My earlier article this month discussed things to do to set yourself up for career success in 2020. One of those suggestions was to work on your network; another was to review your social media presence. LinkedIn can help with both!

What? You’re not on LinkedIn yet? What are you waiting for? While LinkedIn is de rigueur for the private sector, I see more and more federal agency managers using LinkedIn as well.

If you’re not already on LinkedIn these seven reasons outline why you should be on this critical professional social networking site:

1. Because That’s Where The People Are. LinkedIn is the number one social network for professionals — and, arguably, the most important website for jobseekers — with more than 650M members worldwide. Not only are people you know already on the site (friends, family, co-workers, colleagues), but so are people you should get to know — recruiters, hiring managers, and your future co-workers.

2. To “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” In his book of the same name, author Harvey Mackay advocates building your network before you need it — and joining LinkedIn now gives you time to build your network of connections.

3. To Strengthen Your Offline Network. LinkedIn helps you keep track of people you know “in real life” — what they are doing, where they work now, and who they know.

4. To Reconnect With Former Co-Workers. Sometimes it’s hard to stay in touch with the people you used to work with — making it difficult to find them when you need them (say, to use as a reference in your job search). LinkedIn allows you to search contacts by employer, so anyone who listed that company in their profile can potentially be found in the search.

5. Because You Can Establish Yourself as an Expert. One of the ways to be seen as a thought leader in your industry is to increase your visibility. A great way to do this is to write articles using LinkedIn Publishing. Anytime you post articles or a status update, these updates will be available in your profile, so people looking for you can see that you are actively engaged in this online community.

6. To Be Found as a Passive Candidate. Having a robust LinkedIn profile — filled with your accomplishments and strong keywords — will lead prospective employers to you, even if you are not actively looking for a job. Recruiters especially are always searching LinkedIn to find candidates to match their search assignments.

7. Because Your Presence on LinkedIn Can Help You Be Found Elsewhere Online. It’s common practice for hiring managers and recruiters to “Google” job candidates, and your LinkedIn profile will likely appear high up in their Google search results. A strong LinkedIn profile can enhance your candidacy, especially if you have a solid network of contacts, at least a few Recommendations, and you’ve supplemented the basic profile information with things like lists of your certifications, languages you speak, honors and awards, and/or your professional portfolio.

The Complete Guide to Writing a Federal Resume, New Edition

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.

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