LinkedIn is basically like a social networking website - but for professionals. LinkedIn is no Facebook - boozy pictures and booty-call arranging have no place on this website! LinkedIn is used to connect to, or link up with, old colleagues and friends who are listed as your 'connections'. If you aren't already signed up to this website, here's why you should be -
- LinkedIn is like a more detailed résumé or CV. You can use your profile to display all of your experience, your past jobs and employment details, any achievements or awards you might have and all your skills. You can also talk about your interests and what you are like from a professional point of view.
- You can put as much stuff - and you can list as much experience - as you like on LinkedIn. This is perfect when applying for a job and it's always useful to direct a company to your LinkedIn profile. First of all it shows that you on the ball and eager to climb the ladder and second of all the detailed experience means the company can see ALL of your experience and not just the roles you managed to fit on a typical 2 page CV. I often find it hard to decide what experience to showcase on my CV (2 pages is usually the ideal length of a résumé) and find I have to leave out some experience because of this - even when some of this additional experience could help secure me the job. Thanks to LinkedIn, I can display all of it and when I apply for a job I can submit my CV AND direct a company to my profile.
- Many companies not only use LinkedIn to advertise jobs (especially exclusive high-end jobs) but they also browse profiles and can often find suitable candidates easily by using the website as it's so easy to find someone with the relevant skills and experience. Finally, you can apply to these jobs via LinkedIn easily by writing a cover letter and attaching your CV. Anything else they need to know will be on your profile for them to see.
- LinkedIn also offers groups like Facebook, but again, it is more professional. You can join different groups and networks for all different industries such as groups for bloggers or for internships. For some of these groups, your profile needs to be checked before you are accepted. This means that it's only professionals or people clearly interested in the subject at hand in the group - people that can benefit you.
- It is the perfect website for finding and reuniting with connections. What makes LinkedIn unique is that generally you have to know someone to connect to them, which stops unwanted random adds and means those connected to you are more beneficial. If you find you have people on your Facebook that you know run a business or are useful as a connection then it's ideal to invite them to LinkedIn and keep a record of all your contacts in one place. Contacts are important in all industries and especially in Journalism - it's not about what you know but who you know.
- If you feel you'd like to connect to someone who you don't know but you think you could be beneficial to one another then you can request an 'introduction' if you have a connection (friend) in common. This is very useful because if a friend is willing to do that then it immediately gives off the impression that it would be useful to know one another. The introduction consists of simply a brief message outlining that this person should connect to you. Although it's good experience meeting new people at meet and greets, getting to know people and possibly swapping business cards, this is another less daunting (and more modern) way to do so.
- The website also suggests groups, jobs and companies that you may be interested based on what is displayed on your profile - but neatly on the left side of the homepage. LinkedIn isn't a website that will spam you constantly and you can as always control what emails you do and don't receive.
- On the homepage you can also find a brief timeline about what your connections are up to - so easy to find out and congratulate a friend when they have a new job or when they add new connections that you might also benefit from!
If you're not on LinkedIn by now, there are 8 reasons to why you really ought to be!