In December, I detailed how I started with LinkedIn, since then my LI community has grown and I periodically take time to see what is happening with my contacts.
As a career professional, I value the way social networking enables people to understand networking in general. When I am speaking with my clients, I often promote LinkedIn (LI) as an opportunity to see who you are connected to and to understand how networks work.
Common issues I see people struggling with on LinkedIn:
- How do you create or write your LinkedIn profile? Many people seem to have a problem figuring out how to use the application and if they get that far, they seem to struggle with how to build an effective profile. I have seen profiles with just a listing of jobs or schooling without any details. Much like a resume, LI profiles need to be well written to be effective.
- How do you connect or build your network on LinkedIn? I understand this because it was the way I handled LI in the beginning. As I said in my initial post about LI, I left myself alone out there for a long time until I was rescued by some friends who chose to connect with me. I didn’t understand it, there weren’t many tools out there to help you understand it at that point in the early days either.
- Privacy rules: Some people have chosen to lock their network. I know that I have colleagues who are recruiters who lock their network so they won’t get raided or to protect the privacy of their connections. At the risk of opening a can of worms, I will comment on locking shortly.
Solutions – How to build your profile:
- Resources: My colleague, Jason Alba wrote the book, “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?” and recently updated it with the 2nd edition and he also recently released the new DVD, “LinkedIn for Jobseekers”. I encourage jobseekers who are confused to get a copy of either the book or the DVD which walks you through how to optimize LinkedIn. Jason’s blogs also give excellent advice on continuing to build your LI knowledge and your overall career and networking success.
- Career professionals: Many career professionals, like myself will work with you to write and create your LinkedIn profile. Just check the services page of a career professional’s website or go to one of the professional organizations like Career Directors International and seek out members who offer LinkedIn Profile development or optimization. Getting the right words out there makes all the difference.
Solutions – How to build your network:
- LinkedIn makes suggestions of who you might know that are already on LinkedIn. Its powerful search engine seems to be able to find commonality between your interests or your location. At times, I add to my network using that list.
- LI’s search engine also can be used to search for people who you might like to connect with. You might search your old place of employment, specific people, your city, companies you would like to work for, schools, or any number of potential connection points.
- Your existing network in your address book can be uploaded to LI. I have a broad Outlook database I connected to LI and I get suggestions from LI when one of my contacts becomes part of LI and I can choose to send an invitation at that time.
- LI’s Dashboard. I let LI’s Dashboard application become part of my Outlook application. It lets me know which of my contacts are part of LI already and I can choose again to connect through an easy built-in invitation.
Solutions – Privacy Issues
- You might have a legitimate reason for locking your network and I don’t pretend that I know all the answers. I know that I asked a recruiter friend why she locked hers and it was to protect her connections.
- In my world, the power of LinkedIn is the understanding of who is connected to who. If everyone locked down their networks, it seems like you might as well just keep people in your address book because there is no benefit to LI if you aren’t gaining an understanding of who is connected to who and what their special talents are. I welcome disagreement here because I know that there are other people who may have great reasons for not sharing their LI network.
LinkedIn is a tool that helps you understand networking. If you need help with your LinkedIn profile, contact me at JulieWalraven@designresumes.com. I would be glad to help!