The Role of LinkedIn in Professional Networking

LinkedIn is a social networking tool for professional networking. People using LinkedIn are generally interested in more than simply keeping up with friends or sharing the latest news. They are often job seekers, or they are working professionals uncovering leads for sales and marketing opportunities. As a whole, LinkedIn users are trying to establish themselves as knowledgeable professionals in their fields.

Getting Started

To take advantage of the benefits of using LinkedIn, you must first establish a personal profile. To begin, this profile will include information about your current and previous employers and your education. Users can expand their profiles by including more in-depth descriptions of their experience along with links to related content, as well as pertinent documents, photos, videos or presentations. You can think of this profile and the detailed experience section as an enhanced, online resume.

When you establish your profile, you are not on your own. LinkedIn provides an interactive graphic that shows you the strength of your profile as you build it. It prompts you for information you might not think to include, such as your skills and interests and organizations you support. Establishing an All-Star profile that makes you easy to find, with information that fully conveys your qualifications, is well worth your time.

Maximizing the Potential

When creating your profile, be sure to include memberships in professional organizations, certifications, publications and any languages you speak. Courses you have taken that are relevant to your career goals are also important. Taking time to include these details increases the likelihood that a person or company searching for someone with your combination of skills and interests will discover you.

Including links to other sites you maintain when using LinkedIn is also important. These links, as part of your profile, can convey the person viewing your credentials to your site. If the site is a blog or a channel that displays your presentations or talks, the payoff will be handsome because the people who see these fuller sites can then further assess your qualifications.

You can also write posts when using LinkedIn. These can highlight your areas of expertise for recruiters looking for individuals with your skills. Posting on LinkedIn is a quick and highly visible way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.

To extend your reach, LinkedIn provides you with the ability to list areas of interest and organizations you support or are affiliated with, as well as causes you care about. Taking the time to provide this information creates a fuller picture of your values and priorities for recruiters.

Seeing the Results

You will see the results of your LinkedIn profile in the form of congratulatory messages when you change jobs, or when your LinkedIn contacts respond to an update or give you an endorsement for one of your skills. These endorsements are important since they provide validation of your proficiencies.

You will also see the results of using LinkedIn in the number of people who contact you with a request to become a contact. By networking with these people, you can learn more about their networks and other professional networking opportunities.

Learn about the Baylor University online MBA program.


Sources:

Baylor Business Review: Networking Tips from the Experts

DMR: LinkedIn Job Statistics

HowStuffWorks: How LinkedIn Works

The LinkedIn Man: Why Should You Use LinkedIn?


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