professional linkedin profileLinkedIn has increasingly become the place to see and be seen online when it comes to business networking and recruitment. With its high level of search engine optimization, your LinkedIn profile can be found by most who conduct a web search on you.

In fact, according to CNET News, 93% of recruiters actually leverage LinkedIn to find candidates and learn more about them (ahead of Facebook which is at 66%). If that statistic in itself doesn’t convince you that a profile is worth creating on LinkedIn, here are some other compelling reasons to do so:

You get to tell your own professional story.
Prior to LinkedIn, a recruiter or web surfer looking for professional information on someone would often find sites that compiled typically out-of-date and perhaps even incorrect data by combing the web for information. Now, you have the chance to create your own online brand and tell your professional story the way you want it to be told.

You are more easily recruited.
If you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, you can’t easily be found for the next great job opportunity. With so many recruiters sourcing candidates on LinkedIn (they’re not just looking up information on existing candidates!), you could easily be overlooked for the perfect role if you don’t have a presence on LinkedIn. As they say, showing up is half the battle.

Opportunity through degrees of separation.
Say you are looking for a job opportunity at a specific company, or are in a sales role and are looking for someone to speak with at a specific company. By having a profile on LinkedIn and building your network on the site, you can see how many degrees of separation you are from people you might be interested in speaking with.

You can ask those in your network for introductions, or simply allude to your common connection when introducing yourself to someone, which can always be useful from a credibility standpoint.

A tool for managing your internet reputation.
Because LinkedIn is so highly search engine optimized, a profile on the site simply provides one more way to suppress a negative link about you if you have one online, pushing that link further down in search results.

Your online reputation is hugely important in the job search process. As one episode of Top Recruiter describes, “According to a study commissioned by Microsoft, 79 percent of employers now conduct an online search of applicants. Fully 70 percent say they have turned down applicants by what they found online.”

You don’t want to NOT be found on LinkedIn.
With the majority of recruiters looking for information on candidates on LinkedIn, it’s truly inadvisable to not have a profile on the site. In fact, many recruiters find it downright suspicious if you do not have one, particularly if you are in one a few types of fields.

Laura Lashbrook Colby, the Division Director of the staffing agency Beacon Hill Associates, says, “If we are staffing for a recruiting or sales/marketing/business development role, then it is a big red flag if a candidate has either no (LinkedIn) profile or a limited profile with a low number of connections.”

This likely is a perspective that most recruiters have to some extent regardless of your chosen career path.

So why take the chance in not having a LinkedIn profile? Not having one creates the potential for missing out on incredible career opportunities, as well as the opportunity to tell your professional story the way you want it to be told. In addition, recruiters generally expect to see that professionals have a profile on LinkedIn. With 9 out of 10 recruiters using LinkedIn regularly in their recruitment activities, you don’t want to either raise suspicions or miss the boat because you don’t have a profile available for their review.

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