Have you been hearing about LinkedIn but never joined yet?
As we know from those not on LinkedIn, many reasons can be given for not joining this massive network of professionals.
Some don’t see the need to join since they’re not searching for a job. In fact, they are the employers so they don’t really need LinkedIn, do they?
Others are employed in very good companies. The salary is great, benefits comparable to nothing they could imagine and there are still the perks. Can they really ever leave for anywhere else, especially considering the opportunities of growth within the company?
Others are small business owners running a local grocery store or a day care. They already have an established customer base. What more could LinkedIn offer them? In any case, why should they use their time building a profile and networking when they could use that time on their businesses?
Whatever reasons you have for not joining LinkedIn, you might want to reconsider them.
We’ve written this article to help you set up an account with LinkedIn and start enjoying the benefits. Whether you’re still on the fence regarding this or you’ve made up your mind to stay away, we’ve listed for you some benefits of being on the network.
For all the business and career growth you may have envisioned, we hope you join. After looking at these reasons, we’ll guide you on the main instructions to follow when registering for an account.
Let’s get started.
BENEFITS OF BEING ON LINKEDIN
The list of benefits of being on LinkedIn can be very long and we can’t even attempt to list all of them. Apart from the common ones, everyone will also have personal stories of the biggest benefits they’ve enjoyed from the networking platform.
Therefore, what we’ve done is compile five benefits which are quite general and can speak to different people at the same time.
The first two benefits are mainly discussed from an entrepreneur’s point of view to show the gains a business can experience by using LinkedIn. At the same time, anyone in employment can also identify with the benefits since the same applies to them too.
The other three however, are written primarily for current and future job seekers. These are by far the biggest users of LinkedIn. This comes from the fact that there are more employees than employers since one company employs many people.
So, here are the benefits then we’ll afterwards go through signup and login instructions.
1. Valuable connections
LinkedIn is a social networking site. Though essentially similar to Facebook, it focuses on the profession side of things. On the site, it’s all about building connections with the sole intention of growing your occupation.
As a business owner, you obviously understand the value of connections. In case you’re just getting started in business, then it’s important that you understand this.
Whereas you may have the business idea and are well equipped to carry out all the required work, you can never work alone. And if you do, your chances of succeeding will be very low. First of all, you either have a product or a service, both of which need people to buy.
The more people you get as customers, the higher your revenues and the higher your profits. However, there are challenges involved here.
What happens when you’re not attracting enough customers? What if you’re getting enough customers but your costs are too high to realize a profit? What if business generally goes down due to some form of recession or other economic downturn? What if a new entrant came in and pushed you out of business?
We could ask more questions but the core issue here is the unpredictability involved in doing business. You just don’t know what could happen tomorrow.
This is where connections come in.
When everything is going down, your connections can easily give you a helping hand. It is from your connections that you can get better deals since the relationship can make the other party favor you over his other customers. Someone else can share with you some tips which help you get back to a flourishing business.
Although you can find such people in the real world, it’s easier and better to do so on LinkedIn.
Among the many reasons we could give, here are two.
- It’s convenient – think of the old days of writing a letter, going to the post office to buy stamps then dropping it into the appropriate “Send” box. Now consider the current days of sitting on your couch, taking your smartphone and using it to send an email, all within minutes. Which is better?
Along those lines, consider the traditional networking events where you would travel to some place and spend 2 hours knowing a few people then going back home hoping you met the right people. People who would make a difference to your business.
Now contrast that with going online (any time, any day), looking at someone’s profile and based on that, deciding to connect only with those who show real potential of making a positive difference to your business. Which one do you like more?
- It’s global – one of the biggest changes to the way business is done nowadays is the aspect of e-commerce. Yes, there is still room for the brick-and-mortar stores but there’s a bigger room for the online stores (Think Amazon).
In today’s interconnected world, you don’t need to focus on your local community for business growth. You can get a customer from a different continent. This opens up more opportunities such that, even if your local community is saturated with competition, you can still sell to a different community, even one far away, while avoiding the costs of setting up an office abroad.
If you need a business owner’s story to believe the power of LinkedIn for businesses, read this story.
2. Opportunity to showcase your expertise
Still on the matter of growing your business, LinkedIn provides you with a publishing platform where you can blog about your specific expertise. If you think nobody would want to hear from you, you’re wrong.
And you also don’t need to be an expert blogger to do this. As long as you can explain things well and have good grammar, you’re good to go. The challenge of formatting your blog article can easily be dealt with by learning online for free.
Blog posts are a common way of increasing your followers on LinkedIn. They are just the same thing as the blog posts you publish on your company’s blog but this is with a higher likelihood of being read and spread around the network.
As with the Search Engine Optimization you do for Google rankings, you can also learn about SEO on LinkedIn. The more people you speak to through your articles, the more likely you are to become an authority on the subject. This is what any entrepreneur would want.
