The internet has been dominating our lives since its conception. A major part of the credit should go to social networking.

Social networks affect our lives in more ways than we can imagine. Professional networking is a type of social networking that focuses only on those aspects which are of business nature. Interaction using such networks is beneficial to anyone’s professional life. LinkedIn is one among such networks. The number of users, which were more than 259 million in 2013, is constantly on the rise and these statistics show the popularity of LinkedIn across the world.

What makes LinkedIn so prevalent?

The basic feature of LinkedIn allows employers and potential employees to connect to each other and the users can invite whoever they want to acquire a professional relationship with. The invitee decides whether or not to respond or accept (kind of like friend requests on Facebook!).

In this competitive world, one cannot expect to succeed merely on talent.  The ‘right contacts’ are very important when establishing a career or even when promoting a company. But what if one doesn’t have any right contacts? That’s where LinkedIn comes in. It helps each member create connections with the appropriate people. There is something called as second and third-degree networks in LinkedIn. If one is not able to connect with the people he or she wants to, one can find a path to them through their own contacts. Through this particular function, one can discover a way to connect to the managers of any desired company by viewing the mutual contacts and maybe the path to them will be clear as day. That’s a winner right there!

There are various other features that one gets to access when he or she is a member on LinkedIn. Some of them are:

  1. Users can find jobs for themselves or they may find business opportunities recommended by someone in one’s contact network.
  2. Job seekers can follow companies they’d like to apply to and keep an eye out for vacancies or openings.
  3. Employers can put up the jobs their firms are offering for job seekers to apply and they could even search for potential candidates themselves. In this way, employers can screen the candidates according to their needs before interviewing them.
  4. All users can post their own photos and view photos of others. This feature is included so as to aid everyone in identification.

Students too could use LinkedIn. LinkedIn helps to form a profile that will showcase one’s talents and strong points. Creating a profile at an early stage gets young people the advantage of having more connections and one never knows when a contact may come in handy. The profile may prove crucial in later stages for students to find a job in the cutthroat environment of any industry.

Using this professional network to endorse a business through blogs or a website is also a good idea. Using LinkedIn in marketing is a great way to drive traffic to one’s website or blog. It also allows users to start a discussion about their company or product and this boosts awareness among other users. And surely some of the visitors could turn into potential clients.

There are some cool reasons why an individual or a company should create a profile on LinkedIn:

  1. It builds networks as you go. Finding an international job might not be that difficult if one is connected through LinkedIn.
  2. Marketing through messages gets easy. One user may create a group, in which he or she may include as many people as they want, and keep sending them updates through weekly messaging feature.
  3. Instead of messaging one by one to every member of a group, one can use auto-responder email and an email will be sent to their actual email addresses.
  4. Making subgroups inside groups is another feature.
  5. Helping others will prove advantageous to a member. It allows one to build professional relationships and that will always be desirable.
  6. One can also get notifications of the jobs he or she is suited for.

So, instead of registering in agencies and consultancies that will claim to help, one can simply create a portfolio of themselves on LinkedIn.