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5 Reasons Why LinkedIn Still Matters

LinkedIn is a little different than other social networks, which offer news, community, and sometimes cute cat photos, but lack the laser focus on professionals and the recruiters and companies that hire them. Still, for overscheduled social media users, the question remains: "If I'm on X,Y, and Z social networks already, do I need to go to the time and trouble of creating (and perfecting) a LinkedIn profile, as well?" Here's why the answer is yes.

LinkedIn is a little different than other social networks, which offer news, community, and sometimes cute cat photos, but lack the laser focus on professionals and the recruiters and companies that hire them. Still, for overscheduled social media users, the question remains: “If I’m on X,Y, and Z social networks already, do I need to go to the time and trouble of creating (and perfecting) a LinkedIn profile, as well?” Here’s why the answer is yes.

Professional Network - LinkedIn

(Photo Credit: Ben Sholzen/Flickr)

1. Global Reach: LinkedIn has racked up over 313 million users from 200 different countries since its inception in May of 2003. This means there are literally millions of potential employers and professionals to connect with. The added bonus is that you don’t have to make small talk in a stuffy room with complete strangers to build your network.

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2. Access: According to LinkedIn, “[I]ts corporate talent solutions are used by 94 of the Fortune 100 companies,” and “[m]ore than 3 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages.” In other words, that new talent that these companies are looking for could be you, if you have your ducks in a row.

Having a LinkedIn profile doesn’t guarantee that employers are going to come knocking on your InMail door. First things first: get your profile in tip-top shape by using the following tips outlined in this post. Secondly, remember that there are 313 million users on LinkedIn, so you’ll want to ensure that you keyword-optimize your profile to help hiring managers find you. Finally, use these seven tips to ensure that you are mastering and maximizing your job hunt efforts.

3. Connectivity: A good way to get noticed on LinkedIn is to beef up your skills and endorsement sections on your profile. Research shows that listing skills and endorsements can actually help a profile rank higher in search results, which means more visibility by recruiters and employers. There’s an estimated 1 billion endorsements on LinkedIn, so not having referrals listed on your profile can actually hurt your chances of ever being found, let alone selected for consideration.

Don’t be shy, but don’t be too pushy. The last thing you want is to guilt-trip or force someone into endorsing you. Another easy way to get recognized and expand your connections is through your existing network. The best way to get your foot in the door with an employer is to have an internal referral, because, as this New York Times article suggests, “referred hires perform better, stay longer and are quicker to integrate” into existing teams than candidates that were hired without an internal referral. The lesson here is that the business world is a very small and connected world, especially with LinkedIn’s help, so don’t burn bridges you may need to cross later on in life. 

4. Networking: LinkedIn’s Get Introduced feature allows users to connect with key professionals (i.e. hiring managers or potential employers) by requesting an introduction from one of their first-degree connections. It’s important to note that whomever is being asked to facilitate the connection/referral needs to agree to the transaction beforehand, so keep that in mind. If all else fails, send a personalized InMail message to the person of interest and outline your credentials and objectives, much like you would in a cover letter.

5. Success Rate: Last, but definitely not least, it’s estimated that 89 percent of recruiters have hired candidates through LinkedIn, and roughly 10.2 million applicants have landed jobs through the online professional network, according to Social Meep’s infographic. Think of your profile not as a resume, but an online representation (and snapshot) of your entire collegiate and professional careers.

Invest the time to really make your profile shine, because you’re going to want to be that diamond in the rough that recruiters have been searching high and low for.

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Leah Arnold-Smeets
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