06/29/2016 11:58 EDT | Updated 06/29/2016 11:59 EDT

Only Using LinkedIn For Job Hunting? You May Be Missing Out

Business Network
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Business Network

If you're one of the over 12 million Canadians on LinkedIn, chances are that you understand how it can help you find your next role. According to a recent survey by Randstad Canada, more than half of all Canadians use LinkedIn for job search and a whopping 97 per cent of recruiters are active on the site. But if that's all you're using it for, you may be holding yourself back. You don't need to be on the hunt for a new job to gain value from LinkedIn -- it can also help you grow within your current role.

Here's what you're missing out on if you're only using LinkedIn to further your job search:

1) Improving your performance

No matter how great we are at our jobs, there's always something new to learn. After all, continuous learning is key to both professional and personal growth. LinkedIn connects you to a global knowledge base of more than 400 million professionals with unique experiences and perspectives. Follow influencers in your field to keep a pulse on best practices and industry trends, and tap into their expertise for guidance. As well, joining relevant discussion groups can help you see how others are tackling similar problems and meet professionals with common interests. It's a small investment of time that can pay dividends when it comes to your career.

2) Raising your profile

Grabbing the attention of senior leadership can be a challenge, regardless of your company's size. Connect with others in your company and demonstrate your expertise on LinkedIn to help increase your visibility. Did you just knock a project out of the park? Add it to your portfolio on LinkedIn. Not only will this draw attention to your recent success, but it helps highlight your specific strengths and interests for future tasks.

Your coworkers are a valuable and often overlooked resource for your continued development. Are you hoping to be promoted or transition to a new project or team? Connect with others in your company whose position you admire and look at their career path to map out your own. Even if you've been with a company for a while, it can be tough to get to know colleagues with whom you don't work directly on a regular basis. LinkedIn's Lookup app lets you search for professionals within your organization, learn more about them and get in touch instantly through email, phone, or chat.

Sharing relevant article and links, and making informed comments on industry matters will also show how passionate and engaged you are, and can help to position you as a knowledge leader within your team.

Employees are a company's most trusted ambassadors, and harnessing the power of social media to showcase the great work you and your teammates are doing can help hiring managers attract top talent. LinkedIn's recent Global Job Seeker Trends report found that looking at employee profiles is the top career activity on LinkedIn for prospective hires. Use your digital footprint to strengthen your employer's reputation and boost their recruiting efforts, and it won't go unnoticed.

3) Growing your network

You don't need to be in sales or recruiting to benefit from social media and cement important relationships with clients, partners, vendors or professional colleagues. Be sure to connect with people you've partnered or interacted with professionally, and keep track of what they're up to. It's much easier to follow someone's career on social media than to keep in touch with everyone in your contact list. Then start reaching out to other professionals where your interests intersect. The best time to build up your network is before you need it, and sending a congratulatory note about a recent promotion or joining the discussion on your connections' Publisher posts -- for example -- can go a long way.

No matter your level or the sector you work in, creating a strong professional brand is crucial to your continued career development even if you're not actively seeking to change jobs. After all, you may not be searching for your dream job - inside your organization or elsewhere - but what if it's looking for you? Using LinkedIn as your professional gathering place allows you to easily keep up-to-date with your industry and its emerging trends; stay in touch with colleagues and your extended professional network; and demonstrate the unique value you offer. The potential payoff -- today and tomorrow -- can be significant.