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What Is LinkedIn?

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LinkedIn logo
© LinkedIn logo
LinkedIn is a career-oriented social network that individuals use to manage their professional contacts and find jobs, and that companies use to find prospective employees. It's all about networking in business, so "social" is a bit of a misnomer for this network.

Since it launched on the Web in 2003, LinkedIn has evolved to offer a wide variety of networking services, including both free and premium levels. People use it to build networks of professional contacts and research career opportunities. Recruiters and hiring managers also are major players in the LinkedIn network, where they search for prospective employees.

The service started out as a fairly simple electronic Rolodex but has become more dynamic as it has added many networking and communication features similar to Facebook.

Free LinkedIn accounts let people:

  • Create a professional profile
  • Manage a list of professional connections
  • Write updates about their careers for their connections to read
  • Search job listings
  • Research industries and companies
  • Write public recommendations for contacts
  • Find recruiters and hiring managers

LinkedIn's Premium Services

LinkedIn's premium accounts are used by employment agencies, recruiters and companies as well as job seekers. These accounts typically allow a greater volume of activity such as searching which can help recruiters find a wider range of prospective candidates.

Activities the paid LinkedIn accounts typically allow:

  • Send more requests to connect to people on the network whom you don't personally know
  • See a full list of who's viewed your profile
  • View more detailed search results on the LinkedIn network
  • See detailed profile information on more people with whom you are not directly connected

For most people, the free version of LinkedIn will be more than adequate. Those engaged in intensive job hunting, however, often find it beneficial to upgrade.

Pricing Varies

Premium accounts range from $24.95 a month to $99.95 a month. LinkedIn also offers special Job Seeker Premium accounts ranging from $19.95 per month to $49.95 monthly. As stated, higher pricing levels offer more contact options for developing business connections on LinkedIn, along with greater volume of searches for finding jobs, business opportunities, companies and people.

But even with its free accounts, LinkedIn offers a great deal of features, and is constantly adding more. It's a good idea to spend several months learning the free features before worrying about upgrading to a paid account.

First Steps

How to Get Started on LinkedIn

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