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LinkedIn is a social networking site that specializes in building and maintaining business and professional contacts.
Once you join, you can connect with co-workers, reinforce business relationships, and look for job opportunities. The site also gives you the ability to grow your business connections, opening up new opportunities in the process.
Like other social networking sites, LinkedIn allows users to create a personal profile, connect with groups discussing topics of interest, post updates, and share links from websites of interest. Unlike other social networking sites, your LinkedIn profile more closely resembles a resume than a collection of your hobbies and interests. Your LinkedIn profile lists information such as current and past jobs (with descriptions of your duties and responsibilities), education and certifications, volunteer experience, job skills, publications, organization you are affiliated with, and other career-centric information that a prospective employer or business partner might be interested in. LinkedIn also allows other users to endorse your skills and write recommendations for you. In fact, your LinkedIn profile is so much like a resume, many employers post job openings on LinkedIn and many others allow you to apply for jobs by linking to your LinkedIn account and auto-filling their job application with information from your profile.
Joining, setting up your profile, and sharing on LinkedIn is all free; however, for businesses or job seekers looking to get more out of the social network, there are also paid plans available that provide deeper insight into your network. Premium features include the ability to see everyone who has viewed your profile, the ability to contact recruiters (for job seekers) or users you are not connected with (for businesses), enhanced profile-search capabilities, lead recommendations, job listings and candidate tracking, and much more. Packages and pricing varies depending on whether you are a job seeker, a business looking for new leads, or a company that wants to manage its hiring campaign directly through LinkedIn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is LinkedIn just another job board?
While LinkedIn provides a platform for companies to post job openings and for job seekers to search for their next position, it also offers quite a bit that you won’t get on your typical employment site. Of course, you can apply for the jobs listed on LinkedIn using your LinkedIn profile (much like you can apply for jobs on other employment sites using an uploaded resume or your site profile), but what sets LinkedIn apart is the ability to interact with company decision makers directly and to make relationship before you ever apply for a posted job. If you’re eyeing a particularly position, you can also search your connections to see if anyone you know has an existing relationship with that company or the hiring manager.
Your LinkedIn profile also offers prospective employers a wealth of information about you that wouldn’t be available via a more traditional employment site or paper application: Are you active in discussions about your field? Are you well connected? Have your co-workers or past bosses left glowing recommendations? When you post, do you do so in a professional manner and do you share relevant information?