What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social media site aimed at professional networking, now with over 300 million members in more than 200 countries. Users of LinkedIn have the ability to create a profile showcasing their professional experience and grow a network of connections to keep in touch, develop meaningful relationships, and collaborate for personal and organizational success. LinkedIn has become a valuable tool for the job seeker and hiring professional, as it provides a robust platform to search for targeted companies, positions, and star candidates.

How is it different than other social media?

LinkedIn is unique when compared to other social media such as Facebook and twitter in many ways. The site is aimed at fostering professional relationships through known business connections and relevant discussion, rather than casual acquaintances sharing more personal life experiences. LinkedIn can certainly add an element of personal connectedness within the business-oriented context through recommendations, “likes”, and “congratulations”, however such interaction is always conveyed with a sense of professionalism. In this way, LinkedIn can be viewed as “taking the workplace online” as interactions can be personal and meaningful while ultimately contributing to an individual’s professional image and success.

Some LinkedIn basics:

Profile: Your profile page is the starting point of your LinkedIn user experience. This page provides visitors with your personal and professional information, as well as a picture. The profile page displays key information such as your location, where you have worked, your education, and the groups you have joined. Creating a stellar LinkedIn profile is key to using LinkedIn to the fullest. Look for our blog post regarding this topic in the near future!

Connections: LinkedIn connections are all the people who you have relationships with on the site. Connections can be found through searching by name or email address, and sending a request to connect. This request will ask how you are associated with this person, so sending requests to unknown people is not recommended, except in the case of reaching out to recruiters or hiring professionals.

LinkedIn aims to keep connections limited to those people with whom you have worked with or are personal friends with, and they limit these connections with 1st,2nd, and 3rd degree designations. A 1st degree connection is someone who has approved your request to connect. 2nd degree is a connection of one of your 1st degree connections, and 3rd degree is a person with a connection to a 2nd degree user. 2nd and 3rd degree connections often require an approval to connect before their full profile information can be viewed.

Jobs: LinkedIn has become an incredible tool for job seekers and hiring professionals to become acquainted. Companies can post open positions, and professionals looking for a new job can search for relevant openings in their area. When an attractive job listing appears, the job seeker can review the position description, learn information about the company, and reach out to the hiring professional with an introductory message. The hiring manager will then review the applicant’s LinkedIn profile to determine if their professional experience is an ideal match for the job. Recruiters, hiring professionals, and job seekers are offered different premium upgrade packages with more robust searching and contact tools to expedite successful results.

Interests: Companies, Groups, Pulse, and Education are all listed under Interests on the LinkedIn homepage.

Companies create a dedicated page to display their information, and can post updates to all the users who follow them.

Groups are created and joined to bring people with similar backgrounds and interests together. Members of groups are allowed to connect with each other in a similar fashion as 2nd degree connections, so joining groups is a wonderful way to start discussions and grow a valuable network.

Pulse acts as a live feed updating users with news and information from the people, companies, and groups that they are connected with. This is a great area to find interesting articles and updates about the topics that appeal to you.

Education is a new feature allowing users to search for universities offering attractive degree programs related to their interests and future outlook. This is a great tool to compare schools based on their statistics, general information, and career paths of their alumni.

What’s the point?

LinkedIn is a robust social media site created for professionals to connect, share, and grow. By creating a LinkedIn account and profile, users open incredible potential to develop relationships, find new jobs, learn about their industry, and be easily located for future opportunities.

There is much to learn on LinkedIn, but only one way to get started. Sign up today, and stay tuned for future blogs on how to become a LinkedIn SuperUser!