Once upon a time, attending networking mixers, industry events, and Chamber of Commerce meetings was the best way to make new connections and build business relationships. Now, many of these activities have moved online within the LinkedIn community. Much like networking in person, professionals interact on LinkedIn with the explicit intention of making business connections.
With LinkedIn, you get all the benefits of networking in person, with less of the hassle. Instead of going from business lunch to business lunch hoping to meet people, LinkedIn provides a platform for you to specifically search for and research individuals who you know will directly add value to your job search.
Employers and recruiters use LinkedIn to locate both active job seekers and those who aren’t necessarily looking (passive candidates). They also use LinkedIn to vet job candidates before making an interview invitation or extending a job offer. LinkedIn also allows candidates to create an online portfolio of their accomplishments — by facilitating embedded video, links to content posted elsewhere on the Internet, and the ability to create highly shareable, long-form content in the form of LinkedIn’s “Publishing” feature.
LinkedIn allows you to identify, research, contact, follow-up, engage and maintain your contacts in one place. Its ability to facilitate business networking is unmatched by any other social network. Essentially, your LinkedIn profile is a résumé, business card, and elevator speech all rolled up into one.
However, your LinkedIn profile is not your résumé. LinkedIn is a personal branding page. You need both a résumé and a LinkedIn profile, and they should be in sync with one another, but not be exact copies. The information on your résumé should match your profile (in terms of positions you’ve held, your educational credentials, etc.), but the content you include on your LinkedIn profile will be different than what is included on your résumé.