LinkedIn is sometimes described as a ‘professional Facebook’
Each user creates a professional profile, and this is on display and searchable to others within LinkedIn, and more generally on the web.
It has a number of purposes including:
- Networking for business opportunities
- For recruiters to headhunt and find individuals they might want to interview for an open position
- For recruiters to check information that has been presented to them in the form of a CV or cover letter.
- For companies to create interest in their activities which is particularly helpful for B2B interactions.
The core feature of LinkedIn is its ability for users to create a detailed profile that highlights their professional background. The profile should be well written, and there are many ‘writers’ who charge to write an appealing and punchy LinkedIn profile. If you are not accustomed to writing in this way it can be worth the cost.
LinkedIn profile’s, like other social media, allow you to include a photograph of yourself. If you already have a picture that will serve the purpose then you can use it, but many people use professional headshots. The cost of getting headshots varies but expect to pay in the order of $200-$300 and most consider that it is worth the cost.
Additionally, LinkedIn allows other people to provide recommendations based on skills they know you to have. This is similar to someone providing a reference about your skills in a standard CV. Employers and recruiters will be interested in these elements, so it is helpful to encourage people to give you a recommendation if they have knowledge of your skills.
Once you have a great profile with a suitable image, you can and should reach out to others within the network. This may be other groups or you may find other people who are interested in similar career paths to yourself, just use the search function to find them and then ask to connect.