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Social networking can no longer be thought of as just a way to stay connected to friends and family. Social networking has evolved from posting pictures and connecting to people from your past to posting resumes and professional information as a method of connecting to your future. What originally began as informal electronic interaction is now used by businesses and organizations to market products and services, and by individuals as a means to promote themselves through professional networking. Similar to websites like Myspace and Facebook, which were originally designed as online tools to connect people on a social level, other websites such as LinkedIn are using social networking as a platform to link professional people, businesses and organizations.
LinkedIn is an online networking website where career-minded professionals can connect with other professionals and organizations, and find job and business opportunities. With more than 225 million members in more than 200 countries, LinkedIn is the largest professional networking platform. The website is designed to help you create an online profile by posting information about your education, professional background, skills, and achievements. The LinkedIn network can be used as a positive approach to creating a professional presence that can increase your connections, allow you to share knowledge, ask questions, find answers, and help you achieve success. LinkedIn provides free tools to help you stay connected through your mobile device. The website offers a free download, which allows you to directly email your LinkedIn contacts through Outlook.
Advancing your career or improving your business means you have to meet people who are exposed to a variety of markets and who can introduce you to available opportunities. It doesn’t matter if that opportunity is a new job or a new business venture. What does matter is that you market your professional skills or business brand in order to establish those connections. LinkedIn is a discovery platform where potential employers can search for someone with your skills and talent, and a place where entrepreneurs can find new business contacts, vendors, and potential clients. As a member of LinkedIn you can connect with qualified people who share the same interest but have different ideas, and people who also want to accomplish business goals and improve professionally.
The digital age has drastically changed how companies evaluate and hire people for employment. Job seekers are less likely to walk into a potential employer’s business, fill out a paper application, and have the opportunity for an immediate interview, even when the company is actively hiring. It was reported by Fortune Magazine that the Managing Director of Global Talent Acquisition, for a large management consulting firm, indicated 40 percent of the firm’s 50,000 new hires would be recruited through social networking. The volume of applications submitted for any one job, along with employers implementing precautionary hiring practices has forced companies to become more reliant upon technical (online) tools for talent acquisition. As a potential candidate for employment your chances are better if you too use online resources, as a professional networking tool, to market your skills or promote your business and improve your access to available opportunities.