LinkedIn: What Is It and When Should You Use It?

"Should I be on LinkedIn?" is a question I often get from my career coaching clients. My response is always a resounding YES!

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What is LinkedIn?


If you aren't familiar with LinkedIn or haven't spent much time on the site, LinkedIn is essentially your online resume. It's a free site where you can showcase your work experience, skills, and endorsements from previous co-workers and managers. But it's also so much more!


LinkedIn is a powerful online tool that allows you to research companies you're interested in, connect with other professionals in your field, establish yourself as a thought leader, and learn about new job openings. It's also a valuable tool for recruiters, who use the site to find candidates for open positions.


How to Use LinkedIn


Create Your Profile

Creating a LinkedIn profile is pretty straightforward. Start by heading to LinkedIn.com and click "Join now." LinkedIn will prompt you to enter your name, email address and create a password. Once you've done that, you'll be taken to your profile page, where you can start adding information about your education, work experience, skills, and more.


When listing your experience, provide a brief overview of your previous jobs. Don't post your entire resume here— LinkedIn is not the place for that. Instead, focus on highlighting your key responsibilities and accomplishments. You want to leave hiring managers and recruiters wanting more, so they contact you!


Build Your Network


LinkedIn is all about networking. As you make more connections, you'll increase the number of potential opportunities that might come your way. You never know who can help you get your foot in the door at your next dream job.

You can grow your LinkedIn network by connecting with classmates, friends, co-workers, and other professionals you know. LinkedIn will also suggest people you may want to connect with based on your current connections and profile information.


Be Social


You also need to be active on LinkedIn to get the most out of it. Start by sharing articles, writing blog posts, or creating other content that's relevant to your industry. This will help you establish yourself as a thought leader and build your personal brand.


Once you develop your network, you can start interacting with the posts in your feed, much like Facebook. LinkedIn groups are also a great way to engage with others in your field and learn about new opportunities.


Look for Jobs


LinkedIn is a valuable job search tool. You can use it as a job board like Indeed, and it allows you to research companies you're interested in by visiting their LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn also allows you to easily see if you have any connections at a company that might be able to help you with a referral or introduction.



Why You Shouldn't Apply For Job on LinkedIn


When you do find a job you're interested in on LinkedIn, apply through the company's website directly, not through LinkedIn. Here are 3 critical reasons why:


1. LinkedIn uses a tool to scrape job postings from company websites, so it's not always accurate, and the position may have already been filled.


2. Applying through LinkedIn Quick Apply will use your LinkedIn profile as your application. This may seem convenient, but it doesn't allow you to include a tailored response to the recruiter or attach a professional resume and cover letter.


3. You'll be part of a much smaller talent pool when applying through the company's website, and you can make a great first impression with a tailored resume and a cover letter. It's the best place to stand out!


Start Using LinkedIn Today!


Use LinkedIn to help you further your career. By creating a profile, building your network, and being active on the site, you can open up new opportunities for yourself.


Already have a profile?

Check out my latest LinkedIn Tips: 3 Things You Can Update On Your LinkedIn Profile Today.


 

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