LinkedIn has been around since 2003, but in the last few years it has surged onto the job search scene the social networking platform of choice. If you’ve spent any time looking for a job recently, you’ll have heard about LinkedIn – some 75% of job seekers used it in a search in the last year.
Some other fun facts:
- There are a lot of people on LinkedIn: around 610 million people worldwide, and 146 million in the US.
- There are a lot of business on LinkedIn: over 20,000 companies use LinkedIn to recruit, either by posting positions or sourcing candidates.
- There are a lot of jobs on LinkedIn: 15 million jobs listings are active, and there is a very simple search function to help you target the jobs you want.
Out of all the job sites out there, LinkedIn is one of our favorites for several reasons. First, it has a robust job board, where you can search by keywords, location, company, etc. Even if you’re not actively looking, you can set job alerts to receive updates based on your interest. It’s also the happy-enough-but-open candidate’s best friend, because it offers a feature that allows recruiters to see that you’re open to new opportunities, while hiding that invitation from your current company. If a recruiter is working on filling your dream role, and sees you’re open and qualified for an opportunity, you’ll have a much better chance of being contacted. And you don’t have to do anything!
Second, LinkedIn is also a great place to build your professional brand. It’s often one of the first search results that pops up when potential hiring managers look you up, and 95% of recruiters have vetted a candidate by looking at their profile. A complete profile can really boost your professional presence – having a profile picture will garner you 17x more views, and having a comprehensive profile will make you 71% more likely to get an interview.
Third, LinkedIn is also a great way to build your network. If you’ve ever been frustrated by well-meaning job search advice telling you to “reach out to your network,” LinkedIn is an easy, searchable, warm place to identify, engage, and keep up with your contacts. Besides being an online Rolodex of your contacts – with updates about what they’re up to – LinkedIn also allows you to search for contacts at companies you want to work at or to find people with roles you’re interested in so you can reach out for an informational interview. Although you’re able to connect with up to 30,000 people on LinkedIn, we recommend limiting your connections to people you know, or people you want to know in a professional capacity and are willing to spend some time developing a relationship with. You should send every connection invitation a note about why you want to connect.
Fourth, one of the reasons business is booming on LinkedIn is because it’s become a content marketing platform. Although only about one percent of LinkedIn’s members interact regularly by posting, there is a ton of information and expert opinions on the site. LinkedIn is a great place to keep up-to-date on industry moves, follow thought leaders, engage with people you admire, and learn about opportunities. It’s even a great way to become a thought leader and stay top of mind for your contacts – and it doesn’t take much effort.
Lastly, even if you’re not actively engaging on LinkedIn and you’re looking for a job, it’s important to have a complete and robust profile. It doesn’t take long – only about 30 minutes. You absolutely do not need a paid account to maximize your LinkedIn experience – you just need to spend a little time describing what you do and making sure you’re connected to people.