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If you’re a professional and you’ve never heard of LinkedIn, you’re missing out—but that can easily be corrected. LinkedIn is like Facebook for professionals. The social networking site allows users to build a profile that focuses on their work history, skill sets and interests. It also serves as a great way for like-minded professionals to find one another and connect. By joining LinkedIn, not only will you and your professional accomplishments be visible, but you can also help ensure your online reputation is a good one.
By joining LinkedIn, you can promote yourself and events of interest to you. Under your profile, you can list your complete work history, skills and interests. You can also promote events you’re involved in, such as trade shows, conferences or training sessions. How much or how little you disclose is up to you; however, the information you provide should be tailored to the audience you want to attract. For example, if you are seeking employment, this information should demonstrate how you would add value to a particular employer. If you are seeking clients, it should reveal how your product or service can improve or benefit their lives.
4 Share and Build Expertise
Joining LinkedIn is an excellent way to share and build your expertise. LinkedIn is home to thousands of groups, each with their own discussion and news boards; some even post job listings. There are also answer boards where users can post and answer questions. By participating in these public forums and contributing valuable content, such as posting articles, engaging in conversations and providing feedback on questions or specific topics, you position yourself as an expert in your respective field. By doing this, you not only help foster community among like-minded individuals, you also help build your credibility and relationships that may pay off in the future.
In addition to establishing a professional presence online, joining LinkedIn also allows you to connect or reconnect, with coworkers, employers, associates, potential and existing business contacts, and clients. In some ways, LinkedIn is like a virtual address book that self-updates. You are able to connect with other professionals with little fuss or effort, which makes staying connected even easier. If you’re in the job market, you can also use LinkedIn to find out which employers are hiring in your field, possibly getting an inside scoop from an existing connection or by viewing the profiles of company personnel. If you are the employer, you can use LinkedIn to research potential employees and learn more about them.
2 Public Image
Another important reason to join LinkedIn is so that you can control information people see about you online or, in some cases, what is seen first. LinkedIn profiles rise high in online search results. This means someone searching for you or about you online, like a potential employer or business contact, will likely see your LinkedIn profile as one of the first few selections available and click on it first. By joining LinkedIn and adding relevant information to your profile, you ensure potential viewers see only positive and professional content about you. In other words, you are the one who is framing your image, not someone else. Therefore, you can include, or exclude, information based on your overall objectives and goals.
The primary reason to join LinkedIn is to become visible. If you don’t immediately understand why this is important as a professional, try this exercise: Google yourself. Did anything pop up in the search results? If not, you’re invisible to the greater professional and business community—and it might be time to establish your online presence, so that you and your professional achievements can be seen and found.