Q: I don’t do a lot of online networking in my particular career field, but yet people tell me I should be on LinkedIn as part of my job search. Does it really make a difference having a LinkedIn profile, or is it mostly for recruiters?
With more than 200 million users, LinkedIn remains the premier online professional networking resource, and somewhat of a standard when it comes to establishing your digital presence as a professional.
There are close to 3 million company pages on LinkedIn, and thousands more that advertise job openings.
If you’re not familiar with the company pages functionality, much like individuals, companies can create their own branded pages on LinkedIn and attract followers, much the same way as on Facebook. The advantage to you as the job seeker is, that by following organizations in which you have an interest, you have access to who works there, who was recently hired (or left), and any immediate job openings that they advertise.
There are over 1.5 million LinkedIn groups in existence.
From mid-life career changers, to pharmaceutical marketers, to graphic design professionals in Duluth, Minnesota, one of the greatest features LinkedIn boasts is it’s highly targeted niche groups, designed to connect professionals within various fields and specializations. While some require membership approval by their moderators, many groups are open to the public, and it’s an incredibly valuable resource to tap into, as some of the larger groups offer instant access to and opportunities to share content and ideas with thousands of your peers. It’s an easy way to increase your visibility and forge connections with potential influencers who can help you tap into job opportunities. And 81% of LinkedIn users belong to at least 1 group.
LinkedIn helps potential employers find you easier.
If you have a LinkedIn profile and you’ve filled it out completely with keyword optimized information, often times your profile page will be the first result when someone Googles your name. So you’re also providing a landing page for potential hiring managers to find you, even if they’re not directly tapped into or searching on LinkedIn’s network.
LinkedIn is designed to be streamlined.
One of the best things about LinkedIn is the way they streamline a lot of their functionalities that can add significant value to your presence. These include asking for recommendations, requesting introductions to a common connection or connecting with someone who shares the same group as you. It takes a lot of the awkward feeling out of networking by providing you with a wealth of user-friendly, streamlined tools to introduce yourself and leverage those connections.
So even if you’re not actively in the job market, or LinkedIn isn’t highly regarded as a necessary tool within your industry, establishing a profile and building a presence will not only increase your visibility to direct and indirect users, but it will also help you strengthen the credibility of your personal brand and tap into opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. The short answer is: Yes.