Linkedin is the world’s largest professional online network available today! It has become what many job recruiters and job hunters are using to find employees and career openings, respectively. The concept is similar to that of other online social networks in which you create an online profile or user account. The only difference is that your online profile essentially becomes your online resume, which employers can use for recruiting purposes. Employers also have their own pages, which job hunters can use to help identify potential positions in which they may be interested. The Internet and online social networking has brought innovative ways to the whole process of finding a job in today’s society.
First, log onto www.linkedin.com – you can make an account by typing in your name, email address, and creating a password. Next, a confirmation email is sent to the email address you entered, which you need to access in order to activate your account online.
Congrats, you have officially created an online professional profile! So what next?
Linkedin provides you with a “To Do” list in order to help set up your profile page with information most employers will want to see. For example, what industry you are in, your current job position, previous places you have worked, college degree(s), skill sets you may have, etc. You may also upload a picture of yourself if you would like that to appear on your public page. You can always go to any of these categories (Summary, Experience, Education, Personal Info, Skills) at any time if you wish to update or remove any information you have posted.
On top of the page, there is a toolbar that reads: Home, Profile, Contacts, Groups, Jobs, etc. If you click on home, it will bring you to the homepage, which will prompt you to add your email address to search for colleagues or people you may know on Linkedin to add as a “connection.” You can type in and share any updates that you wish to appear under your username (similar to Twitter or Facebook), and the page will feature news that relate to your industry or area of interest.
If you click on Profile, you can either edit or view your page, manage or make any recommendations, or organize your profile. However, the profile organizer requires an upgrade of Linkedin – so we will not discuss that here. In terms of recommendations, you can ask colleagues, past or current employers, or even clients to endorse your current/past work so it will appear on your profile. You can also make recommendations for another user on Linkedin if you wish to promote his/her work. Recommendations can really help make a difference when employers are deciding if they want to recruit you.
Under Contacts, you can Add Connections. ”Connections” will be your online user friends, or colleagues in this context. You can add classmates, employees, employers, faculty advisors–you name it! You can always add or remove connections, and you can search for connections using email addresses. Groups are a newer feature on Linkedin. Becoming a member of professional groups can help advance business goals and initiatives. For example, your current job position may have a Linkedin group that you can become a member of to help stay active in your current position and bring in more trusted connections and expand your network.
Under Jobs, there are a few options for you – to search for a job, a special category for students and recent graduates, posting a job (for employers), managing jobs, finding talent, and hiring solutions. The first option simply allows you to search for any type of job you are interested in using a general search bar. The “Job Seeker Premium” option requires an upgrade (fee involved for subscription plan). Talent Finder is meant to enhance your search for a job position based on your talents or skill sets, but this also involves an upgrade of your user account. Finally, recruiting solutions are meant for employers or job recruiters.
Next, there is your Inbox. Your inbox will display any messages you may have received or invitations for connections on Linkedin. A number displaying the amount of unread messages or invitations will be listed in a red box next to the Inbox tab. From here, you may also compose a message to send to any of your online connections. The next tab is Companies. You can search for a company from here or “follow” a company (similar to Twitter). If you choose to follow a certain company, you will receive updates and notifications from them on your main homepage. If there is a company you currently work for or are interesting in working for, following their updates can be a great way to advance your position.
Finally, the News tab will take you to a page that displays news articles tailored to your particular needs and interests. Any articles you have flagged or are following can be saved and accessed from here, and Signals will post updates or headlines of potentially open job positions. This is simply a start of what Linkedin can do or what it can mean for you. Open a profile today and get started on making those professional connections!