The short answer
If you are in a professional career in Corporate America, the answer is yes! If you are job searching in Corporate America, the answer is a resounding yes!
The preeminent global social network for professionals
According to the company, LinkedIn hosts the profiles of more than 400 million users in 200 countries and territories. 133 million of those users are in the United States. Recruiter surveys show that 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to either vet candidates or proactively search for new employees. Yes, you heard right, 93%! If you cannot be found on LinkedIn, you might as well be invisible.
Apart from being found by recruiters, LinkedIn is most useful as a networking tool. It’s about establishing connections with other professionals. Job search and career advancement are all about networking. LinkedIn makes it easy to find and establish connections and to leverage them for a potential job search. It will help you research companies, open positions, and people working for those companies that you may want to connect with. Recently LinkedIn has also beefed up its jobs database and job search feature, so that you can use it as a job board and often directly apply through the site.
As stated above, LinkedIn is most important for people in Corporate America. Small business owners are also seeing LinkedIn gaining in importance for creating new business and marketing. However, there are fields, where this social network is less instrumental, such as academia.
Where do I start?
You have to start by creating a profile. This is very straightforward, just follow the prompts. Make sure your profile is complete! That includes your summary, work history, education, a photo, and recommendations. There is an indicator of “profile strength” on your profile page, which will show what you are missing if your profile hasn’t made it all the way to “all star”. Completeness of profile is important, since only complete profiles will appear at the top of recruiter search results! And, yes, you do need a (professional!) photo and recommendations from connections for your profile to be complete.
The next step is to get connected to other LinkedIn users. Just start by connecting to people you know, such as current colleagues, former colleagues, family and friends, alumni from your alma mater, etc. The more connections you have, the more people will also want to connect with you. Your network will grow exponentially.
If you would like help creating your LinkedIn profile, the Career Center will help you. We offer one-on-one help, LinkedIn workshops, and books about the subject. For very good current LinkedIn information you can also follow Joshua Waldman’s blog.
This is the first in a series of in-depth posts about different features and functionalities of LinkedIn. So stay tuned!
Written by Anne Nowak.