This is going to sound like I work for LinkedIn. I don’t, nor am I uncritical of it, but I think it’s an awesome tool for branding, visibility and networking. It’s free advertising! And unlike Twitter or Facebook you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of time on it to get some impressive benefits.
What Is It?
- It’s the most important place to be seen online professionally, the #1 online tool for professional networking.
Who Needs to Be There?
- Almost everyone who has a career, especially people in “white collar” occupations – from secretaries to software developers. It’s an important component in managing your career.
- Anyone who might ever be in the job market again – even if that day might not come for years.
- Employed, unemployed or self employed – we all can benefit.
- Anyone who realizes that “it’s not just what you know, but who you know” that leads to success.
- We all need to be ready – ready for a promotion or job offer, ready to build mutually useful relationships, ready for anything.
- Recruiters often go straight to LinkedIn when they have an opening to fill – and many of these openings are “hidden jobs,” never publicly posted.
- Potential employers and clients can see glowing recommendations in your LinkedIn profile, increasing the chances they’ll reach out about working with you.
- Your LinkedIn contacts can introduce you to company insiders.
- Before you need it. It takes time to build up contacts, recommendations and relationships.
- Now is better than never. Jump in.
- When you’re in a “stealth job search.” Will your boss notice and know that you’re looking? You can keep it low-key through careful attention to the Settings, but more than that, be prepared to tell your boss how you’re using LinkedIn to build your image and relationships within the company and with customers.
- When you’ve just started a new job. New colleagues will be curious. Show them who you are.
It’s easy to put up a “pretty good” profile and use LinkedIn at a basic level, but it takes more skill to write a smart, engaging profile that instantly communicates the best of who you are. And it helps to know some “best practices” for what to do after that. See my post, “10 Ingredients of an Excellent LinkedIn Profile”–and get ready to put your best foot forward professionally.
This article was originally posted in 2012 and has been updated.