain your professional network and is a fantastic tool for this purpose. It’s a helpful way to remain in touch with your professional colleagues or even friends. Let’s say there’s someone with whom you would like to get in touch.

Maybe it’s a sales prospect, or perhaps it’s a hiring manager for a position that interests you. LinkedIn gives you another tool whereby you can learn something about that person, and who you already know that might know him or her. So LinkedIn provides information.

So let’s look at the math on this:

Information = power

LinkedIn = information

Conclusion:

By the transitive property, LinkedIn gives you power.

How you use that power is up to you and your goals.

Establish and Control Your Professional Brand

Ever since Tom Peters wrote his seminal Fast Company article The Brand Called You back in 1997, personal branding is the genie out of the bottle.

Most people performing a given job function have a common denominator in skills and abilities. So no matter your job function, how are you exceptional?

This is no time for modesty. If we are all a brand, then we need to separate ourselves from everyone else. What makes us different - or if you prefer, what is our unique value proposition?

LinkedIn ties into this because as one of the world’s most popular sites, when someone does a search for you, results from LinkedIn will easily outshine those from most other sites. So when they do search for you, they will find you on LinkedIn - and if they can’t, some recruiters will reject you for that reason alone. This actually is a discussion that I have witnessed taking place among recruiters.

LinkedIn is a great big billboard. It’s up to you what you want to put on it, so do it up right. Have a profile picture with a smile, get some recommendations & add your skills. It’s your billboard.

LinkedIn Owns the Recruiting Process

During their second quarter earnings report, LinkedIn disclosed that during the quarter, 58% of all revenues were from products and services for talent acquisition. And last year, Forbes reported that 97% of recruiters use LinkedIn as part of their overall recruitment process. To wit: LinkedIn spends a lot of time and money concerned with the needs of recruiters.

If you are conducting a job search - in which case LinkedIn simply isn’t optional and hasn’t been for about half a decade now - you want to make sure that what recruiters see presents an accurate picture of what your resume will resemble when they ask for it.

For readers who are currently employed, Forbes reported earlier this year that odds are, you are dissatisfied. And recruiters like candidates who are already working. So make use of LinkedIn to increase the likelihood that someone asks you if you know someone who might be interested in a position.

In Closing

There are three reasons why LinkedIn is useful to you: it provides information, it’s a billboard to highlight your unique value proposition, and recruiters will be looking for you there.

Read More: Get Started on LinkedIn | LinkedIn Profile Examples