Written by Joel Troutman, Associate – The Institute on Business and Government Affairs
An online resume, a professional social networking site, a Facebook for businesses – these are all descriptions that could be used for Linkedin.com. LinkedIn is available in 20 languages and has users in over 200 countries and territories, making it the go-to site for both employers and employees. With 300 million users, LinkedIn has quickly become a must have for every professional.
Here are some of the top uses for LinkedIn:
- Online Resume – Using LinkedIn as an online resume is arguably the number one way it is used. The simple layout and user friendly design allows for users to quickly create a profile and include content that a regular paper resume does not show (i.e. YouTube videos, personal websites, etc.). People in your LinkedIn network can also endorse you for certain skills or write you a recommendation right on your profile page.
- Professional Network – LinkedIn can be extremely useful when used as a professional networking tool. Users can connect with co-workers, friends, classmates and other professionals in order to help establish credibility in the job market. The social aspect of this network lets users share materials that they think might be beneficial, including news, academic articles or job openings.
- Middle Man – Traditionally, employers have had to sort through piles of resumes to narrow down the list of potential job applicants. However, LinkedIn has been revolutionary for both employers and potential employees. LinkedIn gives employers a much larger pool to pick from and also enables them to quickly search through and narrow the candidates down by just a few clicks or keystrokes-expectantly leading to better candidates. For hopeful hires, LinkedIn means increased visibility to those searching for the right employee, potentially creating better matches than through other methods.
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, this article should convince you to create one right away. When you come to Washington, DC, you’ll notice that just about everyone has one and most folks are willing to connect with you (even as an intern). If you work hard and do a good job, your supervisor might be willing to endorse you or even recommend you on LinkedIn. As a place that’s practically built on connections and professional relationships, there’s no better place to start creating your network than in Washington, DC.