Need to do some networking? LinkedIn still has game

Social media platform is the place to find a job, meet others in your industry.

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

LinkedIn, the social media platform with the button-down business reputation, may have a different, less trendy presence than TikTok, Facebook or X (formerly known as Twitter). Yet, LinkedIn’s lack of flashy style, absence of viral videos, its non-dramatic interactions and practicality make it a valuable tool for professional networking.

Most LinkedIn users visit the social media platform to find a new job — more than 40 million people search for jobs on LinkedIn at least once a week.

“We’re all job searching,” according to Jennifer Papadakis, a Dayton-based communications lead for the U.S. Department of Energy and social media business strategist. “The average Gen Z or Millennial will have 10 careers in their lifetime–not jobs, careers.”

Even though LinkedIn remains a hub for finding a new career or job, Papadakis insists the social media platform continues to evolve to help people stay connected in an ever-changing social and business climate following the COVID-19 pandemic. As travel and in-person meetings diminished, so did our capacity to connect with others and take advantage of learning opportunities, such as classes and conferences. Papadakis argues this is one of LinkedIn’s strengths as it grows to meet its users’ needs.

How? Keeping the platform’s content focused on adding value to the user through support, connection and education.

Papadakis recommends these four LinkedIn features for anyone looking to expand their business networks and know-how, whether looking for a new career or staying in their current job. And all of these are free.

Network with groups and follow trends

LinkedIn has countless groups dedicated to any business or interest. These groups are ideal for building a network of trusted colleagues and staying informed about the latest trends, conferences, and key players in your field.

If you know a specific LinkedIn group name, simply enter it in the search bar to find it and join. Or, if you’re looking for a group or topic, use a hashtag search (such as #jobs, # business, #finance or #sales)

Sign up for free courses

Do you wish you had the time or money to complete a course in Adobe, Microsoft Office, insurance, organizational skills, writing, IT, networking, or another subject?

LinkedIn has a catalog of free courses for users to complete at their own pace. You can choose your skill level from beginner to advanced, and each course’s average completion time is visible before you even start.

Many of these courses offer a certification upon completion that gets added to your LinkedIn profile to show others your expertise in the area.

Save money on a website and digital marketing

Papadakis says your LinkedIn profile is most likely the first or second link people will see in a search engine when they look for your information. Creating a robust and strategic LinkedIn profile allows you to stand out in the virtual world without creating your own website, which takes time and money.

LinkedIn also has an email newsletter feature that allows you to connect with your followers. Savvy LinkedIn users share their wisdom and experience in these newsletters, which get sent directly to followers’ inboxes. This newsletter can grow your audience, which means more networking and business growth opportunities.

Creating a newsletter also helps improve users’ visibility in search engines.

“The newsletters are one of the only things on LinkedIn that link back to your name on a Google search,” Papadakis explained. “LinkedIn is a celebration of what you’re contributing to your profession, to your community, and to your relationships, all through that kind of professional lens.”

A more enjoyable social media conversation

A different conversation tone also allows LinkedIn to stand out from its competitors in the social media market.

“LinkedIn is usually a place that is not politically charged,” Papadakis said. " It’s a place where you can get away from that. The news is more professionally based. It’s almost like a mind-clean opportunity. Unlike other platforms, LinkedIn is a space for celebrating wins, success, and professional and personal growth. It’s a breath of fresh air in a noisy, attention-economy world.”

Drama-free interactions among users foster a more enjoyable social media community and the potential for meaningful personal relationships, including romance.

Surprise, surprise! According to Papadakis, LinkedIn isn’t just about financial business anymore. The platform has a growing reputation for people looking for love, especially in major cities such as New York and Washington.

Papadakis’ observations are supported by data. A recent survey shared by Dating News showed that 52% of respondents used LinkedIn to connect with potential dates. Remote working and common business interests were among the most popular reasons for choosing LinkedIn to mix business and leisure time.

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