This is day five of our 10 Days to a New Career special. So far, we covered topics such as setting goals, researching possible career pathways, building a solid foundation of jobs skills and cleaning up the CV. Today, we look at why creating a LinkedIn profile isn’t good enough — you actually need to use it.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a new job or you’re perfectly happy where you are, you need to have a profile on LinkedIn.
With more than 187 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, and professionals were still joining at a rate of two members per second as of September 2012. Boasting revenue growth higher than any other tech company in 2012, it’s clear that LinkedIn is an influential networking tool.
“LinkedIn used to be one of those things where it was a ‘nice to have’. These days it’s a ‘must have’ because it’s a recruiter’s hunting ground a lot of the time and also a credibility tool,” says Career Edge coach and brand consultant, Gillian Kelly.
But simply joining LinkedIn is not enough to get ahead in 2013. If you want to get serious about your career, you need to get serious about your LinkedIn profile.
In addition to simply uploading your profile on LinkedIn, career experts suggest joining LinkedIn groups and asking for testimonials from previous managers, colleagues or clients using LinkedIn’s Recommendation and Endorsement features.
“For the short-term, LinkedIn is an excellent source of market intelligence. Long term, everybody should be using it on an ongoing basis to increase their profile,” says the director of Career Consultancy, Catherine Cunningham.
“They should join discussion groups and they should semi-regularly contribute to those discussion groups so that over time they gain expert status [in their field]. But don’t overuse it.”
Cunningham also recommends upgrading to one of LinkedIn’s premium accounts, depending on your needs, such as Personal Plus, Business and Business Plus, or one of the premium accounts specifically tailored to Job Seekers.
A premium LinkedIn account will give you a full list of who’s viewed your profile, as well as how they found you. And if you opt for one of the Job Seeker accounts, you will be able to contact people outside your network using the InMail feature, get introduced to the companies you’re targeting, and choose to have a “job seeker badge” displayed on your profile and next to your name in search results (this is optional).
HOMEWORK: What you need to do today
- Get on LinkedIn. If you don’t already have one, get yourself a profile on LinkedIn. If you do, update it and make sure it’s aligned with your career goals.
- Get involved. Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry and start networking.
- Get support. Request a recommendation or an endorsement from some of your connections.
- Get upgraded. Consider upgrading to one of LinkedIn’s premium accounts.