By Thomas Griffin, co-founder and president of OptinMonster. Entrepreneur, investor and software expert. Helping you be a better leader in your organization.

LinkedIn has been around for more than 17 years now. Reid Hoffman first started it in 2003 with the vision of creating employment opportunities for individuals across the planet. Over the years, with nearly 740 million users, it has grown to be one of the largest platforms for professionals for building strong networks, finding investors, hiring new talents or even getting hired. 

But many people still underestimate its potential on a professional level and use it just as another social networking site. Sure, you can use it to socialize with people and build connections. However, there’s a lot more than just that. If used well, this platform can help you take your career to the next level.

So here are three reasons why you need a strong LinkedIn profile for your professional growth.

Build A Personal Brand

You must have already noticed how easy it becomes for companies to stand out from their competitors and boost their conversions by building a strong brand name. The same can happen to you as well if you can create a strong personal brand for yourself. 

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This doesn’t mean you need to portray yourself as the best. Instead, you can use personal branding as a way to differentiate yourself from your peers for who you are and what you do. Doing that can help others identify the value of connecting with you. And LinkedIn can play a huge role in making that happen. All you need to do is to get a little creative and use the platform effectively to make your personality stand out. 

For example, contribute something of value to your target audience. The best way of doing that is to consistently create and post original content that can engage your audience and help them learn something new. 

However, this doesn’t ensure that your posts will be seen by all your connections. So put some effort to get noticed. It might sound a little superficial in the beginning. But you can easily make yourself more visible by engaging with others through likes, comments and shares. 

Just make sure to be authentic in whatever you do. This reflects your personality and gives you a voice. And people love engaging with such profiles. But simply doing that doesn’t help. Make sure that you also connect with people on a personal level while maintaining your professionalism. 

Networking Opportunities

LinkedIn is all about building connections. Whether these are business-to-business (B2B) prospects, potential investors or business partners — LinkedIn is one platform that can help you find the best people to network with.

To do that, you’ll first have to figure out what type of people you want to connect with. Once you know that, leverage keywords in your profile to attract visitors of your preference. 

For example, say you’re a web developer. So using relevant keywords like software development, application development, etc., in your profile can help you appear in a more accurate search. This means if people search for web developer profiles or for profiles with a specific set of skills, your profile will instantly show up. It’s a great way to ensure that your connections are relevant to your profession.

Another way of building networks is to personalize your connection requests. Rather than simply hitting the “Connect” button while scrolling through LinkedIn’s list of “People you may know,” go to the individual profiles to send a connection request. When you click the Connect button on the person’s profile, a message box appears. You can use this box to type a more personalized message for your connection. You can use something like: “It was nice getting to know you in the XYZ seminar last week. Let’s keep in touch.”

If you don’t know them personally, you can try saying: “I have read some of your posts, and I love your perspective, so I thought it would be great to connect with you.”

Land Your Dream Job

If you’re looking for a job, LinkedIn can make things quick and easy for you. 

How? Most recruiters and hiring managers are already using LinkedIn to hire talented people for their companies. By maintaining an active and well put together profile, you can easily be discovered by hiring managers looking for people with specific skills, experiences or qualifications. 

And if they think you’re the right fit for their opening, they won’t mind getting in touch with you directly. This means that with a good LinkedIn profile, you no longer have to go looking for jobs anymore. 

However, for that to happen, you need to give your profile a strong appearance. To do that, make sure that you keep your profile up-to-date, add all your skills and expertise, highlight recent experiences and update your headline. This will help recruiters get a quick overview of who you are and what you do.

Conclusion

Different people use LinkedIn for different purposes, like building networks, getting hired, staying updated on industry news, etc. But no matter what your goal is, if used strategically, LinkedIn can help you achieve it and boost your professional growth to a great extent.