LinkedIn is a tool that is extremely effective for individuals at all stages of their careers, and across all industries. There is still a perception by many that LinkedIn is only for corporate employees, but this is most definitely not the case. You will now find individuals on LinkedIn from all walks of life including; small business owners, writers, designers, actors, AFL football players, personal trainers, teachers, nurses, doctors, and high school students. Regardless of your industry sector and the stage of your career, LinkedIn offers many benefits to advancing your career in a positive direction.
Senior high school students
In January 2022, LinkedIn had 12.7 million users in Australia which accounted for 48.7% of our entire population. The largest user group based on age was 25 to 35 years old, however, LinkedIn also has a very high student user group with the minimum age to set up a LinkedIn account in Australia only 14 years of age.
Like any form of social media, LinkedIn is a tool that can be of great benefit to high school students, provided that it is used wisely. Students can create a profile even with just the most basic details such as their name (first name only if preferred), education, and key skills. LinkedIn can then be used primarily by students as a research tool allowing them to research organisations and the roles within those organisations.
For example, a student interested in working in sports administration for an AFL club can find the Company Profile of that club, click on ‘Employees’ and then see all the profiles of every employee in the organisation who has a LinkedIn Account. Not only does LinkedIn enable students to get an idea of what roles might appeal to them but they can also see the different steps that an employee had to take to achieve their current standing. LinkedIn provides us with the opportunity to take a sneak peek at 12 million online resumes which can be very useful when researching different careers and pathways.
LinkedIn is a very powerful tool for business owners who are looking to grow their clients or customer base. Business owners can use LinkedIn as a free marketing platform using posts to update their clients or customers about exciting projects, employee achievements, or new products and services.
LinkedIn is also a platform where potential clients search for services so having a keyword-optimised profile can greatly increase a business’s customer base over time. For example, a parent who is a regular LinkedIn user may search for a ‘speech pathologist’ for their child on LinkedIn. The benefit is that they can quickly identify mutual connections, or in other words, people they know who can vouch for that specialist.
Most people know that LinkedIn is also a job board where employers advertise current vacancies. The job board is used actively by job seekers, but LinkedIn offers much more than this to the job seeker.
The likelihood of finding and then securing your dream job on a job board is surprisingly low compared to other job search methods. Responding to advertised jobs (a ‘passive’ job search strategy) in most cases means you are always going to be in a competitive process. If you are seeking part-time work or are relaunching your career after a career break, then the statistics of securing a role through a job board is relatively low. Unfortunately, it is a given fact that employers are less likely to shortlist a candidate with a significant career break when they can interview candidates currently working in a similar role. The only way the job seeker can get around this is to implement an ‘active’ job search strategy which means identifying target companies, identifying target people in those companies, and going direct. LinkedIn provides the perfect platform for job seekers to get in the driver’s seat and take a more active approach to their job search.
Not dissimilar to how students can use LinkedIn to research different careers, likewise LinkedIn is a ‘must have’ for career changers. Once again, career changers will always find it more difficult to secure jobs in a new field if they rely just on applying for advertised roles. LinkedIn provides the career changer with the opportunity to reach out to people directly in their new area of interest. Building connections in the new industry and organising ‘informational interviews’ to explore new opportunities and sell your transferable skills will be a much more successful approach in most cases.
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 and have a complete and keyword-optimised LinkedIn profile, then you may well receive a tap on the shoulder from a recruiter who has identified you as the perfect candidate for a role that they are trying to fill. this article from Hootsuite confirmed that six people get hired through LinkedIn every minute.
If you are looking to grow your career, then LinkedIn is considered to be best practise in most industries. In most cases, the first thing that a recruiter will do when you call them or send in your resume is to search for your name on LinkedIn. Therefore, a well-written, complete, current, and compelling profile is a must if you are serious about getting ahead with your career.
If you are reluctant to get on LinkedIn, then I encourage you to give it a go. Even 5 to 7 minutes on LinkedIn each day will keep you current and ensure that you have an established and ready-to-go network should you hit an unexpected career bump in the future.
Written by CGA Careers Expert – Leah Lambart
Did you check out last month’s career article? How to stay relevant during a career break.