LinkedIn is a powerful career development tool for individuals at any stage of their career, including senior high school students, professionals from graduate to executive level, creatives, contractors, consultants and business owners.
Over the last twelve months, we have seen upheaval in the job market and a loss of jobs spanning all levels and from across multiple industries. There has been no other time that has better highlighted the importance of good personal branding and having an established and nurtured network that you can turn to in tough times. LinkedIn is a tool that allows for just that, the opportunity to nurture existing relationships, to build new networks and to create a strong personal brand.
LinkedIn has gone through some exciting changes to keep up with the challenges facing jobseekers. It now has more than 756 million active members across 200 countries, with usage on the site only continuing to increase.
If you have been debating about setting up a LinkedIn profile, or have a profile that doesn’t get much love, then here are 8 reasons why you should be investing some more time in LinkedIn:
Job search functionality
Recruiters and employers now use LinkedIn extensively to source candidates either via advertising positions on the LinkedIn job board or by actively searching for suitable candidates who match keywords. If you are in the market for a new position, then you really should be on LinkedIn to increase your chances of securing your next role.
In addition, you can use LinkedIn as part of an active job search strategy to identify target companies and hiring managers and go direct. Many employers are keen to build their talent pool with direct applicants as it reduces their advertising and recruitment costs so always go direct where you can, especially if you have a mutual connection who can make an introduction for you.
In addition, over 90% of recruiters now check to see if you have a LinkedIn profile as part of the recruitment screening process. Therefore, a professional, complete and compelling profile that is consistent with your resume and clearly outlines your relevant experience, skills and achievements is an absolute must.
To get discovered
LinkedIn is also a hunting ground for recruitment agencies and talent acquisition managers who are looking for ‘passive’ candidates (i.e. people happy in their jobs and not actively looking) who have specialist skills or expertise. If you possess skills that are in demand, then by having a complete and keyword optimised LinkedIn profile, you may well receive a tap on the shoulder from a recruiter who has identified you as an attractive candidate. In fact, in this article from Hootsuite, they confirmed that 3 people get hired through LinkedIn every minute.
Maintaining your network
“Your network is your net worth. How do you value your network? Well, if you don’t value it, cultivate it, nurture it, it becomes worthless. If you do value it, it becomes priceless” Robert G Allen
One of the greatest advantages of LinkedIn is the ability to reconnect with people from your past such as school friends, university alumni or ex-colleagues, clients and bosses. Even when someone changes jobs, or even countries, LinkedIn has the search functionality to help you find them again.
If you experience a sudden redundancy, job loss or are returning to work after a career break, it is these relationships that will often be instrumental in helping you find that next role.
Expanding your network
Whilst maintaining and nurturing your network is important, career success also comes from continuing to expand your network. LinkedIn is a great networking tool, particularly if you are someone who doesn’t find the traditional networking methods agreeable. For those who are a little more introverted, LinkedIn allows them to build connections in a more subtle way through engaging in conversations online, sharing content or congratulating someone in their network on a promotion or business win.
Another great feature of LinkedIn is its powerful research capability which the majority of users are not even aware of. Not only can LinkedIn be used by recruiters and talent acquisition managers, but it also offers great research capability for jobseeker’s keen to do their due diligence on potential employers or hiring managers. Users can conduct keyword searches with a number of different filters to find specific job functions within organisations which allows for jobseekers to go direct to the hiring manager rather than waiting for that perfect role to appear on job boards.
LinkedIn also offers the perfect platform for members to raise their profile within their current organisation and their industry sector. LinkedIn allows the sharing of content as well as the opportunity for users to write posts or publish articles or videos to showcase their work. By consistently sharing useful and relevant information with your followers, you may just start to be noticed by the decision-makers in your industry.
LinkedIn is also a fabulous way to learn about different industries, companies and key players. By ‘following’ companies or persons of interests and joining industry groups, you can learn a lot about what is happening in your industry. LinkedIn allows you to stay up-to-date with changes and trends affecting your industry, whether it is a new appointment, a company takeover or an update on a client or colleague changing jobs. For university students looking for the edge when it comes to graduate recruitment, LinkedIn is highly recommended for this reason alone.
To grow your business
The online world is all about content creation and LinkedIn has recently introduced LinkedIn Creator Mode to directly support that. The aim of creator mode is to help individuals grow their audience and has been designed especially for freelancers, business owners and consultants who can now display their services on their LinkedIn page. Activating these services enables you to become visible through searches on LinkedIn Marketplace, a new feature reportedly being launched later this year similar to freelance marketing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr.
In addition, LinkedIn’s research capability offers business owners, contractors and consultants a great tool for identifying new leads or referral partners. In fact, Hubspot found that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter.
As you can see, there are a huge number of benefits to being on LinkedIn and it is much more than just a social media tool. Even spending five to seven minutes a day on LinkedIn can make a big difference to you advancing or future-proofing your career.
If you are interested in LinkedIn don’t forget to book for Leah’s upcoming free group career coaching session – ‘LinkedIn for job search, networking and building a personal brand’.
Written by CGA Careers Expert – Leah Lambart