Using LinkedIn for more than just the job hunt:
While LinkedIn is a fast growing social network, the number of active users of the service remains low. Many professionals have a profile, but bar the occasional ‘like’ in recognition of a connection’s promotion or work anniversary, interaction is kept to a minimum. So, why should you continue to use LinkedIn?
It’s a useful connection tool.
LinkedIn is the modern day Rolodex – you meet people, you add them on LinkedIn, and you shouldn’t shy away from doing this. LinkedIn removes the need for business cards and reduces the effort needed to maintain the everchanging contact details of your connections. The benefit of adding people is mutual too – making a connection expands the network of both parties.
It’s a useful business development tool.
Connections aid introductions, which in turn aid sales. You’ll be surprised just who within your network is connected to who. Often networks don’t flow through ‘industries’, but through friends and connections made outside of work. LinkedIn shows you these connections, providing a possible channel of communication to the people you want to speak to.
It’s a very useful tool for discoverability.
The primary use of LinkedIn is as your professional profile to the world, but it’s not just for the purposes of recruitment – as many would say it is. Your LinkedIn profile should be up-to-date neat, spelling mistake free, with details of your experience, employment and education history so that others – both those you’re contacting and those who might want to contact you – can discover and understand who you are.
Understanding: Presenting a clear picture of yourself aids selling by building trust with your audience – showing that you’re a reputable person with something of value to offer.
Discoverability: Having all of your work listed, including projects worked on, articles written, awards won, etc, will increase the possibility of people approaching you. A public LinkedIn profile ranks well with Google, and including details on exactly what you offer and who you are looking to speak to can remove some of your leg work.
While some doubt still remains about the true value of LinkedIn, there is no question that the larger the overall network grows, the greater the value this service has to offer. Those users who see LinkedIn as more than just a recruitment tool and Rolodex will be better placed than others to reap that value.