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Did you know that LinkedIn, the professional social networking platform, has actually been around longer than Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram? But it’s more relevant now than ever. Why? Because it hosts more than 500 million professional profiles, which means nearly an unlimited supply of network connections and job opportunities. From seeking a new job to maintaining your personal brand, LinkedIn is an important part of being a full-fledged professional in any industry these days. Here are important reasons to create a LinkedIn profile — or dust off your long-forgotten one.

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You can tap into its powerful job board

Why is LinkedIn important for job seekers? You’ll find a number of reasons in this list, but let’s start at square one: You can search its robust job board — and even apply to jobs — through the networking platform. Search jobs by keywords and location. Even if you’re not actively seeking new employment, you can set job alerts based on your career interests to regularly receive email updates and stay in the loop.

You can build your brand

Just like companies build their brands, it’s important for you to build your professional brand online. How do you stand out from others in your industry? What makes you marketable? Why should someone pay you six figures? Personal websites are great for this, but they often come with extra costs — and hours and hours of building and finessing. LinkedIn is a simple way to put your name on the professional map. Upload a professional profile picture and write a powerful summary that emphasizes your strengths and showcases your personality.

It can help rank your name on Google

Chances are, if you apply to a job, one of the first things an employer will do is Google your name. Even emailing a new client could result in a Google sweep of your name. If you’ve never Google’d yourself, now’s the time. What pops up on the first page of results? Here’s why LinkedIn is important: Ranking on Google’s first page can be difficult, but LinkedIn is a well-known and powerful network — and Google’s into it.

You can research companies and their employees

Sure, if you’re applying for jobs you can access openings from other job boards; there are plenty of those out there. However, LinkedIn offers other perks.vThese days, many companies maintain their own LinkedIn pages where they’ll update company information, share company news and insight, and showcase current employees. If the company knows what it’s doing, you should get a good, solid feel for its culture and its people to make sure it’s a fit for you before diving into the interview process or accepting a job.

It can help you tap into industry news

Like other social networks, LinkedIn aggregates a timeline when you log in. There, you’ll find news updates from your connections, your groups, and your company. It’s both fun and wise to keep tabs on industry trends and reports.

 Network, network, network!

Can we emphasize this enough? LinkedIn is such an important networking tool. Even if you’re an introvert and hate networking events, you can still foster meaningful LinkedIn connections. Through LinkedIn, you can build a relationship with mutual connections, folks in your field, and even your greatest role models.

By Damilola Faustino

Read also: How To Know Its The Right Job Before You Accept

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