The digital age has certainly caused a dramatic shift in job hunting. The social networking site LinkedIn is a prime example of how digital media can be used effectively to create an environment for professionals to connect. You can connect with colleagues, past and present, which may lead to potential career opportunities. As well, the LinkedIn profile enable users to market themselves to potential employers.
In an article for Businessweek, Liz Ryan, offers 10 tips to use LinkedIn successfully. She stresses creating a profile that showcases who you are as a professional in a clear and concise manner. Using headlines to indicate what it is you do but also using your profile to elaborate on you employment history to give yourself and identity and let everyone know your skills. She goes on to share the importance of connecting with others and the multiple ways to do so.
I found her article to be very useful! As a college student, I’m pretty new to LinkedIn. Since I’m in the beginning stages of establishing a professional identity it can be tricky to create a complete profile. She made me realize that I create an identity with exactly what I already have. Using her second tip of “Tell your Story”, I can tailor my profile to what my skills are and what I would like to do as opposed to someone who has been in their field for years and should create their profile to things they have done in the field. It really made me less intimidated to flesh out my profile. Another concept I found useful was connecting with groups. Finding groups with people of the same interest can really expand your network of connections and broaden your opportunities. At the same time it’s important to not connect with just anyone. You can lose your privileges to connect with people if your are reported for trying to connect with too many people whom you don’t know. I did not know LinkedIn had this feature and I think it’s a really great concept. At the same time, I question whether or not people will really use it. Since the site is all about growing your professional network should you really be turning people away? I suppose my feeling toward this may have to do with my newness to LinkedIn and my desire to have an expansive profile. I also see how connecting with anyone and everyone could really jeopardize the integrity of what the site aims to do. People are most likely not going to interact with connections they don’t actually know which, will do nothing for their professional network. I think a great deal of the longterm success of LinkedIn with be determined by people using to site to look connected or to actually be connected.
Another article from LinkedIn’s blog offer another 10 tips to using LinkedIn. Guest author Alison Doyle’s 10 tips are very similar to those of Ryan’s. Doyle does a great job at explaining the importance using your profile to create a portfolio of who you are as a professional and use the site to connect with others. She explains how many recruiters use linkedIn to search for potential employees and how to utilize your connections and the skills they present. By using your connections as resources they are more likely to return the favor and use you as a resource. I think this is the most useful concept to being successful on LinkedIn. To utilize the network to your advantage you really have to be proactive and get involved with you connections. One tip that surprised me was sending a personalized message to people your connecting with, something she stressed heavily. I may not have an expansive network but of the 50 or so connections I have no recollection of either a personalized message or the generic “Lets connect of LinkedIn” message. I really wonder if this is a feature I have completely overlooked or if this is a feature that is not being utilized?
Comment below and let me know what you think! Do people use LinkedIn to look connected? How important are personalized messages when adding new connections? Or your thoughts on LinkedIn in general!
To read the articles I talked about above click below: