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What is LinkedIn? How can you get the best out of it?

LinkedIn is often referred to as ‘Facebook for grownups’ but don’t let that put you off. It is a career-oriented networking site where people go to network professionally. Through LinkedIn [1] you can find a new job, research careers, make contacts and share ideas. If you haven’t used LinkedIn, here is a quick guide on what it is and some tips to help you get the best out of it.

What is LinkedIn?

As mentioned, LinkedIn is a professional social network launched in 2003. It is apparently the third most popular social network and was just bought by Microsoft. The intent is to integrate it into Office products and improve enterprise appeal the software.

LinkedIn is designed like other social networks, to encourage you to share yourself with the world. Instead of selfies and pictures of night’s out, you instead share professional ideas, achievements and aspirations. You can also use it to promote yourself, find a job, cultivate business contacts and a whole lot more. It is a very powerful platform that doesn’t get the headlines it deserves.

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Top tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn

Like any social networking platform, there are ways you can leverage a little more power out of it if you know how. Here’s how.

Create a personalized URL – LinkedIn URLs usually end in a series of numbers but you can customize it so the URL includes your name or company name. Modify your public profile URL in your profile settings.

Create a Profile Badge – If you blog, have your own website, guest post or otherwise provide content on the internet a Profile Badge can help build your authority. It links back to your LinkedIn profile which can really help your career. Add one in the Profile section [2] of LinkedIn.

Make Search Engine Optimization central to your profile – LinkedIn allows ‘follow links’ which means search engines can index your profile. Make sure to consider keywords when building your profile. If you’re looking for work, add pertinent keywords and when you’re in work and looking to raise your profile, change the keywords to suit.

Prove it or it didn’t happen – Make sure to add samples of your work if you’re at college looking for work, an internship or to develop your career. We have shifted to ‘believe it when we see it’ culture so make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects that. Learn more about it here [3].

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Check out job postings – If your profile and samples are prepared, it’s time to look for a job. Check out LinkedIn Jobs [4] for opportunities in your area and reach out. The app should automatically list vacancies in your area but you can configure every aspect of your job search if you like.

Collect endorsements – Endorsements build on samples in that people you have connected with have the opportunity to endorse, or recommend you. They get the opportunity to agree with any assertion you make on your profile. For example, if you say you’re a web developer, your connections or previous employers will have the option to agree with that, or not. While not a showstopper, in a tough employment market, every little helps.

LinkedIn is a very useful tool to help build your profile or find a job. If you’re planning to do either, LinkedIn is the place to be!