Connections, connections, connections. Perhaps you’re tired of hearing how important it is to network when it comes to advancing in your career, but the fact of the matter is – it’s true!

One of the most effective ways of building your connections is through LinkedIn, the world’s largest and most renowned professional networking site to date. The LinkedIn profile you create is meant to enhance your personal brand, similar to how a resume does – yet, different as well. Think of your profile as a more dynamic and less formal version of your resume. This is where you can include a personal headshot, your hobbies, awards, casual summary of yourself – all things which shouldn’t show up on your traditional resume.

While I’m sure you’ve heard all the craze about why LinkedIn is so important to your job search, perhaps you haven’t really understood exactly why that is. Well here are 5 illuminating reasons why having a professional profile is so crucial towards helping you get the best job possible.

1. It’s super popular

They say popularity is never a good enough reason to get into something, but in this case – it really is. LinkedIn reportedly has over 500 million users. That’s more than the entire population of the United States. With how popular LinkedIn has become, not having a LinkedIn profile is considered an oddity. In fact, recruiters often assume applicants without LinkedIn profiles are simply not in the loop of how things are done. What’s worse, they might completely disregard your application because they don’t consider you as a serious candidate.

2. It helps people locate you on the web

Employers love to google search their job applicants on the web to get a feel for what they’re all about. Due to Google’s algorithms, often times it’s the LinkedIn profile the they’ll see first on the top of the results. This is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s important to show up somewhere on the web. Not doing so can plant a seed of doubt in the employer’s mind about whether you’re a real person or not. Secondly, if you are already on the web on something like Facebook or Twitter, you want your potential employers to see your LinkedIn first. First impressions matter, and often times your other web appearances might make you out to be less professional than preferable. Hence why letting people see your professional side first is so advantageous.

3. It’s meant to get you inside.

Connections get you referrals and referrals get you hired. How do you get the connections in the first place? By connecting on LinkedIn. Here’s some statistics showcasing just how handy referrals can be:
– Candidates who are referred to a job position by an employee they are hired about two-thirds of the time.
– 60% of employees have referred at least one person to an open job position within the company
– 91% of referrals made by a director level or above were hired

4. It’s your best way of managing your network

If not with LinkedIn then with what? What other super popular networking site allows you to connect with all your contacts and business associates? There really is no better option. The honest truth is that LinkedIn is big for a reason. In ways, it’s like your personal CRM system for dealing with all your contacts. You can keep track of every person you’re connected with without having to ever fear forgetting about someone in the mist of your busy life.

5. It adds personal branding

Your resume is a robotic version of yourself. There’s nothing on it about what you enjoy doing or any of your preferences and thoughts. On the other hand, your LinkedIn profile is meant to add a bit more flavor to who you are. The summary section of your LinkedIn can get personal and opens up an opportunity for you to voice some of your ideals and goals. It’s written in a more casual way and allows you to write about who you truly are without being limited by the strict etiquette that resumes must follow.

Conclusion

During the job application process, many companies don’t require you to send them a LinkedIn. There’s no place on the submission form that asks for your LinkedIn address, and perhaps this is why some jobseekers downplay the value of a LinkedIn profile. However, it can’t be stressed enough just how big a role LinkedIn profiles play towards getting hired. Having it on the top of your resume can be the difference between having your application skipped and securing an interview.