Before I started university, I thought LinkedIn was the social network for old people. Now I know how wrong I was. LinkedIn is actually an ESSENTIAL tool for anyone who wants to aim high and be successful.
So what is LinkedIn? You’d be forgiven for not knowing. It is essentially a social networking platform for professionals (or aspiring professionals, like students!). You can form connections and ‘link’ with other people, which is of particular value if you are trying to make contacts within an industry and tap into otherwise inaccessible networks. It’s most notable features allow you to do the following:
Build an online CV with LinkedIn
For many people, the main feature of LinkedIn is their profile where you can detail relevant experience, education, skills, volunteering and accomplishments. This can be used to impress potential employers when applying for jobs and networking.
Create a professional persona with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the best way to create a personal ‘brand’ to appeal to employers. The main benefit of this is that you can control exactly what you include on your profile and in your posts, and are therefore fully in charge of the professional image you put across to them.
Share Content with LinkedIn
LinkedIn isn’t limited to just creating a profile. Users share or comment on relevant blogs or articles they find interesting and want to share with others or to demonstrate their keen interest in a particular sector or industry. You can also post your own blogs, link to your website, add some coursework you are particularly proud of or even include videos to show your experiences and skills.
Make connections and network with LinkedIn
Once you’re up and running, you can start ‘linking’ with other users. Usually, people will put details of their professional standing or job role in their ‘About Me’ section of their profile, so it’s easier to find relevant connections. Once you start growing your network, you can use these connections to discover future employers or organise some work experience for yourself, for example. Once connected, you can private message each other to get your name out there! The more connections you have, the higher the probability that employers will find YOU, as opposed to the other way around.
Join supportive groups with LinkedIn
Aside from making individual connections, you can also join groups which will expose you to the content they share. For example, if you are interested in marketing, there are plenty of groups that you can search for and join, giving you more information and contacts in the field. Within these groups, you will also find current news stories and research, giving you the in-depth commercial awareness employers look for.
Gain recommendations and endorsements with LinkedIn
Another great feature allows your connections to verify your skills and write you glowing references which will show on your profile for all employers and hiring managers to see. This improves their trust in you and backs up your skills and experience.
Overall, LinkedIn makes the professional world seem a lot smaller because it gives you the connections you need to help achieve your ambitions. Sign up and create a profile today – it’s free and will hugely benefit you and your future career.
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