When more people are consulting you on the best way to do something, the opportunities increase a hundredfold. You can even get someone to run your day-to-day business and focus on thought leadership.
Here’s a video to help you in using LinkedIn to grow your business.
3. Hiring managers look you up on LinkedIn
Not an entrepreneur? Don’t worry, LinkedIn got you covered. In fact, it can be argued that much of LinkedIn is used by employees. These are people who are either currently jobless or are currently employed but are looking for another job. It’s all about career growth.
Why would people look for jobs on LinkedIn?
Simple answer: because employers are on LinkedIn too. In fact, there are employers who use the service more than their employees do.
LinkedIn has put in a lot of effort to make sure employers are having an easy time looking for employees to fill vacancies. And whereas many employees don’t take advantage of the platform, employers are scrutinizing their profiles to find out their suitability.
In case you don’t know it yet, here it is: hiring managers look you up on LinkedIn and other social media sites before they call you for an interview. Reason? Your LinkedIn profile tells them more about your professional life than your resume can.
Your resume is a short document highlighting the best things you can offer. And to find out if it truly reflects who you are, a background check has to be done. And LinkedIn is the first site to be visited by the hiring manager. Second? Facebook. They also want to know whether you’ll fit their company culture.
LinkedIn advises you to make sure your profile is fully populated and looking good. You can read more about that in our article on how to make your LinkedIn profile great.
With the overwhelming use of LinkedIn in the recruitment process and having been shown to be the network of professionals, what do you think a hiring manager will conclude if she can’t find you there?
4. Use profile as resume
Another big benefit of being on LinkedIn is that you can download your profile in the form of a resume and use it to apply for jobs. This can be the best thing for you if you’ve been through the stress of writing a resume.
However, to avoid the stress, your LinkedIn profile must be update.
Hiring managers don’t like resumes which aren’t updated. But whereas in some cases it may not be clear whether it’s up to date or not, you risk being rejected for sending a resume which seems irrelevant to the job at hand.
The important thing here is that you can quickly generate a resume from LinkedIn. But the quality of the resume is determined by you. LinkedIn creates and provides the convenience, you take advantage of it.
5. Find and apply for jobs
And talking about resumes, what are they for if not getting you a job?
Since employers are on LinkedIn and they have job openings, you can bet that those vacancies will make their way into LinkedIn.
LinkedIn provides a huge supply of job candidates and so posting jobs there makes getting the right one easier.
For your information, there are more than 20 million companies on LinkedIn and 14 million open jobs. As much as you might be on a job board, which companies also utilize, increase your chances by being on LinkedIn.
And now that we’re talking about finding a job through LinkedIn, the best jobs are gotten through connections.
LINKEDIN SIGNUP AND LOGIN INSTRUCTIONS
You really need to reconsider that decision. Whether you’re in business or are an employee, LinkedIn will do you lots of good.
And since the first step to joining is creating an account, we thought it would be a good thing to give you a quick guide on the main instructions involved.
This is not to mean in any way that joining the networking site of professionals is difficult. It’s absolutely easy. It’s actually as easy as filling out a simple form to provide basic information about yourself and where you’re located.
The instructions we’re sharing with you here are to help you stay in good books with LinkedIn. It’s a brief discussion on what you should and shouldn’t do in order to be able to stay on the network and enjoy the opportunities.
1. You must use your true identity
If you’re going to have an account on LinkedIn, then it has to reflect your true identity. You can’t create an account using details which are not true in an attempt to hide your true identity. This is not allowed.
The reasoning is simple. LinkedIn is a networking platform and in networking, you have no room for fakes. This is a platform that’s meant to enable people conduct business together. And as such, no-one would want to do business with people they don’t know.
Wherever there is an opportunity to hide one’s true identity, criminal activity can be expected. And even if there are no criminal activities going on, there will be a lack of professionalism. You’ll have some platform members making disrespectful remarks and probably even insulting those they don’t agree with.
But as you’ll realize upon joining, LinkedIn doesn’t allow such behavior. You’re required and expected to be respectful of other people’s opinions and engage in discussions in a professional manner.
Using your true identity makes for a clean networking site where you can build connections with people who are out to grow and also help others grow.
On the same note, you cannot create an account for someone else. This is not allowed regardless of whether you have all their details and they even asked you to do it. It’s not allowed.
If someone wants to join LinkedIn, they should just create the account themselves. If they can’t, they probably shouldn’t be having one.
2. You must be 16 years or older
And just because you can create your own account, it doesn’t mean that you can do it at any age. There is an age limit to the people who can legally have an account. LinkedIn calls this the Minimum Age.
The minimum age allowed for an account to be created is 16. If you’re reading this and you’re below 16 years, it’s best to just wait till you get there. Otherwise, you’ll be doing something illegal.
