Posted By: Eli Chavarria

LinkedIn is considered an incredibly important resource in the professional world, but is it actually? LinkedIn is a professional social networking platform that has been around longer than most other popular social media platforms. Now, it is more relevant than ever with not only those looking to change careers, but those who have been laid off and are #OpenToWork.

LinkedIn hosts more than 600 MILLION professional profiles. This is an easy, unlimited supply of networking connections and job opportunities at your fingertips! You can use LinkedIn to seek a new job to maintain your personal "brand" from your computer or on most devices. LinkedIn is an important part of being a professional in any industry these days. Here are some important reasons to create a LinkedIn profile (or dust off that old one).

1.You can tap into its powerful job board
Benefits of LinkedIn? You can find a number of them, but the best one in a professional opinion: You can search their job board. You can even apply to jobs through the network platform, how easy is that? The best way to search jobs is by keywords and location. If you're not actively seeking employment, you can still set up job alerts based on your interests and receive email updates and stay in the loop. If you are looking, LinkedIn allows you to be sneaky about it. You can turn on your "I'm interested" button, which will allow recruiters to see you're open to hearing about new opportunities, but LinkedIn will hide this from your current company, even if you are connected to your co-workers and managers.

2.You can build your brand
Like any company, it's important they build their brand. It's also important for you to build your "brand." When looking at your profile:

  • How do you stand out from others in the industry?
  • What makes you marketable?
  • Why should someone pay you six figures?
You can certainly do this on other web pages, but they often times have extra costs attached to them and/ or their design. These pages also take a significant amount of time building and creating. LinkedIn has created a simple way to put your professional brand out there. You can upload a professional picture and write a summary that emphasizes your strengths and showcases your personality. When recruiters, employers, coworkers, and managers view your profile, they should be able to gain a strong understanding of who you are and what skills you can bring to the table.

3.It can help rank your name on Google
Chances are, if you apply to a job, one of the first things an employer will do is Google your name or if you email a new client, they could search your name in Google. If you Google yourself right now, what pops up?

Google searching can be difficult, but LinkedIn is a well- known and powerful network- and Google's into it. Because of this, it's usually easier to get your LinkedIn page to show up first on Google versus your homemade website or online portfolio. Make sure your existing profile will stand out to the crowd and rank high on Google by editing it.

4.LinkedIn maintains your contacts
Remember your best friend's sister's boyfriend's cousin who knew someone in the same industry? Probably not. Instead of taking down their information in your address book you haven't looked at in a year or collecting business cards, add them to your LinkedIn network when you meet them! Keep ALL your connections, since one day, you might need to reconnect with them!

5.You can research companies and its employees
If you're applying for jobs you can access openings from job boards, there are plenty out there. LinkedIn offers these job boards and other perks. Many companies maintain their own LinkedIn pages where they'll update company information, share company news and insight, and showcase their current employees. If the company is good at their social media branding, especially professionally on LinkedIn, you should get a feel for their culture and its people. This can help you determine if it's a good fit for you before diving into the interview process or accepting a job.

6.It can be useful to tap into industry news
Like other social media networks you may be on, LinkedIn has an algorithm which creates a timeline when you log in. There, you'll find news updates from your connections, your groups, and your company. Here, you can keep tabs on the industry trends and reporting.

7.Network, network, NETWORK!!!
LinkedIn is such an important networking tool, it cannot be said enough. Even if you are an introvert or hate networking events, you can still foster meaningful LinkedIn connections. You can build relationships with mutual connections, people in your field, and even role models or individuals you admire

There are so many benefits to the LinkedIn platform. This is one of your most powerful professional tools to utilize. You can build and maintain a network, search for jobs, and continue to build a professional reputation/ brand. It also doesn't hurt that it's free! Take a look at your LinkedIn profile and think about how you're branding yourself.

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