Why You NEED to be on LinkedIn

By Robert Mandelberg, CPRW

LinkedIn has quickly become an indispensible tool for job seekers and career-oriented people. It is a social networking site for people who understand the important role that personal relationships play in attaining their career goals. Far more effective and interactive than the big job boards, LinkedIn puts you in the driver’s seat of your job search.

When you join LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to do the following:

* Build a network of important contacts …
* Create a profile and post your resume …
* Join groups for your industry and profession …
* Post comments and join discussions relevant to your field.

Why are these benefits so important? Let’s take a look at four ways LinkedIn can help in your job search:

~ Enables you to be found by recruiters and hiring managers: Your profile, resume, and participation in LinkedIn groups will attract recruiters who are seeking candidates in your specialty. Additionally, once you establish contact with recruiters or employers, they likely will look you up on LinkedIn to see what you are all about. If you are not on LinkedIn, in many ways, you simply do not exist.

~ Enables you to find others: The search mechanism works both ways: If you have an interview scheduled, you can research your interviewer’s background, groups, and online discussions. This can make you much more prepared for your meeting. Even better, if you are targeting a particular company or individual, you can use your network to connect. And as you grow your list of contacts on LinkedIn, your network expands exponentially. Here’s how it works: Let’s say that you have 50 people in your network, and they each have 50 people in their networks. You are then able to tap into your contacts’ contacts, providing exposure to a network of 2,500 people! LinkedIn makes it easy to use your contacts to gain introductions. The key is to continually build your network with a broad range of individuals to maximize your search capabilities.

~ Helps build “expert status”: Once you join industry-related groups on LinkedIn, you are able to participate in discussions and share your views on relevant topics. This creates an online trail that is visible to others who are researching your background. You have a tremendous opportunity to position yourself as an expert and raise your credibility within your industry.

~ Verifies your achievements: While anyone can create a resume that boasts of his or her achievements, LinkedIn enables you to back up these claims with testimonials from others. Your background and accomplishments become so much more believable when others are willing to write an online recommendation for you.

Often people ask if their presence on LinkedIn will alert their current employers that they are seeking a new position. This is a possibility; however, LinkedIn can also be used to network for your company. If you can figure out a way to make your participation on LinkedIn related to your current job, then your presence on the site may not set off any alarms. In fact, you can connect to your boss and coworkers and initiate discussions relevant to your company’s goals and challenges. You can receive all of the benefits of memberships without explicitly announcing to the LinkedIn community that you are currently exploring new career opportunities.

It is also important to understand that simply being a member of LinkedIn will do little to help you reach your career goals. It requires effort on your part to build relationships, increase your visibility, and seek new opportunities.

Ready to sign up? Great! Feel free to connect with me once you are a member.

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