When you think of social networks, Facebook or Twitter is probably the first thing that comes to mind -- but they're not the only game in town. There's another popular platform that's used by 332 million people worldwide and gains two new members every second. At least 40 percent of its users check the site's activity daily and more than eight percent visit during work hours. What site is it? LinkedIn.
What is it about LinkedIn that makes it such a popular site for networking and what does the future hold for the company and its members? Let's find out.
Why we love LinkedIn
One of the most beguiling things about LinkedIn is that it revolves around one of the biggest aspects of life: our jobs. Like it or not, most of us have, need, or want a job. LinkedIn gives users a place to network, connect, and learn alongside other people in our industry.
We use it to jumpstart a job search, keep track of our peers, digitally mingle with colleagues, and connect with people in our extended network of friends. Of course, one of the most popular uses of LinkedIn is to find a new job. It helps us get the word out that we're looking and provides a comfortable way to reach out to people who might be able to help.
For many people, LinkedIn serves as an online resume that's dead easy to update. There will always be a time and a place for paper resumes but LinkedIn profiles are a way to give others a quick overview of where we are in our professional journey.
Why companies love LinkedIn
Many organizations, especially small- to medium-sized businesses, benefit from creating a LinkedIn company page. It's a nice way to gain a little no-cost advertising and provides a method for LinkedIn users to check out your company without leaving the site. Google also thinks highly of LinkedIn company pages and typically displays them among the top one or two pages of search results.
LinkedIn has also proven to be a boon to busy recruiters and hiring managers. Instead of paging through hundreds of irrelevant paper resumes, they can now quickly scan someone's entire work history in just a few clicks. Some job seekers even report that during interviews companies favor referring to printed Linkedin profiles instead of resumes.
Where LinkedIn is headed
Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has added a whole slew of features and tools to help users get the most out of the service. Groups, news feeds, and a Twitter-like social interface make LinkedIn the go-to networking service for people at all career levels.
Thought leaders and CEOs from a wide range of industries publish announcements, blog posts, and other types of messages for users to read and share. As a result, LinkedIn is quickly becoming a source of news and information for anyone who wants to track what's happening in even the most niche industry in the marketplace.
LinkedIn has responded to the love from workers and companies alike by stepping up its game with better training and resume-writing tools for professionals in or entering the job market. It's also offers a bevy of webcasts, reports, and in-depth analysis so organizations can stay on top of the latest hiring and recruiting trends.
In the coming year, LinkedIn will become even more powerful as its member base grows and it extends its usefulness to companies looking for the perfect employee to join their ranks.
Image: Nan Palmero