Whether you're happily employed or looking for a new job, LinkedIn is a work-focused social network that you can use to stay in touch with current and former business colleagues. You can also use the service to look for work, post updates about your career, and take online classes.
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What Is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social networking service specifically geared toward work and careers. It's been owned by Microsoft since late 2016. People use it to connect and reconnect with colleagues and business associates and to post career updates and job changes in a format similar to a resume. Some companies post job listings there, and some people use the site to post thoughts on business matters similar to blog posts.
You can create an account by visiting LinkedIn's website or using its smartphone apps for iPhone or Android devices, providing your name, email address, and a password you want to use to log in. Then, you fill out your profile, including an "introduction card" similar to a virtual business card, job skills that you have, and current and past employment and educational experience.
When your profile is in good shape, you can search for friends, colleagues and business acquaintances either by typing their names in the search bar on the website or app or by uploading your contact list. When you see someone you know, you are given the option to connect with them, similar to adding friends or following someone on other social networks. The person you connect with has to confirm that you know them.
You can also join groups of like-minded professionals on LinkedIn, such as people in your industry or geographic area. To find groups, type keywords or the name of a group you know into the search box on the website or app, or click or tap the "Work" icon, then "Groups" and "Discover" to have LinkedIn recommend groups for you to join.
If you want to use LinkedIn to find a new job, click or tap the "Jobs" icon on the LinkedIn website, and then use the search fields to find a job title and location that interests you. If you see a job you like, you can click the "Easy Apply" or "Apply" button to apply for it. The "Apply" button usually links you to the company's jobs website to apply, while "Easy Apply" enables you to apply from within LinkedIn.
Is LinkedIn Free?
LinkedIn is mostly free, though it offers some features that you pay for. For example, it offers premium accounts geared toward sales, recruiting or finding a job, with extra options such as the ability to send messages to people you don't know, more powerful search tools, and the ability to see who's viewed your profile.
LinkedIn Recruiter and LinkedIn Sales Navigator are tools designed specifically to help people in recruiting for jobs or working sales jobs. Some of these features are available to users with premium accounts.
You pay to advertise on LinkedIn if you're trying to promote your business or find good job candidates.
You also pay for courses on LinkedIn Learning, a set of online video-enabled courses, though they're included with some premium plans.
What Is LinkedIn Premium?
LinkedIn Premium is LinkedIn's name for its paid accounts that have features going beyond those available to users with free accounts. The company offers four types of premium accounts, dubbed Career, Business, Sales and Hiring.
The Career plan is geared toward people looking for jobs and makes it easier to find information about jobs, reach out to hiring managers, and promote your job applications. The Business plan enables you to get information about companies, send messages to and browse profiles of people you don't know, and see who's viewed your profile. The Sales plan enables you to track career changes and other information about sales leads, send messages to people you don't know, and build custom lists of leads from LinkedIn searches. The Hiring plan gives you tools to locate and track job candidates on LinkedIn and send messages on the site.
What Is LinkedIn Learning?
LinkedIn learning is a set of more than 5,000 online courses on business and design subjects, from computer programming to social media marketing. It's a subscription product, and you can get a stand-alone subscription for yourself or multiple people in an organization. A subscription is also included with certain premium accounts.
The subscription enables you to view course videos online or download them to your phone with the LinkedIn Learning app. Some courses also include exercise materials that you can use to follow along and practice using new software or learning other skills.
You can search for courses you're interested in taking by keyword in the title or by skills that the course covers.