Posted by Mary Beth Dahl on March 6, 2014
Making connections seems to be in the top ten of how to get ahead in the world.
For us quiet people, getting out there and meeting people can be exhausting, though. But no worries, now there’s a place to meet people in the working world without actually needing to leave your house. LinkedIn is the a cross between a job search site and Facebook.
Having been around for over 10 years, LinkedIn is no newcomer to the social media world. However, it has changed and grown over the last few years. It has moved from simply being a virtual business pool of talent, job experience, and connections to a social platform where people can reconnect with college buddies or reach out to strangers in the business world. I’ve done both.
LinkedIn is similar to Facebook and Twitter in that you make connections with other people, post comments, have a timeline, can send messages, join groups, and create your own profile.
However, LinkedIn mostly focuses on professional connections
The LinkedIn profile is designed to be a virtual resume, and when you file through the People You May Know section you can see the person’s picture (if they’ve added one) AND their job situation. You can post your work history, talents, and achievements. It’s like a dating service for jobs. Although they haven’t really gotten to matching people up too much, though I think they’re working on it. I keep getting messages about places they think I might want to work.
There is also a section where you can endorse others for their expertise and be endorsed by others. That can be encouraging or not.
Another nifty feature is being able to get a peek at who’s been peeking at you. LinkedIn tracks who has looked at your profile and will list them for you. Not all of them, though. You have to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium (and pay) to see all the people who’ve been looking at you. Not sure what you’re supposed to actually do with this information. “Dear Mr. Snoop, I noticed you were checking out my profile. Are you looking for a fantastic writer to pen your next masterpiece?” I’m not so sure that would be the best play.
If Facebook is a party with all your family and friends, then LinkedIn is that mixer you go to with people you barely know to try to network your way up the ladder. I’m not knocking it. Advancing professionally depends a great deal on who you know and making a great impression.
Is it concerning to anyone else that there are more and more ways to flub that first impression these days?
If you have a poor showing on LinkedIn and a low number of followers and friends on Twitter and Facebook (and by low, I mean under 2,000), the guy hiring for your dream job might just pass you by for the lad who looks great on the internet, but isn’t able to string together three complete sentences without checking his phone.
Personally, I’ve specifically tried to stay away from the guy with my dream job until I’m ready to make an impressive showing. Seriously, not sure how long that is going to take at this point. Of course, maybe he’s already checked me out. I can only see five of the people who’ve been snooping around my LinkedIn profile. Oh dear.
If you’re looking for a job, run your own business, or need a strong network, then LinkedIn is probably a good idea. But it, like every other social media platform, takes keeping up with. If you never check it, update it, or pay it any attention, then it will return the favor.
Personally, I just like looking through all the pictures and reading people’s profiles. It’s great! It’s almost as good as looking through their photos on Facebook. Don’t be surprised if you check your LinkedIn snoop page and find that I’ve been reading about you! I’m not a stalker. Just curious.