“You may have heard of the 6 degrees of separation or the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.  Well in order to maximize your network you need to connect and communicate with other people.  LinkedIn gives you the platform to do it. You just need to get connected.” – Kristin Kane Ford, Director of Social Media at Kane Partners

How many connections do you have on LinkedIn?

That is a question that is asked quite frequently in business.

As a staffing agency, the higher the number the better and bigger the network.

Back in June it was announced that Microsoft was buying LinkedIn for reportedly 26 billion dollars, for a company that has only been around for 13 years, LinkedIn was founded in 2003.  That is a MASSIVE number for any company.

What makes a company worth that much money?

There are many blogs that dive into the nitty gritty business explanations, but I’d like to offer a bit of a simpler explanation.  Because at it’s core the concept behind LinkedIn is very simple.

Create an online profile page and connect with people.

That’s the core idea and it hasn’t changed much.  What has changed is the number of people using the platform and how people use it.  Earlier this year LinkedIn reported that it had over 106 million active users, that’s 42 million more than the entire population of the United Kingdom.

But it’s simple, interesting juxtaposition.

Top Level Candidates for Philly Tech Companies

And the ways that people use LinkedIn have changed, it isn’t just for the individual anymore. Companies have pages where they can build their brand identity by sharing blogs, pictures, and information.  Businesses can posts ads for open positions and marketing.  Recruiters can purchase access to Linkedin Recruiter (clever name, huh?) and search and send in-mails to people outside their network.  Individuals can buy a Premium subscription for enhanced features.

So a lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same as well.  People connecting and helping each other.  Learning about new industries, companies, people.  Getting to know others in the world around us.

Networking: it’s a simple idea, but it’s a powerful one. And it can be extremely useful.

As recruiters we used LinkedIn every single day, to source possible candidates, network with hiring managers, and learn about companies.

People use LinkedIn to share their own ideas, links to articles and good causes, engage in conversation with people, and make introductions between connections.

Basically it’s networking: a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest. (Dictionary.com)

As recruiters we know how important networking is to finding the right candidate, and to connecting talented professionals to their ultimate career opportunities.

So next time you log onto LinkedIn to check your profile, do a quick mental check, how does your profile look?  Have you updated your professional headshot?  Do you have an accurate description that is compelling?  Do you reach out to old contacts to broaden your network?  Have you engaged with other’s professionals posts by liking or commenting?  Finally are you utilizing it the best way you can?

With LinkedIn the possibilities can be endless when it comes to networking! Well there are at about 106 million at the moment but that is still pretty amazing.  Just like other social media platforms LinkedIn has made the world much smaller and more accessible for everyone.  What are you doing to take advantage of it?