Are you still asking yourself, “What’s the point of LinkedIn?” or “How do I use LinkedIn?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people assume the only use for LinkedIn is to look for a new job. But it is not true anymore.
That may have been the case when the site launched in 2003, offering essentially an online version of your resume, but no longer. These days, people are using LinkedIn for building relationships with like-minded professionals, staying up-to-date with industry trends and uncovering new leads who could become customers.
You own a personal brand
No matter whether you intend to create it or not but if you have a name and a social footprint, you own a personal brand.
The term “branding” used to be reserved for businesses, but with the advent of social sites and the gig economy, personal branding has become fundamental. A personal brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that makes you who you are. It is how you present yourself to the world. Effective personal branding will differentiate you from the competition and allow you to build trust with prospective clients and employers.
Today, LinkedIn is the most important social network for making that brand clear:
- If they don’t find you on LinkedIn, you may be virtually invisible to them.
- If you have a minimal, mediocre presence on LinkedIn, they’re going to wonder whether you know how to navigate the new world of work, which includes being social media savvy.
- If you have a strong and active presence on LinkedIn, and your personal brand is evident, you’ve probably upped your chances of being a candidate of interest.
Just like companies build their brands, it’s important for you to build your professional brand online. How do you stand out from others in your industry? What makes you marketable? Why should someone pay you six figures?
Personal websites are great for this, but they often come with extra costs — and hours and hours of building and finessing. LinkedIn is a simple way to put your name on the professional map. Upload a professional profile picture and write a powerful summary that emphasizes your strengths and showcases your personality. When recruiters, employers, co-workers, and managers peruse your profile, they should be able to gain a strong understanding of who you are and what skills you bring to the table.