What instantly comes to mind when you think of LinkedIn? An online career site with all of these minimum requirements, with hiring managers and recruiters that rarely respond to your job application submissions? Well now it’s time to have a completely different outlook of LinkedIn because we’re going to show you just how beneficial it can be when trying to transform and excel in your career.

In April of 2017, LinkedIn reached 500 million subscribers. With availability in almost 200 countries, and with over 10,000 employees—LinkedIn has become one of the most common go-to resources for job searches. LinkedIn has a strong ability to increase connectivity and networking between companies and individuals. Although the tool is mainly used to connect individuals to companies, it can also excel your career in other ways.

We’re giving you four additional ways you can use and incorporate LinkedIn to step up your cookies and excel in your career.

1.Network

LinkedIn gives its users the opportunity to connect with some many different people all over the world—in so many different industries. As you add a new connection, your network is constantly expanding. Without even realizing it, you’re continuously building connections within connections—and you truly never know who those people know. Being indirectly connected to other networks, gives you a total advance in your career. Through these various connections, you are able to get a first-hand view on events, job board postings, and other things that may be beneficial to you knowing. Explore LinkedIn’s networking features, and build those connections today—your career will thank you in the long run!     

2. Stay on Top of Your Game

Another benefit of LinkedIn to help you excel and move forward in your career is the fact that you can spot various trends within your industry and stay ahead and on top of your game while doing so. Features such as LinkedIn Pulse gives its users access to articles based on their career and job environment. With this, users are able to prepare for the changes within their career field—simply because of this feature. Being able to continuously invest in your skills and assets is one of the absolute best things you can do to excel in your career.     

3. Manage Your Professional Brand

Your professional brand is like your first impression recruiters look at before they meet you in person. Your presence and profile go hand-in-hand and symbolizes—you. Although employee referrals are still considered, they are no longer a main criteria, but instead your professional appearance on social media and other online sites that represent you. Many studies have shown that several organizations use social media during their recruitment process—so it’s more important than you may think or even realize. You want to make sure you’re representing your most credible and professional self, so you can be seen that way in your industry. The managing of your professional brand is for sure one of the ways you can use this to your advantage when excelling and moving upwards in your career.    

4. Take a Look at the Bigger Picture

Unless you have job security for the rest of your life—it’s always important to be informed and in the know about other companies that peak your interest. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to look at current employees from your dream company, and see how they progressed in their career and the overall culture of the organization. Based on this information, you can then use it to decipher whether or not that job or company is a good fit for you. No matter what phase you are in, in your career, you can always use LinkedIn as a stepping stool to advance in your career.  

With such a wide variety of people and possibilities to network with, there are so many ways and steps you can take to excel in your career. One thing that’s certain—LinkedIn is deeply rooted in career progression and with the application of these four tips, transforming in your career will be a piece of cake!     

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