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In today's society we use variety of social networks to represent ourselves online, however, many of these representations may not be what we would want to place in our CVs. More employers are using the Internet to obtain information about future employees and what they find when searching a prospective client may be a key factor in whether they are employed or not employed. If our online professional profile is becoming a more prominent feature in our professional career then appropriate measures and tools need to be taken to ensure that what people find about us online is of a professional nature. Eric Schmidt (2010), Chief Executive of Google, talks in the Independent about his 'Fears for Generation Facebook' where he claims that many people will be changing their names in the future to escape their cyber past.

"The internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy we've ever had" (Schmidt, 2010).

What is Linkedin?
Linkedin is a professional global network that connect key professionals together and displays your professional profile for current and future employees to view. The following short video provides a brief overview of Linkedin.

Why use Linkedin?
Linkedin provides a professional network to display your professional profile online where you can communicate with other professionals, share ideas, discuss aspects related to your profession, make new connections in your professional field and provide an online CV of your professional profile. Linkedin is different from Facebook and many other social network sites in that if requires a bit more etiquette since it is a professional network not a social network. You have 'connections' rather than 'friends' where you need to have a professional reason to connect to someone rather than be their 'friend'. Our online profile is becoming increasingly available to a wider audience and more HR departments are searching our profiles to gain a fuller picture of potential employees. Davilla (2009) provides research findings why it is important to ensure you professional profile is professional in their article 'How HR Professionals Analyze Your Facebook Profile'.

Top Ten Reasons to use Linkedin:

1. Manage your online presence:

  • Manage the information that’s publicly available about you as professional
2. Collaboration:
  • Create and collaborate on projects, gather data, share files and solve problems
3. Increase your visibility:
  • Be found for business opportunities and find potential partners
4. Improve your connectability:
  • Find and be introduced to potential clients, service providers, and subject experts who come recommend
5. Connections:
  • Discover inside connections that can help you land jobs and close deals
6. Professional Development:
  • Gain new insights from discussions with likeminded professionals in private group settings
7. Improve your Google PageRank.
8. Enhance your search engine results.
9. Keep your online professional profile in one place.
10. Be a professional at all times - Keep you personal online presence PERSONAL.

How to use Linkedin

The following three steps, provided by Learn Linkedin are the three main areas you can develop in Linkedin. Visit the Learn Linkedin to find more detailed information and step-by-step guides how to create the following areas.

1. Own a profile that truly represents you.

2. Ensure your connections represent your “real-world” network.
  • Use webmail import to see, in seconds, all the people you know who are already on LinkedIn. You can then select who you wish to invite to join your trusted network.
  • Upload a contacts file from Outlook, Palm, ACT!, or Mac Address
  • View our list of your colleagues and classmates that are already on LinkedIn.
3. Leverage the power of your LinkedIn network!
  • Post a question on Answers and tap into the experts you’re connected to and the entire LinkedIn network.
  • Look up someone’s profile before you meet with them.
  • Search for Service Providers and select based on trusted recommendations from people in your network.