I recently held a career development workshop at a local company. When the topic of LinkedIn came up, I heard a wide range of responses. Everything from “Yeah, of course! I love LinkedIn. I found my last job on LinkedIn” … to … “No, way. Scary. I have no time for that. I don’t want to be on LinkedIn at all.”
This is typical. While many savvy professionals are realizing the benefits of a solid LinkedIn presence—leading to better personal branding, recruiter attention, and networking—many people remain confused, overwhelmed, or leery of jumping on the LinkedIn bandwagon.
You don’t have to be a LinkedIn super-user who posts articles and is active in groups. (Though you certainly can be if that works for you, and people who do find it very useful to their careers.)
But in this day and age, every career coach, resume writer, recruiter, and hiring manager out there will tell you that at minimum a professional, well-curated LinkedIn presence is a must.
Let me say that again. EVERY career coach, resume writer, recruiter, and hiring manager out there recommends you established a LinkedIn presence.
I’ve had multiple hiring managers tell me stories of qualified candidates who were passed over because they didn’t have a LinkedIn profile. Times when, all else being equal, the candidate without a LinkedIn profile lost the job.
Because LinkedIn’s usefulness is so pervasive, so well-established that a candidate who says “I pass” on such a valuable resource is seen as somehow lacking in basic savvy and competence.
So here’s a quick rundown on some of the reasons LinkedIn is a worthwhile investment:
LinkedIn is a NETWORKING TOOL
- Maintain and leverage your connections—past colleagues or vendors, college friends, former supervisors. LinkedIn allows you to keep those connections open.
- Monitor trends and opportunities. You LinkedIn connections may post job openings or share useful updates about what’s happening in their companies, giving you inside information on your industry niche.
LinkedIn is a JOB SEARCH TOOL
- Let recruiters and hiring managers find you. LinkedIn is a top way recruiters (internal and third-party) identify and source good-fit candidates. Set up your LinkedIn profile correctly, and interesting opportunities may come your way.
- Control what prospective employers find out about you. Once you’re in the sourcing process, recruiters, hiring managers, future managers, and potential colleagues will be vetting you. A LinkedIn profile lets you control the message they receive about you.
Okay, those are the basics. But LinkedIn’s usefulness goes beyond networking and job searching. Here are a few more LinkedIn benefits that you may not have thought about:
LinkedIn is a SALES TOOL
- Vet your potential business partners, service providers, and vendors. If you want to sell something to someone or partner with someone, you should be using LinkedIn to research the company and the people who work for them.
- Sell yourself. Your profile should highlight what you do and how you can solve potential clients’ problems. It should portray you as solid and successful—the foundation for any sales relationship.
LinkedIn helps you PROTECT YOUR PROFESSIONAL REPUTATION
- Enhance and protect your reputation within your current company. So the next time a plum project or a promotion opportunity comes along, your managers see you in your best light.
- Protect you from layoffs. When HR teams are researching downsizing or consolidations following an acquisition, they’ll likely browse LinkedIn to assess the contributions of employees. Make sure you’re making a bright impression and highlighting the contributions you’ve made.
So if you’re like most busy professionals, it’s time to take a fresh look at your LinkedIn profile and make a few updates.
The good news is that an effective, professional LinkedIn profile isn’t hard to achieve.
Here’s a quick rundown of 3 simple steps to an effective, professional LinkedIn profile. And if you’re ready to up your game, here are some introductory strategies for increasing your LinkedIn engagement.