Are You ‘Linked In’?
By now you know of MySpace and Facebook. These are more of what you might call “personal” social networks, while LinkedIn can be a tool for “business” networking. Some people look at LinkedIn as just an online rolodex, but in a larger scheme it can be utilized as a personal contact management system.
Intended for professional networking, LinkedIn came about in 2003 and is one of the fastest-growing networking sites. As of May 2009, LinkedIn had more than 40-million registered users across nearly 200 industries, with more than 12-million unique visitors in June alone.
Every Fortune 500 company is represented on LinkedIn in some way and most are represented by someone in a director level or above. It is strongly business oriented, with no place to add pictures of your family, change the look of your site or post a playlist of your favorite songs. It’s a FREE web service that allows you to create a profile, connect with people, recommend connections, provide introductions, search for jobs and more.
Uses of LinkedIn
Benefits of LinkedIn include:
Strengthen Your Job Search. Recruiters, employers, potential business partners, friends and coworkers … all these people can find you and help promote you and your resume.
Research Business Opportunities. You can look for information on potential clients prior to meeting, learn more about a specific company that you’d like to conduct business with and find a contact within that company.
Connect with Group Members. Connect with people within your profession and within certain industries. Or meet up with other members of the same associations, boards or community programs you participate in.
No matter what reason you are on LinkedIn, it is simply another tool to meet, share ideas and conduct business.
Do You Want to Get Started?
If you have not already joined you should visit www.LinkedIn.com. On the top-right side of the home page fill out the Join LinkedIn Today information box. Follow the instructions and build your profile. It is recommended that you complete as much information as you can on the profile, as it will only better help you to be found in searches. At this point you can begin to find friends, coworkers and others who are on LinkedIn and start building your network of contacts or “connections.”
It is best to think of a profile as a minimized resume – make it clean, detailed and full of buzzwords for job descriptions. Don’t be shy! This is your chance to brag about yourself, you are selling yourself to the business world so be a good salesman.
A Complete Profile Yields Better Results
Now that you have the basics down, you can start adding connections. The quickest and easiest way is to start is on the left side menu column – select “Contacts” and then “Connections.” This is where you can add individual names and e-mails, or have LinkedIn search your e-mail address book. Once it opens your address book, you will be able see who is already on LinkedIn. No matter the status of your contacts with LinkedIn, you can invite anyone you’d like but make sure that you know the person you are wishing to connect with. One of the great features of LinkedIn is its spamming protection giving people the option to “Accept,” “Decline,” or select “I Do Not Know This Person.” If you have too many “I Don’t Know This Person” responses, your account will be suspended.