LinkedIn – some facts
Before we can start to get into the nitty gritty of LinkedIn, it’s worth beginning with some facts about the social network.
With over 175 million members, the US leads the way with nearly 7 million profiles. Other top countries include the United Kingdom, India, Holland, Canada, Brazil, Australia and France.
However, it’s not just professionals that use the network, with thousands of online businesses themselves setting up their own profile.
Linkedin lets you stay in touch
When we leave school or college, we tend to lose contact with our friends and peers. Like Facebook, LinkedIn lets you stay in contact with people you’ve met in your life, without having to form a more ‘social’ relationship.
Think about it – you graduate in History, and someone you went to college with becomes an editor of a paper. What better way than to drop them a mail and say “Hi! We went to college together, any chance of a job?”
When it comes to your career, being able to stay in touch with past colleagues and previous managers is also a boon. LinkedIn lets you cultivate a business network of professionals who know you, who trust you, and who will recommend you (more about this later).
Also, another benefit of staying in touch is that, if you run your own business, you know who you can trust. Rather than hire out other people – strangers who you don’t know – LinkedIn lets you stay in touch and offer work and contracts to trusted people.
LinkedIn gets you recommendations
When you apply for a new job, one of the most important things on your resume is the references you can provide.
But imagine if you could provide a reference, complete with shining recommendation at the same time?
That’s where LinkedIn really comes into its own – your contacts have the ability to write a personal recommendation about you and the work you have completed. What better way than to show off what a professional you are with a bespoke, tailored recommendation? Any prospective employer worth their salt will look at your online profile, and if you have recommendations coming out of your ears you’ll make them sit up and take notice…
You may have to spend a bit of time recommending your contacts first, though, but it’s worth it!
Researching potential employers
Whenever you go for an interview, your interviewer will often ask you a question about what you know about their business. Being able to show that you are interested in what they do, the products they sell or the services they provide will stand you in good stead.
One of the major benefits of LinkedIn, is that it’s a great resource for finding out about the potential employer. From finding out about how many employees they have, you can read up on the major players – what they do in the company, where they have been, what their major achievements are. You could even be sneaky and check out the names of your interviewers if you know them – try and do a bit of digging and see how you can build a rapport with them.
You may even be able to have a look at the company notice board and see what big things are happening too…
There’s no doubt about it, LinkedIn should be the first port of call for any pre-interview research.
Use it to establish yourself
The final reason you need to be on LinkedIn is that you can use it to establish yourself. First off, if you can answer questions with LinkedIn Answers, you can set yourself up as an expert on the subjects you’re knowledgeable about. If you work in Search Engine Optimisation, help businesses by sharing your knowledge about how Google works…
If you’re a LinkedIn expert you will be a credible appointment – you could be headhunted – and your managers won’t want you to leave.
Secondly, you can establish yourself through LinkedIn Events to find workshops and conferences of interest to you and your profession, based on your professional profile. Once you find an event, you can publicise your attendance and find other professionals attending too – you can then set up a networking meeting.
HR & Training Dept