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LinkedIn: Why bother?

August 24, 2007

I received the following email recently from a friend of mine:

 “I use Linked In, but not much…I don’t really know how to use it properly. I am looking for a new job (my current one is on a fast-track to bankruptcy) and I want to be able to network with Linked In, but I need someone who knows their way around it to show me the most efficient way to use it. Are you that person?”

Unfortunately, I am not that person. Try as I may, I just cannot find a way to be effective on that site. I’ve pimped out my page a bit, but since I am not in the market for a new job, I don’t put that much into it.  I suppose I could ask people to recommend me, but that smacks of desperation and reminds me of eating alone in my college cafeteria or being home on Saturday night – the shame and horror!

Does anyone have any suggestions I can give to my friend? He has to be somewhat careful about pimping out his profile, because his CEO is in his network, and would notice if all of a sudden his entry looked like a resume. My first word of advice to him was to get on Facebook. But he really wants to try and make some inroads on LinkedIn. Past that – dunno?

Also, check out the following Business Week article from Jeff Pulver, past Wiley author, on Facebook trumping LinkedIn.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathryn Bourgoine permalink
    August 24, 2007 4:50 pm

    Ironic, I just signed up for it today. Gotta say, I think you could do some interesting things here although not sure what those are. I was looking at the “Answers” section today. Probably could use that to ask some targeted questions about the industry or a market you’re looking into and then use those contacts to drill down to those who have positions open (?) Thinking outloud here…

  2. August 25, 2007 2:24 am

    Like any other similar service, I’d say his best bet is to simply put up a standard page with all the critical info (e.g., current job, previous jobs, interests, specialties, etc.) This is, of course, the bare minimum, but it’s also what just about every other LinkedIn member has done, so he won’t stand out like a job-seeker. Then, it’s really up to him to start mining the service. Get out there and do some searches. Keywords should consist of competitive companies and other phrases that are related to his industry. He’ll probably be surprised at the number of potential contacts he’ll come across. Then the trick is to use the old “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” to get connected with some of those people. But if he doesn’t do the basics now, it will take him that much longer to create a viable network.

    Just my two cents…

  3. August 25, 2007 8:32 pm

    Good points Joe. Of course, this assumes that prospective employers are trolling LinkedIn looking for fresh meat. Not having looked for a job in over a decade, wouldn’t someone’s time be better spent on Monster.com or Career Builder buidling a true resume and viewing the job listings there?

  4. August 26, 2007 1:18 pm

    Ah, we’re but we’re looking at this two different ways. If your friend has a fairly high level position, the Monsters and CareerBuilders aren’t the right places for him anyway. It’s not a help wanted ad he’s looking for but rather personal connections. And no, he probably won’t find prospective employers trolling LinkedIn but he *can* use the service to hook up directly with people who already work within those organizations and network from there. The likelihood of getting an unsolicited job offer via LinkedIn is probably fairly small; however, the chance of connecting to a decision-maker within an organization where he might want to work is huge. Monster and CareerBuilder are good places to *be discovered* for entry-level and mid-level positions; LinkedIn is a great place to *search out and connect* with the people who can be influential in hiring for higher-level positions. It requires more work and networking skills, but LinkedIn is probably a better service for him.

  5. Andy permalink
    September 6, 2007 2:08 am

    Joe, you seem to have a good handle on the way Linked In works. I do see there is a limit on the number of “inmails” and “introductions” you can make before you have to actually start paying. Is there a way that I can use Linked In for free, and be able to reach out (via “six degrees of Kevin Bacon”) to some influential people, without having to pay Linked In?

  6. September 14, 2007 12:20 am

    Thought this would interest you:

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Networking for votes

    MySpace and Facebook are so last month. While nearly all the presidential candidates have pages on those social networking websites popular with the younger set, Barack Obama is the first to venture in LinkedIn, a networking site for older professionals.

    “How can the next president better help small business and entrepreneurs thrive?” the Illinois Democrat asked yesterday on LinkedIn’s homepage.

    Obama and Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, are currently the only candidates who are LinkedIn members, said spokeswoman Kay Luo.

    If MySpace and Facebook are like a rowdy party or singles bar with members posting provocative snapshots or trashing Britney, LinkedIn is like a huge reception with everyone exchanging business cards to try to make professional connections. Launched in 2003, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based site claims more than 14 million members worldwide, about half of them in the United States.

  7. October 17, 2007 1:41 am

    Ellen,
    I found you via linked in, For the record we are only two degress apart. One of your goals was to increase blog traffic so I guess it worked.
    I found Linkedin to be an excellent tool for me, It has helped me connect with folks from my past in diferent geogrphic regions and it has been very helpful as a jobsearch tool.
    As a woman who has been working on the “mommytrack” and now hoping to get back on the fast track, I found great people who have helped me get on the on ramp.
    Now, if only someone could teach me about facebook, then I would really be up to speed.
    Thanks,
    Terri

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