LinkedIn is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of June 2012, LinkedIn reports more than 175 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories. The site is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Romanian, Russian language, Turkish language, Japanese language, Czech, Polish, Korean, Indonesian, and Malay. Quant cast reports LinkedIn has 21.4 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 47.6 million globally. In June 2011, LinkedIn had 33.9 million unique visitors, up 63 percent from a year earlier and surpassing MySpace. LinkedIn filed for an initial public offering in January 2011 and traded its first shares on May 19, 2011, under the NYSE symbol “LNKD”.
One purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of relationship, called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. However, if the invitee selects “I don’t know” or “Spam”, this counts against the inviter. If the inviter gets too many of such responses, the account may be restricted or closed.
This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways:
- A contact network is built up consisting of their direct connections, the connections of each of their connections (termed second-degree connections) and also the connections of second-degree connections (termed third-degree connections). This can be used to gain an introduction to someone a person wishes to know through a mutual contact.
- Users can upload their resume or design their own profile in order to showcase work and community experiences.
- It can then be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one’s contact network.
- Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates.
- Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them.
- Users can post their own photos and view photos of others to aid in identification.
- Users can now follow different companies and can get notification about the new joining and offers available.
- Users can save (i.e. bookmark) jobs which they would like to apply for.
The “gated-access approach” (where contact with any professional requires either an existing relationship, or the intervention of a contact of theirs) is intended to build trust among the service’s users. LinkedIn participates in the EU’s International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles. The feature LinkedIn Answers, similar to Yahoo! Answers, allows users to ask questions for the community to answer. This feature is free, and the main difference from the latter is that questions are potentially more business-oriented, and the identity of the people asking and answering questions is known. Another LinkedIn feature is LinkedIn Polls. In December 2011, LinkedIn announced that they are rolling out polls to their one million groups. In mid-2008, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Direct Ads as a form of sponsored advertising. In October 2008, LinkedIn revealed plans to opening its social network of 30 million professionals globally as a potential sample for business-to-business research. It is testing a potential social-network revenue model-research that to some appears more promising than advertising.
How to use LinkedIn
It’s quick and easy to get started using LinkedIn. You’ll need to sign up for LinkedIn and create a Linkedin profile. Then you’ll be able to start using LinkedIn to connect, to network, and to job search and boost your career. Here’s how to use LinkedIn.
Linked Profile: One of the most important parts of LinkedIn is your profile. That’s what you use to connect with people in your network and your profile is how you get found on LinkedIn, because it contains information about your skills and experience. LinkedIn profile can increase your visibility online and help you build your professional brand that showcases your background to prospective employers.
Search LinkedIn: Take a few minutes to search LinkedIn and I’m sure you’ll find lots of contacts from your current and prior employers, clients, vendors, and schools. All those contacts have the potential to help you grow your career or find a new job. In addition, it can be a good source of employment references, as well as reference checking.
Job Search: You can search the Jobs section of LinkedIn by keyword, company name, job title and location or use the Advanced Search option to search by more specific criteria.
Connecting with Professionals: LinkedIn let you connect with many professionals. Its always good to grow your net work on LinkedIn which helps everyone to connect with people and industry professionals, joining the groups of your skills will help you to find professionals.
LinkedIn Company Profiles: LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to find, at glance, more information on a company you’re interested in. You’ll be able see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics.
LinkedIn Mobile: LinkedIn Mobile features include searching and viewing profiles, inviting new connections, access to LinkedIn answers, and actionable network updates. Use it to keep your job search moving forward when you’re on the road.