We all have a LinkedIn account, or more than 120 million of us have one. It’s the world’s largest professional network for exchanging knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with other professionals. My LinkedIn profile is always within Google’s top ten search results for myself and, alongside my websites, it gives control over my online identity. LinkedIn helps to control the first impression individuals get when searching online. People change employers, jobs, and locations more than seven times through their career. My contacts update their details on LinkedIn and that allows me to keep my address book current and up to date.
The Answers section of the LinkedIn site is particularly useful to me. There are 22 broad categories for user questions from Administration, Business Operations, and Business Travel through to Sustainability, Technology, and Using LinkedIn. If you review the questions regularly then it allows you to keep up to date with people’s current concerns. Additionally, there are opportunities for discussion within the Groups that you can belong to. I belong to groups concerning energy and manufacturing. It’s nice to be able to give expert advice to your colleagues where you have the experience or knowledge to be able to do so.
Of the many networking sites, they fall into the two categories of social and business. Whilst Facebook and MySpace would be regarded as being social networks, LinkedIn could be classified as being a business network. If you’re looking for a new career opportunity or to build your professional reputation then you can use the LinkedIn search engine for company research and the jobs board. Or, if you’re self-employed and looking to win new clients, you can connect with sales leads and ideal business partners. The company research tool shows who you know at listed companies. It’s ideal for new opportunities. In today’s economic climate, it’s important to include LinkedIn as part of your regular internet routine, even if you’re currently not actively seeking a new job.
You need to build a prominent profile and connect with other members of the LinkedIn network. Your LinkedIn profile will be different from your Facebook profile. There will be some common ground but the social network details will contain more information on hobbies and pastimes. Conversely, your LinkedIn profile with be more work oriented. You’ll also need to demonstrate your experience through answering questions and follow up on sales leads on the LinkedIn network.
It’s important to use LinkedIn often. There’s a learning curve involved and you’ll find the site isn’t simply a jobs board. LinkedIn is an integrated business network with sections like LINKEDIN TODAY with the most shared news, Updates, Groups, Jobs, Inbox, Company News, Answers, Learning Centre, etc. Like many thing in life, you’ll find that the more effort you put into using LinkedIn, the more you’ll get out of it. I’m a management consultant, so I like to contribute to group discussions in that field. I specialize in energy and manufacturing. Consequently, I engage in discussions in these LinkedIn Groups.