LinkedIn is the #1 professional networking site in the world, but still suffers from an image misperception. Let’s clear things up by looking at five specific reasons professionals would want to use the site.
# 1 Managing your professional connections to peers, organizations, and business leaders
Unless you’re much more dedicated than most people, you have few remaining ties to those people you worked with early in your career – even the ones you thought highly of. Most professionals have dozens of relationships while working on a project or within a company for years, yet struggle to keep them active after starting a new project or position. LinkedIn keeps you connected. (and helps you re-connect)
# 2 Searching and Researching
With more than 75 million professionals, LinkedIn is the best and most open professional database you could ever ask for. Need a contact at a specific organization? Want to find a supplier or partner? Have a task that needs a very specific skill set? LinkedIn can help you find these people, and research the people you’ve already found!
# 3 Staying up to date
LinkedIn includes tools to help members keep up to date with their connections and interest groups. No, not any of that “we’re having a party Friday” sort of updates, but professional activities like “beginning a new project on sustainable food sources” or “inviting the local PMI chapter to get together for a lunch and learn session next week.”
# 4 Finding a job
Yes, there is the pragmatic side to the site. If you connect to your network of trusted individuals, you will be primed to reach out and more easily build relationships that may lead to a job. Mostly through the fifth item:
# 5 Introductions
Just that one word describes this feature. You’re able to search through the connections of connections, and ask the people you know to introduce you to the people they know. This is the single most powerful feature of the site – and most people hardly know it exists. Introductions lead to sales, jobs, and new relationships.
More than a site for job seekers
It isn’t a site just to find a job (though it does do that well). It’s a site to restore, maintain, and build relationships – with smart business people from across the globe.
If you want help – consider signing up for the email or RSS stream of articles (free), the archive (also free), or the book (less than a ten-spot). If you’ve got a group (of sales people for example), and you’d like to be more successful in creating new one-to-one relationships, contact me about a group training effort.
And if you come up with a minor question that you think I might have an answer to – please forward it along. I’m always looking for new topics to cover.
To your continued success,