Making fun of LinkedIn is pretty common. People will poke fun at it for being pointless, for flooding their inbox with emails about groups they don’t care about, or for bombarding them with invites from networking obsessives they don’t know. But there are a lot of benefits for LinkedIn users that these naysayers may not always be taking into account, and many of these are worth considering before jumping ship entirely or continuing to ridicule the service.
1) Job hunting
LinkedIn is actually an extremely powerful and efficient job-hunting tool. Not only does it give you the ability to search through companies, analyse their image and even their employees, but it also allows you to apply for the job using your LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile is like a CV plus many extra skills, all the links you’ll need to showcase your work, all your social media profiles, and of course, a list of written recommendations from sources that are but a click away. There’s a reason some companies use “apply via LinkedIn” buttons on their job listing.
Whether networking is something you enjoy, a tool you see as a necessary part of being a professional in 2013 or a nuisance you just can’t stand, it’s hard to argue against LinkedIn’s potential for connecting you to others in your field. It’s not the only tool you should rely on, of course, but it’s an extremely rapid way of cementing a contact you’ve made recently, recommending a freelancer and securing their loyalty for years, or keeping tabs on who’s been checking your profile so you know if you’re potentially being scoped out by your next employer.
How many top-level programmers went to university? What sort of language do people use in written recommendations? What’s the average amount of time someone stays in a job in a certain field? There’s a fascinating amount of information on LinkedIn for you to soak up and make use of, and it’s comforting to know that some people have no degree, but two or three really important jobs in place of those years spent studying, and still have the job that those with further education are struggling to get!
Under-populated, unimpressive-looking profile? Perhaps it’s worth doing something about that. Go for recommendations, do more varied work, get a new job – there’s a lot of motivation to ensure that you are actually a saleable human being if you’re looking for work. It’s also a good way of representing yourself professionally not only to employers, but investors, fans, friends. LinkedIn is a little like Facebook, in that whether you like it or hate it, people will look for your profile on it if they have any interest in you.
These four examples alone are personal examples of why LinkedIn can be useful, and what it can do for your personal and professional development. I’m sure you’ll find your own, if you’re willing to give the platform the chance it deserves and take it seriously enough to allow it to work its magic. Go forth, and update!
About The Author: Jimmy Wentz is a budding freelance tech writer, gadget and gaming enthusiast, and social media junkie. He writes regularly about O2 and the latest news in the tech, gaming, and the social media world.
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