LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and territories (https://press.linkedin.com/about-linkedin). From professionals to students and recent graduates, LinkedIn has calculated that professionals are joining at a rate of more than two new members per second, with their fastest-growing demographic being recent college graduates. LinkedIn is primarily used to find a new career opportunity, company and employment research, and general networking.

Job searches. According to Digital Stats/Gadgets, there are over 4 million companies on LinkedIn, with 77% percent of all jobs posted via LinkedIn (http://bit.ly/1MiNfqk). Companies will update their company page with up-to-date information and job openings. However, making connections with people either within the company or who work within the industry you are targeting will give you an idea of what the company is looking for in a potential candidate and the types of jobs they are consistently trying to fill. While job posting websites like Indeed and subscribing to newsletters about job openings are both beneficial resources, it is better to find the information out first hand from the source itself.

Research. LinkedIn is a great resource to find out detailed information on the company not readily available on their website or in general media sources. You will find typical information on the company’s background as well as links to their website and other social media outlets. However, you can research in more depth regarding connections you have who works at the organization , track the tenure of employees to see retention rates, learn about senior level leadership and their career paths, and topics the company finds important through their trending items and media/outreach posted. The more information you know about a company, the better chance you will have at succeeding in an interview as well as identifying if the role is right for you.

Networking. Staying in touch with past co-workers is critical. Past connections lead to future connections. Often it is not about what you know but who you know. If you are looking at finding a new job or switching industries, chances are that you already know someone directly or through a chain of connections who either knows about a new job opening you might be a fit for or they can put you in contact with someone that can assist internally. Past coworkers and clients can also become great professional references. They know the quality of your work and can attest to your value.