LinkedIn is one of the most popular and widely used online tools for networking and research. The Social Media platform looks and functions similarly to Facebook, but is designed to reflect your professional rather than social life. The first thing you will need to do after signing up for a Linkedin account is to fill out your profile with as much information as possible, upload a business appropriate photo, and set your privacy setting to “public” so that everyone can see it; the last step is important to insure maximum exposure of your profile. Keep in mind that your Linkedin profile is less like a resume and more of a portfolio, in which your resume can be included. To build your network, search for people to make connections with, or take a look at the list of suggestions that Linkedin will generate for you. Making connections allows for these contacts to endorse you for different skills, and likewise you can endorse others for their skills.
Joining groups on Linkedin can be a great way to connect with other people who have similar interests and/or work in similar fields. A group can be about almost anything, from graphic design to long range trucking, but keep in mind that “groups” and “companies” are different on Linkedin. Following a particular company or organization, such as the YWCA, will keep you up-to-date on job opportunities, events, and other important information. One of the most productive ways to use Linkedin is for company research on prospective employers, since many organizations include details on their Linkedin profiles that are absent from their websites; for this reason it can be very convenient to consult when writing cover letters and tweaking your resume for a specific application.