We’ve all heard the importance of keeping our social media platforms well kept and free of any information that could potentially hurt our chances of getting a job or keeping our security settings on lock down so we can’t be searched for. There is however one site where I strongly believe all students and young professionals alike should be on every week and the importance of being “searchable” is key. The name of the game is LinkedIn and to win means to use it to your complete benefit.

“LinkedIn is a networking tool that helps you discover inside connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business partners. It strengthens and extends your existing network of trusted contacts.” In simple terms connections are everything and to build those connections LinkedIn is the tool that will help. Rebecca Waxman from The Creative Group recently spoke in my Portfolio class and made an excellent point about the convenience of being on LinkedIn. She acknowledged that today everyone is busy and it is sometimes hard to find time to constantly be going to events, but LinkedIn can be your virtual way to continue to build your connections.

LinkedIn is also the perfect place to keep in touch with the contacts you’ve already made. Another feature that goes along with keeping in touch is asking for recommendations. LinkedIn provides you the ability to keep an online resume of sorts with all your previous work history. From there you can ask previous employers to write a recommendation which will be displayed under your work history and is an essential tool to impressing people who are looking to hire.

It is important to remember to keep your LinkedIn account complete and up to date because this ensures that you will show up in the optimal number of searches for prospective jobs. You can also join groups on LinkedIn where many actually post job openings regularly. This is a great and easy way to constantly be aware of what positions are available even if your not looking right now and when you are its a great start. I personally have my account set up so that if anyone posts in the groups I am a member of I get an email. This email ensures that I can stay part of discussions on LinkedIn and make more and more connections.

Lastly, a way that LinkedIn will benefit you is by learning about the people you may be working with in the industry. It’s a great and acceptable way to “stalk” a person to learn a little more about their professional background.

This is LinkedIn in a nutshell but to find out more about LinkedIn register today or revisit that old account you made months ago and revive it! Also read this great article on other benefits that LinkedIn can provide you if your still not convinced!