LinkedIn Professional Networking Site

What is LinkedIn and How Can You Use It?

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LinkedIn is an online directory of individual professionals and organizations. Individuals and companies use LinkedIn for professional networking. LinkedIn has millions of members in more than 200 countries, including executives from all Fortune 500 companies.

Individuals use LinkedIn for professional networking, connecting, and job searching. Companies use LinkedIn for recruiting and for providing company information to prospective employees.

While you may use Facebook to connect with friends, family and colleagues, LinkedIn is built for professional networking rather than connecting based on interests and personal relationships.

How LinkedIn is Used

When you join LinkedIn, you create a profile (similar to an online resume) that summarizes your professional experience and accomplishments. You then use your profile to connect with people in your network. Your profile is how you get found on LinkedIn by potential employers.

How to Get Started on LinkedIn: Use these step-by-step tips to create your profile. You will want to use a photo that represents your professional appearance. Highlight your experience in a summary and add details about your skills and employment. You can request recommendations from others on LinkedIn to add weight to your stated skills and accomplishments. Also see what not to include in your profile.

LinkedIn Profile Examples: See how successful LinkedIn users have customized their profiles

Building a LinkedIn Network

Once you sign-up for LinkedIn and create a profile you can start to build a network of contacts, including people you are connected with on a professional basis, an educational basis, or based on another common interest.

Building your network is a key part of using LinkedIn, and there are do's and don'ts.

While you want to build a network, your invitations should be to people who you have as professional contacts. You will be able to send messages to others who are on LinkedIn, but you need to keep your messages on point. More: How to Send LinkedIn Invitations and Messages

You may discover that you are getting more messages than you can keep up with on LinkedIn.

Job Searching and Posting with LinkedIn

LinkedIn members can search for jobs, join groups, research companies, and network with members of their network.It can pay to learn how to search LinkedIn by keyword and how to include keywords in your LinkedIn profile

Companies can post information about the company and job listings on company pages. Companies can also contact LinkedIn members for recruiting purposes. LinkedIn has become a popular tool to be used by recruiters, and the site works to ensure they can use it effectively.

You can include a customized link to your LinkedIn profile in your resume. Prospective employers can then see more about you in your profile, including the size of your network and your endorsements. Be sure you have polished your LinkedIn profile before you take this step. Keep it up to date and curated to present the best face to prospective employers.

More on How to Use LinkedIn