Not only is having a LinkedIn profile necessary, it’s crucial in building your professional brand, building your network – and if you’re job searching – it’s essential for landing a job. LinkedIn is a social media powerhouse that provides countless benefits for job seekers.

I remember about 10 years ago when LinkedIn was just gaining momentum on the social media scene and my boss encouraged me to create a profile; even went as far as saying she predicted LinkedIn would eventually make the résumé obsolete. As a recruiter at the time, I thought she was crazy. How quickly did I realize just how right she was!

Fast forward 10 years and there’s not a person I meet in my professional world that I don’t scope out their LinkedIn profile the first chance I get. You get a glimpse into their background, education, people you both know, skill sets they possess, groups they belong to, and professional recommendations from others who have either worked with them or had dealings at some point. You learn more in just a few moments viewing someone’s profile than you ever will scanning their résumé. You should always have an updated and thorough profile so that others can do the same with you – especially when you’re job searching.

You can have the most beautifully constructed résumé ever written, but if your LinkedIn profile isn’t up-to-date, or reflect a positive image, you can forget about moving to the next stage. Recruiters and hiring managers rely heavily on LinkedIn to source candidates, post openings, and most importantly, to determine whether someone is a viable candidate or not. As a job seeker, this is good news. This is your chance to make sure a recruiter or hiring manager’s first impression of you is a good one. It is almost completely in your control what information they see. Just as your résumé is used as a marketing tool for what you can offer a potential employer, LinkedIn is your online marketing tool that provides an even more robust and powerful way to market who you are, what you can offer, and showcase all the reasons why they should hire you.

So if your LinkedIn profile doesn’t exist, bring it to life. If your LinkedIn profile isn’t complete, spend some time filling in the gaps. If your LinkedIn profile isn’t current, bring it up-to-date. And then take a step back and view your profile from the eyes of an employer and ask yourself if you would be interested in what you’re putting out there. Your profile, the content, and profile picture should all be professional and reflect you in a positive light.

Even if you’re not job searching, you should still keep your profile up-to-date. As I mentioned previously, LinkedIn is the first place I go when I meet someone new. It’s essential in building and maintaining your professional network, keeping current on industry trends, and many other valuable resources LinkedIn provides.

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