LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools for advancing your career, no matter what stage you’re in. We’ve covered numerous ways to make the most of the platform, but one question we haven’t dove into is as to why LinkedIn is such a vital tool for your job search.

While most know about LinkedIn’s status as the top social media tool for professionals, not everyone knows the full extent of what can be done using it. We’ll look at the most common uses for the platform to paint a better picture of why you should utilize LinkedIn to its fullest potential.

Networking

Likely the first thing people know about LinkedIn is its use as a networking tool. Every social media platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and LinkedIn’s niche is as a communication tool with a professional/career-focused presentation. Whether you’re looking for industry peers, a mentor, business partners, investors, B2B connections, or simply connecting with old coworkers or classmates, LinkedIn makes it easy to stay in touch with old connections and make new ones.

Top Resume’s Carson Kohler mentions using the site as a digital Rolodex, easily keeping track of all your various contacts better than a collection of business cards. But Forbes’ Thomas Griffin says to make the most of LinkedIn’s networking capabilities you need to decide what type of contacts you’d like to connect with. From there, you can use the site’s powerful keyword search to find the right people.

“LinkedIn provides a vast platform for networking with professionals across industries and geographic locations. Building and nurturing these connections can open doors to new career opportunities, partnerships, mentorships, and valuable insights.” –LCS

Job searching

Likely the other tool even the most casual LinkedIn user is familiar with is its job search capability. Not only can you meet valuable contacts that could help you find a job down the road, but you can easily directly apply to thousands of open positions.

LinkedIn has a pretty thorough job search tool, and many have an Easy Apply option (though that isn’t always the best way to apply), but it can help your job search in many other indirect ways. Enterprise World found that 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn in some capacity to find candidates—even if it’s just vetting their profile. Recruiters are able to search for sought-after skills and experiences using a robust keyword search. You can only be found this way if your profile is up to date—another reason to keep touching up your page.

Personal branding

Even with the large amount of job openings out there, the 2024 market is tough. Writing for LinkedIn, Aditi Gupta discussed how job seeker expectations may not be met, with only 41% of surveyed users finding LinkedIn’s assistance helpful in their search. In the face of this uncertainty, many users focus on the networking aspect and perhaps the website’s greatest value—being a hub for your personal branding.

LinkedIn offers a one-stop-shop for everything about you, the professional. By utilizing the About Me section, highlighting industry-relevant skills, and having the right keywords, you’ll be able to bring eyes to your presence. Your profile will be your marketing tool, and unlike having your own website, Carson Kohler says that your profile is free to have, easy to edit, and puts your name on the map.

While having a great profile is a great start, you can further build your brand by creating and posting your own content on the platform. Business strategist Salina Yeung found that 98% of content marketers are turning to LinkedIn for their marketing and lead generation thanks to the ease of use and massive user base. Whether building your personal brand or posting for your current company, LinkedIn is the ideal place to build a following.

Industry knowledge

There are many other job search sites out there, each with their strengths and weaknesses. But none have the same amount of data available as LinkedIn. Because the platform is so ubiquitous, most companies have a presence there filled with detailed information, open roles, and ways to easily connect with employees there. In addition, you can find industry statistics, trends, and content. LinkedIn even offers discussion groups to find further information. Even if the other tools don’t appeal to you, LinkedIn offers a deep font of knowledge for your searches.

Not only is this information useful for advancing your own career, but businesses use the site’s data to inform their own decisions. Via Product London, four out of five LinkedIn members use the platform’s market insight to affect their decision-making process.

“Users can follow industry leaders, companies, and professional groups to receive updates, participate in discussions, and maintain a competitive edge in their fields.” –Himat Dangodara

Wrap up

With its over one billion users, massive spread over 200 regions worldwide, and the multiple ways to use it to advance your career, LinkedIn has cornered the market as the top platform for professionals. Whether you like using it or not (and there are plenty of good reasons not to!) having a presence on LinkedIn is crucial for connecting with others in your chosen field. Consider these benefits and spend a little more time creating and updating your profile.

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