As I have not yet got my first book published, you are reading this online and one can almost assume that you have been invited to join LinkedIn from a friend or coworker. Did you join? If not, read on. If you did, use these reasons to evangelize to everyone that’s not joined up yet – just like I do…
If you are online you cannot have avoided joining one of the social media networks, Facebook with over 1 billion users is by far the biggest. Whereas Facebook is great for catching up wth friends and family, LinkedIn focuses on your professional life and even serves as an online resume. LinkedIn currently boast just over 210 million users, which means your boss is probably on there. If you managed to sign up for Facebook, joining LinkedIn will be a walk in the park, albeit a little longer one.
How many times have you lost your resume and had to trawl through your email accounts for an old copy? By sticking all your career data on LinkedIn, you and everyone else can see exactly what you have done in your working life by simply clicking on your name. By having it online constantly, it’s obviously easier to update it and it can be done from any computer anywhere in the world.
And you can use the handy LinkedIn Resume Builder tool which automagically turns your profile into a resume. It gives you 11 different formats to choose from, very handy indeed.
If you are considering moving jobs, LinkedIn is the place to be as it gives you a presence in your industry and a visibility to recruiters and HR folks that pull up searches based on key words and location. LinkedIn allows you to be found, as opposed to you searching for a job, a project or the other way around. So whether you are actively looking for a job or passively ‘open for suggestions’ – you can let others do the work for you. If you are happy in your job, don’t worry as LinkedIn is not solely based around changing jobs like for instance Monster is.
In fact, LinkedIn say they want to create a ‘professional identity‘ for their users, meaning your profile will be your online hub. Unless you have a site or blog in your own name, you are most likely to find that your LinkedIn profile is the first search result on Google for your name.
Sleuthing for information
LinkedIn is great for finding information on people and organizations. Just like others will spy on you, you can sleuth around LinkedIn and find out what your new boss has done in the past, what they look like and what interests they have. You can gather background information on your suppliers, on prospective customers and anyone else that deserves a scrutiny by you. LinkedIn is not as closed as Facebook for instance, all profiles are open to everyone although you can only contact people direct if you are connected.
When you do snoop around profiles, be sure to set your privacy settings so that nobody can see your name. It’s simple to change this setting whilst you’re doing your research and then change it back when done.
LinkedIn will not create your career but it can help to tip the balance. If you are up against one other person with the exact same skill level when going for a job, having 5 recommendations on LinkedIn will certainly be in your favor and could be the deciding factor. Recruiters, headhunters and HR people have long used LinkedIn as a primary resource for finding and looking up people. Line managers are doing the same and so should you. I would say that if you work in an office somewhere in the world, LinkedIn’s your best bet for boosting your career online. Do you agree?