5 Reasons LinkedIn Is The Digital Business Card You Need

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Apr. 12 2017, Published 4:00 a.m. ET

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In college, I was advised to make a LinkedIn profile. Professors instructed me that I needed to establish an account before I entered the professional world. Blindly, I did as I was told, but I didn’t truly understand the value of LinkedIn until years later. This business-oriented social networking platform is a great way to step up your professional game.

In fact, here are five reasons brushing up your profile and getting active on LinkedIn could be your golden ticket:

1. Gain insight about companies and their employees

Has a company website ever left you wanting more? Maybe you want to learn more about what they do or the people that work there. LinkedIn is a great platform to gain that knowledge. You can educate yourself on the kinds of people who work for the company, their backgrounds, their job descriptions and duties, and what types of content they are interested in. It serves as a unique platform to connect and engage in content for all the companies, influencers, and people you want to connect with.

2. Create valuable connections

Remember all of those college classmates you lost touch with? Or those people you had great conversations with at networking events that you never talked to again? LinkedIn is a great way to re-establish those connections and engage in conversations. You never know when you may need to reach out to them to ask a question or gain insight.

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3. Establish your network (before you need it)

Keeping in touch with those individuals now will pay off down the road. How likely would you be to respond to someone that only reached out because they needed something? As much as we want to say we would help, most likely our own priorities would come before those of a stranger. But if you establish authentic connections now, your peers will be more likely to lend you a hand when you need it.

4. Get a leg up on your job search

As LinkedIn is an online professional network, it’s no surprise that it’s used to job search. The website is a great tool to search for potential jobs at your companies of interest. It’s even great to find jobs that you didn’t know you wanted. These days, LinkedIn is a primary source for hiring managers and recruiters to reach out to potential candidates. An opportunity could be present itself that you didn’t even know was an option. I know this from firsthand experience; through LinkedIn, I was recruited out of my last role to work for my current company. I was presented with an opportunity that I would have never considered on my own and it turned out to be a perfect next step in my career. LinkedIn has taught me to always be open to opportunities. Even if you’re not looking, it’s always worth a conversation.

5. Build your personal brand

LinkedIn is essentially your digital business card. It’s a way to display and market your skills online to establish meaningful connections and market yourself to potential employers and your network. Consider it your professional Instagram. Chances are if you have a LinkedIn and you Google your name, your profile will come up. Therefore, it’s best to make sure it contains valuable content. This is your opportunity to present your professional voice to the public. Make sure the content highlights your qualities and presents you as your best self!

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