If you've been exploring different social networking sites, you may be asking, "What is LinkedIn?" LinkedIn offers a different twist on the basic premise of social media, focusing on business and professional networking.
LinkedIn went live in May 2003, and has grown quickly since then. With millions of users and a variety of tools, the network has become the go-to social site for professionals and anyone interested in expanding their business connections. If the thought of going out and meeting people in person fills you with dread, LinkedIn makes it simple to network from virtually anywhere.
Members can post a profile and then begin connecting with others. Networks build when friends introduce you to others who are in the same field, or those who they think would benefit from the services you offer.
Some of the ways people use LinkedIn include:
- Brand or name promotion
- To connect with potential clients
- To boost online visibility through referrals and links
- Job searching
- Hiring employees, contractors, and freelancers
- To make media contacts
What Is LinkedIn's Procedure to Get Started?
Signing up for LinkedIn is a relatively simple process. From the homepage, you can fill out the first part of the form with your name, e-mail address, and desired password. After submitting this page, you'll be asked for a bit more information such as:
- Employment status
- Country of residence
- Zip or postal code
- Job title
Once you've filled out the basic profile, an e-mail is sent to the account you used to register. Click on the link in that e-mail to activate your account.
Personalizing Your Profile
When your account is active, you can sign in and start adding details to your profile. Think of your profile as a resume that will tell others what qualifications, job experience, and education you have in your chosen field.
In addition to education and experience, you can add a number of other features to your profile, including:
- A photo of yourself or company logo
- Links to company sites, personal sites, or blogs
- An uploaded resume
- Additional contact information, such as address and phone number
- Honors or awards you have received
- Links to other social networking sites such as Twitter
You can choose who you want to allow to see all of this information, so if you only want your own connections to have access to your contact details, for example, you can keep them private from others.
Instead of making friends and followers, on LinkedIn your contacts are called "connections." Once you have your profile set up, you can begin looking for connections. There are a number of ways to accomplish this task.
- Use the Contacts tab at the top of the page to add connections by e-mail, find colleagues associated with the companies you listed on your profile, find classmates, or get recommendations for people you may know.
- Use the search bar at the top of each page to search for people by name.
- Look through others' lists of connections to see if you have mutual friends or colleagues to add.
When you've made a few connections, you can then ask these people to introduce you to any of their own connections whom they think might benefit from getting in touch with you.
Other LinkedIn Features
As the site continues to grow, new features are constantly being added. Some other ways to use the site are:
- Groups - Browse and join groups that interest you or relate to your profession.
- Jobs - Search for employment or post a hiring notice.
- Answers - Ask questions or answer those that have been posted.
- Companies - Research companies who are registered with LinkedIn.
A Leading Resource for Business Networking
The simple answer for anyone asking, "What is LinkedIn?" is that LinkedIn is the leading social networking outlet for businesses and professionals. With millions of members in over 200 countries, the potential to expand your network is almost unlimited. Whether you're looking for a job, trying to promote yourself or your business, or just want to meet new people, LinkedIn is the perfect tool to accomplish these goals.