• LinkedIn is an online social network for business professionals. It’s different than other social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, because it’s designed specifically for professional networking — finding a job, discovering sales leads, connecting with potential business partners — rather than simply making friends or sharing media like photos, videos and music.• Online social networks are websites where users create personal profiles, search for “friends” or “contacts,” and create extensive networks of connections. LinkedIn was co-founded in May 2003 by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Jean-Luc Vaillant and Konstantin Guericke.The site was the brainchild of Hoffman and Guericke, Stanford graduates who began planning their online professional network in the late 1990s [source: USA Today].• A unique attribute of LinkedIn is the ability of directly connecting you to, not only former classmates, but also former colleagues. After you have graduated from college more and more people in your network are professionals, not classmates, so LinkedIn fills this gap nicely. Once you have a presence on LinkedIn, just as you can find your former colleagues, they can also find you.

• Once you fill in your profile, you are added to the database of more than 40 million users worldwide, the excellent search tools that are available on the social networking platform will allow people to easily find you.

• There are many LinkedIn groups that are open for professionals to join, and by joining these groups you not only get potential access to directly contacting experts in your industry, you can also join in group discussions and read group news that is specific to your industry.

• LinkedIn is not just about job seeking: LinkedIn is a professional networking site that should be utilised as a powerful tool at every step in a professional’s career. Users have the tools to leverage their social presence on the site.

• Here’s how you should be driving your online presence:

– Update your status frequently and consistently:
create potential engagement with your network by sharing industry-related news articles or topics you wish to further engage in discussion.

– Make a good first impression with your profile photo:
it’s best that your profile photo features you alone. Dress appropriately for your profession, or the profession you hope to join, and be mindful of your posture and expression.

– Like, share, comment, save news stories:
connect with industry leaders, follow companies, and interact with executive recruiters.

For more information, contact Karlien Theart at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.

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