LinkedIn: Why Your Career Might Depend On It
Why LinkedIn Matters
Last week, I was at a meeting of senior level folks who had been laid off. Several of them had been with their former employer for many years. They made good money, were competent, and seemed like nice folks. However, most of them were practically frozen with the fear at the idea of reaching out to people to let them know of their new status. It wasn’t so much from embarrassment. It was from not knowing where to begin.
We live in a flat world (thanks Thomas) in which it is easy to travel, easy to meet people from other cultures, easy to keep in touch with old friends and easy to make new ones you’ve never actually met.
Social media participation can be addictive. I use Facebook and have reconnected with high school friends that I’d never meant to lose track of. It is easier to make people aware of my niece’s new baby and show photos from a trip by posting in a broad-brush fashion. I also teach college. And, I am fine with business colleagues and students knowing that I have a life, within reason.
The seven musts of effectively socialized people:
1. You have a LinkedIn account. You have spent the time to reach out to all the people you have worked with in the past – coworkers, employees and bosses – to make sure you can reach then when you need them. Who knows, your star employee may be CFO of a company next year.
2. You have posted a bio that lists your past companies and education so others can easily find and reach out to you.
3. You help people in your network who ask for introductions to another in your network. Personally, I only connect directly to people I’ve met or spoken with. Huge, unknown fan-bases are better served with other tools.
4. You belong to Groups related to your industry, functional expertise, educational institution and professional affiliation. You scan these for postings about interesting meetings, which you attend, to find other people you forgot you knew.
5. You share things you find with others: re-posting a job you saw to the Jobs tab of a Group, sharing information about an interesting conference or helpful articles.
6. If you care to join more personal, social media sites like Facebook, you realize that employers, current and future, may see you, depending on your settings. When you post a message that you called in sick to go drink with friends for three days (note to college students), viewers may question your work ethic. Many hiring companies do look. Don’t post your birth year (U.S.), even when you are still young, remembering that web pages are indexed and saved.
7. Even when you are gainfully employed, you make a habit of checking for messages and being helpful.
In a global, fast paced, ever changing world, to be successful, one needs to work to establish a network. Maintaining an online presence helps. If you are an executive, a student or a small business owner, you don’t have a choice if you want to compete. Past connections can open doors to new jobs and new business.
Don’t wait for a pink slip before you get your house in order.
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