Question: if you’re under 16 but would really like to have an account, can your parent or guardian create one for you? Put differently, can you create an account for your under 16 child and manage it for them?
The answer is No. Whether it’s your child, a neighbor’s child, a relative or anyone else, creating an account for someone else is not allowed.
3. Only one account is allowed per person
Can you have more than one account?
There are situations which could logically call for two accounts being held by one person. For example, in a case where you are employed but have just started a side business. Can you open another account to handle the business bit?
The answer is No.
If you are on LinkedIn, then you’ll only have one account. All the things you do and wish for them to be public, just publish them on the one account you have but don’t attempt to create another one. Doing so will mean that you’ve breached trust with LinkedIn and they can close your account.
4. Use a strong password and keep it confidential
Do you remember that your account holds your true identity?
The need for online accounts to have strong passwords can never be emphasized enough. This is one thing many people might need to be told over and over again—but you don’t have to be one of those people.
Online accounts have often been hacked into by people with different types of malicious intent. Some do it to get the personal information of others and sell it. Others do it in hopes that the same login details are used in other more sensitive platforms, meaning hacking one gives them access to more important ones. The reasons abound.
What is common among all those intentions is that they’re all criminal in nature. Unfortunately, the nature of computers and the internet is that no matter how much security is built into the system, security can never be 100% guaranteed.
In most cases however, strong systems are compromised through the human link. Humans are known to be the weakest link; often because they fail to use strong passwords and at times, because they easily fall for tricks.
Whereas LinkedIn requires you to use a strong password, the same advice applies to all your other accounts.
Tips for strong passwords and general online safety
- Use a minimum of 8 characters
- Combine letters, numbers and special characters e.g. %[,*/&. In short, make them hard to guess
- Use different passwords for different accounts
- Do not write your passwords on a paper/book which you carry with you
- Do not use your name, date of birth, name of sibling/child, school you went to, state you live in, car you drive etc, anything that can be easily guessed by anyone
- For convenience, use password managers like Dashlane, LastPass, 1Password and others. These require you to remember only one password, the master password, which gives you access to all the others. NB: Keep this password safely.
5. You’re responsible for what happens through your account (unless you’ve reported a compromise)
If it’s important to have a strong password and keep it confidential, then obviously you’re the one to be held accountable for anything happening through your account. The assumption here is that you’re the only one who can access the account.
As a networking platform for professionals, no-one expects wrong behavior from you (your account) to be explained away by saying that it wasn’t you. Your LinkedIn profile is an image of your professional self so be sure to maintain that.
If you logged in through a public computer for example, ensure that you log out once you’re done with whatever you were doing. Also, on a public computer—even a computer in a friend’s office qualifies as a public computer—it’s best to browse privately so that just closing the browser ensures no-one can connect to your account later.
If you notice that something is wrong and maybe there was a post made which wasn’t by you, inform LinkedIn immediately about the potential hacking of your account.
6. You should keep your contact information up to date
LinkedIn wants to be able to communicate with you when they need to. And for that, you’re required to keep your information up to date. Note however that this is not just for LinkedIn.
Your account gives others an opportunity to connect with you and if your contact details have changed, that becomes difficult. Imagine for instance a situation where you have a new email address but haven’t updated that on LinkedIn. How will you be notified of new connections and any other thing that’s of interest to you happening on the network?
This means that you can lose opportunities you would have benefited from simply because you cannot be reached.
At the same time, if this is the case with many people, then making connections will become a challenge and LinkedIn users will become frustrated. This may make the platform less usable and less effective in the goal it seeks to achieve.
It’s therefore in LinkedIn’s interest to require you to keep your contact information updated, even as the same benefits you too.
7. If logging in from the homepage, click the Sign in button at the top right corner; if you want to join, click the Join Now button
There are two phrases you should distinguish when it comes to accessing LinkedIn services. The first is Sign in and the other one is Join now.
“Join now” is used for the person seeking to create an account; a first time user. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet and decide to create one, this is the button you’ll be clicking. The link will take you through the steps of creating an account and onto your profile once you’re done.
“Sign in” on the other hand is the button for you if you already have an account and are seeking to access it. This applies when you’re accessing the services through LinkedIn’s homepage.
If you already have an account, the best link to use would be LinkedIn’s login page. Here, it’s pretty simple since the main functionality is that of logging in. After typing your email or phone number and password, just click the blue button labeled Sign in.
If you happen to forget your password, LinkedIn can help you reset it. On the same login page, you’ll just enter your email or phone number then click the link labeled Forgot password?
Joining LinkedIn has many benefits and it’s easy too. Just think of the benefits we shared above and make the decision. You’ll have your own story to tell, just like the business success story shared in the article.