In an episode of the sitcom “The Middle,” the middle-aged dad found himself out of a job, which meant putting himself out in the market to look for another one. After painstakingly printing stacks of resumes, he got no bites. Meanwhile, his teenage son – who would text and e-mail companies casually – got more interviews and job offers. While this scenario is an exaggeration, there is a lot of truth to it, too. Nowadays, more and more companies value your social presence rather than the character references you list on your CV.
Because bosses are most likely to hire you based on how you look on paper and on the ’Net, it is now imperative to cultivate an online profile that will reflect your level of competency and professionalism, and this is where LinkedIn can help you.
Think of LinkedIn as a large, global conference or an endless job fair that’s open 24/7 to suit your specific needs. Within the network, you can find a way to further your career in more ways than one, whether you’re a startup business owner looking for potential investors, a company searching for new clients, or a freelancer in need of a project.
As an employee seeking growth and other opportunities, you’ll find that LinkedIn can be your best friend – a free headhunter who can find you a job tailored to your requirements and skills.
Just like familiar social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn enables you to create a network of companies closely related to your job, both within your immediate surroundings and farther. LinkedIn helps extend your reach to a global scale at minimal cost.
Setting up an account is easy. All you need is an e-mail address and you’re good to go. You can customize your personal page, very similar to setting up your Facebook page, but with a more professional bent. It does not matter how many friends you have here, but how rich your contacts will be for future opportunities. Silly status updates and casual photos have no place in LinkedIn – but your work-related achievements and company track record will influence heavily how desirable you will be as a contact and a potential hire.
The tougher part about LinkedIn is creating your content, striking that perfect balance between listing your accomplishments but remaining brief and succinct. Extreme padding of a resume will not render you trustworthy in the eyes of employers, but it will highlight your lack of skill and experience. As a company looking to hire or as a person looking to be hired, a way to verify your legitimacy is a must, whether in the form of an external website which you can link to your LinkedIn profile or testimonials from previous contacts. Just as you are least likely to add a stranger with a dodgy looking profile on Facebook, the same goes for LinkedIn. Would you really be inclined to entertain someone whose profile looks bogus?
LinkedIn is the quickest way to enhance your online visibility, something that is becoming more and more of a necessity than a pleasant add-on when it comes to business deals. For new small and medium enterprises that are looking to limit overhead costs but also want to be more accessible to customers, LinkedIn is the ideal network to tap. If you are looking for a more productive way to use your time on the ’Net, use it to enrich your LinkedIn profile. Your career will thank you for it.