Should You be on LinkedIn.com?
Linkedin.com started a few years ago as a neat way to build your network. It is based on the notion that if you invite your contacts into your group, and they invite their contacts, and so on, then you can connect with thousands of people. In fact, Harvard published a study a few years ago that indicated you could connect any 2 people on the planet with 5 levels of contacts. There are now 45 million people on Linkedin with thousands joining every week. Interesting yes, but now Linkedin has become a necessity for every professional, particularly job seekers. Just note this statistics: people with more than 20 connections are 34 times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than 5.
Linkedin is free and you start by setting up your profile. This is similar to a resume but a bit more conversational and shorter. You can now quickly build a network by searching for colleagues from school or work. Nice, but that’s not why you must be on it.
For one, 86% of employers indicate they will search for your online presence as part of the job screening process. Recruiters also use Linkedin extensively to find people, especially as they can see who you might know that they know. Importantly, Linkedin has an area where people can recommend you and they want to see that too.
Another nice thing about Linkedin, is that, unlike a job board, having your profile does not send a message to your employer that you are seeking a job. So in managing your online presence, you should start by having a professional Linkedin profile so it appears before your silly pictures on Facebook from the last Christmas party.
Tools that you should know about in LinkedIn include a powerful company search ability. Here you can identify companies that fit your criteria, as well as the people who work there (that are on LinkedIn). This is also a great way to identify the decision makers and people you want to network with to get an interview.
Linkedin is so robust that I could write a book on the subject (and many have). Let’s just say that it is an important tool for your career management plan.