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With more than 259 million users worldwide from 148 industries on LinkedIn, there are so many reasons why this is a valuable tool in your job search. Here are just a few:

1. It’s free
Who doesn’t like free? Take advantage of this free way to showcase your skills, abilities and accomplishments to potential hiring managers. There are no ‘trial periods’ – membership is always free for a basic account.

2. Find people and let them find you
A public profile on LinkedIn allows you to be found by name through LinkedIn or public search engines. Recruiters also search by criteria such as job title, company name, school or keywords within your profile. More than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for and vet candidates for jobs. Using keywords when describing your accomplishments and experience help recruiters find you faster.

3. Stay up to date
LinkedIn offers a great news feed as well as 2.1 million groups to participate in. Groups provide a way for you to keep up-to-date on your current industry trends or learn more about an industry that interests you. Groups provide a way for you to pose questions to peers, share your own knowledge and expertise, as well as make new connections.

4. Nurture and expand your professional network
LinkedIn provides many options for you to stay up-to-date on what is happening with your connections. Your connections can be a great resource for information and provide an avenue to get introduced to someone that isn’t already in your network. Don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction. And be sure to offer to return the favour.

5. Connect with people you might not otherwise connect with
Networking in person can be intimidating and stressful for some people. LinkedIn provides a low-risk way to meet and introduce yourself to others. When you view someone’s profile, it displays what you have in common – be it previous employers, connections, schools or expertise. You can take time in crafting a message that includes why you are contacting them. Chances are they will respond to your message and offer assistance wherever they can.

This guest post is by Wendy Hollingshead who has been an adult educator for over 12 years. With a drive to help others learn and attain new skills, Wendy strives to create a relaxed learning environment and encourages lots of questions! She will be facilitating Minerva’s upcoming workshop, LinkedIn: Beyond the Basics.

For more information, and to register for LinkedIn: Beyond the Basics, please click here.

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