Social media isn’t just for playing games and chatting with your friends. Several sites are geared specifically toward professional networking and career development. The most prominent one, without a doubt, is LinkedIn.

Established in mid-2009, professionals have been flocking to LinkedIn from every industry and profession imaginable. As such, the site currently boasts more than 500 million members – with more signing up each and every day. It’s a network that has cultivated a countless number of business partnerships and brand new opportunities.

What Information Should be Included in a LinkedIn Profile?

It’s important to view your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your resume. Whether you treat it as a portfolio to showcase your work, a way to show off your prior achievements or even as a simple list of your prior work experience, taking the time to maintain your profile and build your professional network can do wonders for your career.

  • Start by adding a professional profile picture. Users on social media tend to use cute icons, cartoon characters or even images of famous celebrities as their profile pictures, but this isn’t a common practice on professional sites like LinkedIn. Instead, use one of the best pictures you can find. Some even take the time to hire a professional photographer and have a headshot taken specifically for LinkedIn, but nearly any photo can work – as long as it shows you in a professional and presentable light.
  • Next, fill in the details of your work experience and academic history. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, this information can be used to match you with groups and other professionals who share your common interests and experiences. You never know when the next big opportunity might present itself, so include as much information as possible in these sections.
  • Begin building your professional network. To do so, use the integrated search bar to locate friends, other users, groups and companies. Even if you don’t personally know someone, it might not be a bad idea to link up – the internet makes it easy to share ideas and collaborate on projects from nearly anywhere in the world.
  • Search for a job. Since it’s geared strictly toward professionals, much of LinkedIn is dedicated to employment. To begin searching, simply click on the Jobs tab at the top of the screen. You’ll immediately be taken to the site’s integrated job search portal where you can look for new opportunities, save listings for later and filter results according to specific criteria.

Finally, stay active on LinkedIn by posting new content on a regular basis. Articles and images – whether they were created by you or someone else entirely – are a great way to spark up a conversation on social media and attract attention to your profile.

Making the Most of LinkedIn

The purpose of social media is to share your ideas, connect with others and increase your professional reach. By completing your profile, maintaining an active online presence and using every resource LinkedIn has to offer, you can make the most of the site and begin enhancing your career immediately!

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