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Launched in 2003 and acquired by Microsoft in 2016, LinkedIn has emerged as a leading platform for job seekers and those who are looking to further their careers. As of the end of 2018, LinkedIn boasted almost 600 million users worldwide, with approximately 150 million in the United States alone. With robust networking and publishing tools, LinkedIn plays an important role in the professional advancement of employees at all stages of their careers, from entry-level through the C-Suite.

Why is LinkedIn such a valuable platform? Let’s break it down:

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LinkedIn Visibility

For starters, a presence on LinkedIn can function a lot like having your own website. You can create a detailed professional profile, list your employment history and major achievements, and provide information about your education, professional affiliations, licensure, and many other details. You can also include a professional photo to draw a more personal connection to those who visit your profile.

Your profile summary is a great place to state your value proposition. Demonstrate your worth by highlighting your experience, detailing your core competencies, and providing meaningful results you’ve been able to produce. You can also include targeted keywords and key phrases that will make you more likely to be found in search results. And because LinkedIn measures how many times your profile has been viewed, you can use this as a benchmark to determine how effectively you are attracting visitors and adjust the wording accordingly.

As recruiters, we can tell you that there’s a high probability your LinkedIn profile will be viewed at some point during the job-search process. Be sure to keep your profile updated, relevant, and results-driven. It could make all the difference between being selected for an interview and being passed over for another candidate.

LinkedIn Connections

Through LinkedIn’s search mechanism, professionals can easily locate recruiters, hiring managers, HR professionals, and other decision-makers. LinkedIn makes it super easy to reach out and extend a connection request to those who can help advance your career. And once someone accepts your connection invitation, you then have an open line of communication with them.

Building a strong network that consists of prominent professionals, executives, influencers, and thought leaders is an asset that you carry with you throughout your career. But the time to start building your network is not when you begin job hunting. It takes time to cultivate relationships – in person and on line. You want to have your connections in place long before you want to rely on them to help advance your career. As the saying goes, “Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start digging your well.”

LinkedIn Thought Leadership

One of the most meaningful benefits of LinkedIn is being able to boost your status as a thought leader through consistent posting. Do you want to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers? Then let your voice be heard by posting your thoughts on relevant topics. And it couldn’t be easier. As you find an article that discusses a new development in in your industry, post it to LinkedIn. Add comments to show your take on the issue. You have the option of posting this content directly to your network, or you can publish it in a professional group related to your industry. Either way, your postings make a powerful statement that you are a leading voice in your field.

Want to kick it up a notch? On LinkedIn, you can write and publish your own articles on topics that will further promote your thought leadership. Articles can be as short as a quick paragraph with a key insight, or they can be longer pieces that goes into subjects in greater depth.

Get Started in LinkedIn

While having your morning cup of coffee, why not hop on LinkedIn to catch up on the latest news, share your thoughts, and build a few connections along the way? Once you get into the habit of using LinkedIn on a regular basis, you may find that you enjoy it as part of your daily routine.  After you have perfected the basics, you can enhance your usage even further  with some advanced acitivity, like: Updating your headline with keywords; Using the Advanced search to find key hiring managers in your field; Researching your dream companies and following them; or asking colleagues or clients for recommendations, just to name a few.And while you’re on LinkedIn, feel free to reach out and connect to me. I always enjoy expanding my network with interesting people.

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