LinkedIn is a social platform like Facebook, Twitter, and the likes, but unlike these other platforms, it is for professionals. It is a networking platform for professionals to connect, learn, and share knowledge. It is designed to allow people to create business connections, find jobs, and share their experiences.
Although it focuses on professionals, this platform works similarly to the popular social platform Facebook. It uses the same principles of connecting to friends, posting updates, liking and sharing content, and messaging each other.
LinkedIn also adds a professional spin to popular ideas from Facebook. For instance, your profile can be your resume, and you can add your recommendations, accomplishments, work experience, referrals from colleagues, etc. There are also several other things that you will find exclusively on LinkedIn, such as a full-featured career board, for users to search for jobs they fit into and apply for.
Many companies and employment services now use LinkedIn. When you apply for a position through LinkedIn, there’s a possibility that you can share your LinkedIn profile, and this may mean that you do not need to go through the pain of entering your work experience in an online form.
Main features of LinkedIn
These are the basic features of LinkedIn and how they are designed for professionals.
- Home: after logging in to LinkedIn, your news feed is the home feed that you see, and it shows posts from other users (professionals and companies) that you are following.
- Profile: this includes your details such as name, photo, location, occupation, and more. It is at the top of the screen. You can customize different sections such as education, work experience, summary, and other sections similar to the traditional CV or resume.
- My Network: this is where you find a list of professionals you’re connected with on this platform. If you go over this in your top menu, you will find several other options that help you find alumni, people you may know, and add contacts. There is a limit of 30,000 connections.
- Jobs: there are several job listings posted on LinkedIn LinkedIn will recommend some of these jobs to you depending on your job preferences, location, and current information, so your job listing is customized for you.
- Interests: apart from connecting with professionals, there are other interests that you may also follow on LinkedIn. Some of these may be groups based on interest or location, company pages, LinkedIn’s Lynda platform, or the SlideShare platform for educational purposes and slideshow publishing, respectively.
- Search bar: you can use this search feature to filter your results based on different customizable fields. Clicking on “Advanced” allows you to be more specific with your search for companies, jobs, professionals, etc.
- Messages: you can message other users and start a conversation by sending a private message on LinkedIn. The messaging feature also allows you to send attachments, photos, etc.
- Notifications: LinkedIn, like other social platforms, has the notification feature to inform you about an endorsement by someone, an invitation, or a post that might interest you.
- Pending invitations: you get an invitation you must approve when you are invited to connect with other professionals.
- InMail: this feature is only available for premium users and it allows them to send messages directly to LinkedIn without a prior connection, unlike the basic messaging that requires connecting.
How to use LinkedIn
You already have a good idea of what LinkedIn is about, but it doesn’t mean you know how to use it. Many users created an account and abandoned it later because they didn’t understand how the platform worked. Here are a few tips as a beginner:
- Reconnect with old colleagues: “My Network” section on LinkedIn helps you to find old teachers, friends, colleagues, and people you may be familiar with and you think should be part of your professional network. All you need to do is sync your contacts or connect your email with LinkedIn.
- Find jobs you can apply for: LinkedIn is the ideal platform to search for online job postings. You can get recommendations about jobs that may interest you from LinkedIn, but the search bar can also help you search for specific postings.
- Use your LinkedIn profile as a resume: it is possible to use your LinkedIn profile because it represents your complete resume. So, you can add a link to your profile in your cover letter or email when you are applying for jobs. Some job-hunting websites also allow you to connect to your profile on LinkedIn so you can import your information when applying for a job.
- Find new professionals to connect with: apart from your old colleagues and current co-workers that you can connect with on LinkedIn, it also allows you to find new professionals to connect with, both locally and internationally. And this may help your professional endeavours in many ways.
- Join relevant groups: one of the most effective ways to connect with new professionals is by joining groups that relate to your profession and interests and participating in the discussions. You may get more people to connect with you from the group if they like your contributions.
- Publish your blog: LinkedIn also has a publishing platform to publish their blog posts that thousands of people may read. Your published blog posts will be on your profile, which will boost your credibility in fields related to your profession.
- Promote your business: similar to Facebook, LinkedIn features business pages that are free to set up, and that LinkedIn users can follow. Publish posts or blogs on the platform, or even get subscribers to an email list to connect with people interested in your company.
- Advertising: advertising on LinkedIn is possible through LinkedIn’s advertising platform, Campaign Manager. Different types of ads you can run on LinkedIn are sponsored content, dynamic ads, text ads, and message ads.
These are all the basics that you need to know about the social media platform for professionals. However, knowing how to use this platform allows you to benefit more from its services.