You've heard of it, but how can you use it?
According to a a recent employer poll conducted by JobsInMD.com, nearly 70 percent of respondents use LinkedIn's free features, which include:
- Access to individual and company profiles
- The ability to join groups and discussions
- The ability to connect with people in one's professional network
While only four percent indicated that they pay for select LinkedIn services.
Why Use LinkedIn?
With explosive growth and an announcement that they're going public, LinkedIn reported 90 million registrations and 65 million monthly unique visitors at the end of 2010. Why not take advantage of that traffic?
Members can package and present their own personal brand, creating free detailed profiles with:
- Information about current and previous employers
- Areas of expertise and interest
- Recommendations from colleagues
Similar to a large resume database, recruiters can search for job candidates via LinkedIn's Advanced Search function by keywords, industry, geography and specialty. Recruiters can also determine how a potential candidate presents themselves publicly, while reading recommendations of their work.
More Than a Database
Did you ever want to create your own community? Here's your chance. Under "Groups," you can either join a group, such as a college and university alumni group, a professional organization or a special interest, to name a few. Or you can create your own community that others can join.
Groups allow you to foster conversations on a variety of topics. As a recruiter, you can see how candidates interact with their colleagues and how they handle themselves in a public forum. Job candidates, on the other hand, can contribute to industry discussions to showcase their expertise.
Use It Wisely
Like most tools available today, the way you use LinkedIn will determine your success. Be sure to:
- Have something of value to offer a potential contact before reaching out to them. LinkedIn is adamant about their policies when it comes to "spamming" members of the network. And users are savvy.
- Have as complete a profile as possible, so that you can be found.
- Be specific about interests.
Your free recruiting tools await you.