Why a LinkedIn Profile Is Important for Most Professionals

If you’re a professional looking for a job in Alaska, you’ll want to make sure you have a LinkedIn profile and that it’s optimized for opportunity.

When it comes to business networking, there is no better online resource than LinkedIn. The world’s largest professional network boasts more than 347 million members worldwide, including executives from every Fortune 500 company.

Not surprising, a study from Jobvite, a provider of recruiting software, finds that LinkedIn is the network where people do most of their job-seeking activity.

Linking to opportunity

Here’s how people say they most frequently use the site in connection with a job search:

  • 40 percent – a contact referred me for a job
  • 32 percent – a contact shared a job opportunity
  • 32 percent – made a new professional connection
  • 32 percent – contact provided an employee’s perspective on a company

Take a look at those first two items again: “a contact referred me for a job” and “a contact shared a job opportunity.” Although some of these instances are in response to job seeker requests, others are unsolicited.

Hunting for you

LinkedIn has become a primary tool for recruiters. In fact, 94 percent of recruiters are active on LinkedIn.

What are recruiters doing there?

They are looking for qualified individuals to fill job openings. The process was once known as headhunting. Today, it’s called candidate sourcing — and LinkedIn is a primary source of candidates.

Your profile

Given that LinkedIn could lead to your next job opportunity, you’ll want to create a profile, if you don’t already have one, and keep it updated.

Include a professional photo, one that will make a favorable impression on a potential employer. People sometimes forget that LinkedIn is a professional network and make poor photo choices. Others decide not to include a photo, which, contrary to belief, doesn’t come across as mysterious; it looks like you have something to hide.

Speaking of hiding, choose your profile header carefully. Some people use their current job title; for example, Vice President of Marketing at XYZ company. Others opt to focus on areas of specialization; one marketing professional’s profile reads, PR – Communications – Marketing – Branding.

The choice is yours. But, whatever you choose, make sure you use a title or terms that are common to your industry. You want recruiters and others to know what you do. As important, when people search, you want them to find you.

LinkedIn is a vast network, and career possibilities grow with your network. Polish your profile, connect with others, and explore ways to interact in the LinkedIn community.

At LinkedIn, if you build it, the job opportunities will come.

Paula Santonocito, a business journalist specializing in employment issues, holds a Workforce Career Coach Facilitator (WCCF) certificate and has been awarded the Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) designation.

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