In my work as a career coach I get asked time and time again whether it is really necessary to have a LinkedIn profile. The short answer is yes.
While I understand why everyone may not want to be on Facebook or Instagram, LinkedIn is a vital tool to help women stay connected and manage their professional network. There is never a more critical time to do this than when you are planning to go on parental leave or take an extended career break.
But why is it so important? And what do you need to know about it?
Let me share my top eight reasons for being on LinkedIn:
1. Job search
Recruiters and employers now use LinkedIn extensively to source candidates either via advertising positions on the LinkedIn Jobs page or actively searching for suitable candidates who match keywords. If you are in the market for a new position, then you really should be on LinkedIn to maximise your chances.
In addition, you can use LinkedIn to contact employers directly to seek out potential opportunities. Many employers are keen to build their talent pool with direct applicants as it reduces their advertising and recruitment costs.
2. To get discovered
LinkedIn has very much become a hunting ground for recruitment agencies and employers. Therefore, if you have a LinkedIn profile that is keyword-optimised for your ideal next role, then there is the chance that you may be actually tapped on the shoulder.
Over 90 per cent of recruiters now check to see if you have a LinkedIn profile as part of the recruitment screening process. If you have a strong profile that outlines your relevant experience, key skills and strengths whilst highlighting your strong network, then you will have a better chance of landing an interview
LinkedIn is a fabulous tool for networking, particularly for the introverts who avoid it like the plague. LinkedIn allows you to build your connections in a subtle way. Creating a LinkedIn profile allows you to re-connect with friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues, old bosses, clients and others working in your field. If you experience a sudden redundancy, job loss or are returning to work after a career break, it’s these relationships that will often be instrumental in helping you find your next role.
In my experience, it is far easier to send a LinkedIn request as an initial point of contact rather than putting in a cold call to someone who may or may not remember you. Establishing contact via LinkedIn allows the person to at least try and remember you before you make that first call.
4. For research purposes
It doesn’t matter if you are self-employed, a freelancer, a small business owner or working in corporate, LinkedIn is fabulous for researching potential clients to build your business.
LinkedIn Premium is an added feature that you can pay to use on a monthly basis and offers greater search capability. If you think LinkedIn Premium may be useful, you can try it for the first month at no cost, which I highly recommend.
5. To build your brand internally
You can also use LinkedIn to raise your profile within your current organisation. LinkedIn allows you to publish your own articles or share other articles to add value to your colleagues and clients. By writing or sharing useful information you may just start being noticed by the people that matter.
6. Keeping up-to-date with changes in your industry
LinkedIn is also a fabulous way to stay up to date with changes in your industry whether it is a new appointment, a company takeover or an update on a client or colleague changing jobs.
7. Opportunity to join industry interest groups
Another feature of LinkedIn is the ability to join groups with like-minded individuals who are in a similar occupation or share a particular interest. This can also be helpful to build networks outside your current organisation and is particularly important if you have been with the one employer for a considerable amount of time. You can join up to 50 groups or you can even start your own!
8. Wealth of content
There is a huge amount of content on LinkedIn that is written or shared by LinkedIn members. Obviously not all content will interest you, but you may find relevant articles that are useful on a personal or professional level. There is also the option to follow LinkedIn members who regularly publish articles that you are interested in reading.
With over 200 million members globally and more than three million in Australia alone, LinkedIn is now the world’s largest professional network. Can you really afford not to be on LinkedIn? If you don’t have a profile yet, I suggest you join up and give it a try.
Written by Leah Lambart, founder of Relaunch Me
Leah Lambart is an experienced career coach offering specialised return to work coaching programs through her business, Relaunch Me. These programs are tailored for the individual but may include career counselling, interview coaching, LinkedIn coaching and job search coaching.