Social media may have started as a rather flippant way for people to connect online, but the social space went professional with the launch of LinkedIn back in 2002. LinkedIn is the go-to social media site for professionals, and it’s become an invaluable resource for those looking for work. Even for people who don’t want to engage in social media, the value of having a LinkedIn profile can’t be overlooked.

Learning the basics

Like other social media sites, LinkedIn is basically a way to connect with other people via personal profile pages. You first set up an individual profile and upload your work history and experience, as well as your skills and accomplishments. From there you make connections by adding people to your network. This creates a digital networking environment where it’s easy to share ideas, and more importantly, make the connections that could lead to a job offer. Think of LinkedIn link an in-person conference that you need to be at to stay relevant in your industry.

Using more than the job board

Just as you’ll find with sites like Indeed and Monster, LinkedIn does have an extensive job board page that includes listings from every size company across the country. It’s easily searchable and can make a great resource for finding a job opening you’re interested in. But if you’re only on LinkedIn for the job board, you’re not getting as much value as you could be. Experts say joining professional groups increases your chances of making meaningful connections and can even lead to job opportunities not listed on job boards. Regularly updating your profile and creating relevant posts will help establish you as an industry leader and a voice worth paying attention to.

Things NOT to do

There is a wrong way to use LinkedIn as well. If your profile is incomplete or does not include a professional headshot, you may be quickly ruled out by some hiring managers. It may seem like common sense, but you also have to make sure your posts are appropriate and relevant to your professional goals and industry. You want to give hiring managers all the information they need to get to know you while limiting your political ideals to Facebook.

LinkedIn is certainly not the end-all-be-all for job seekers, but it does provide quality connections to employers, an easy-to-manage online profile, and a portal to many job postings. Even if you’re averse to social media, it’s worth your time to check it out.

Below you will find additional information and resources about LinkedIn:

How to use LinkedIn to find a job

Getting the most out of LinkedIn’s resources

How to create the perfect LinkedIn profile

Seven mistakes people make in their LinkedIn job search