I joined LinkedIn in mid 2010, alongside roughly 70 million other users. Since then, LinkedIn has grown from strength to strength and now boasts over 250 million users. This post would seem almost irrelevant save for the fact that I know plenty of friends and colleagues that aren’t signed up. In my opinion, there is very little risk compared to reward, when weighing up whether to invest some time to set up an account. Here’s how LinkedIn has helped me.
LinkedIn enhances physical interaction
I find myself in situations of conflict at work from time to time. At a prior role, I was involved in dispute work and in particular, would attend mediation conferences representing my employer. In my current role, I am constantly required to negotiate with new people both within and external to the organisation. In situations like these where the first meeting is make or break, leading up to the meeting, I will search for the people on LinkedIn. If nothing else, this can assist me on a purely psychological level, putting myself at ease that I know at least a little about the person who is going to walk through the door. In other cases, something you pick up on a person’s profile can affect how you steer the conversation. This is particularly the case in an interview situation where perhaps you have common interests or affiliations with the interviewer. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like a harmless online sticky beak.
LinkedIn is the internet’s water cooler
I have only recently been introduced to the big wide world of networking (having previously considered it a dirty and unnecessary word) and find that connecting with somebody on LinkedIn after that first meeting is a nice gesture that says ‘I didn’t think you were an arrogant (insert offensive name of choice here), let’s keep in touch’. I also really enjoy being able to exchange a quick hello with a former colleague or Manager, regardless of whether I worked with them 5 years ago or if they’re on the other side of the world. It’s a casual, pleasant way of interacting with people who you’re not ‘Facebook close’ with. It’s basically a coffee date.
LinkedIn is the career equivalent of passive income
Passive income is an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it. Well, LinkedIn is the career equivalent of this, and it’s one of my favourite perks. You invest perhaps a night or two to get your LinkedIn profile up to scratch (set it) and go about your life (forget it).
Then one day you check your phone at work and there’s an email from a recruiter. She has a client in the automotive industry looking for somebody with your qualifications. Would you be interested in an interview? A few months later you apply for a position in the Hotel industry. You’ve gone through the initial phone screening however the salary wasn’t enticing enough so you left it that. Later in the day, you notice that a GM at said Hotel chain has looked at your profile. All of a sudden the recruiter is calling you back and offering to meet your salary expectations. These scenarios have both happened to me and although I turned both opportunities down as they weren’t right for me at that particular time, it was extremely flattering and reassuring to be approached. In real life, only people who know you can tap you on the shoulder. On LinkedIn, anything can happen.
LinkedIn connects you to potential employers
The LinkedIn Jobs section will bring up advertisements you may be interested in, based on your profile. I find that not only are the jobs relevant, I will hardly ever see the equivalent advertisement on a job seeking website. Whilst a job seeking website is full of recruitment companies advertising jobs under a cloud of secrecy about who the employer is, in-house recruitment is comfortable advertising out and proud on LinkedIn. Therefore, if you’re not on LinkedIn, you may be missing out on your dream job.
LinkedIn helps you benchmark
I know. By now you’re probably thinking, this girl is a massive online stalker. Hear me out. When I was considering whether to start the MBA program, I wondered whether it would complement my existing degree and what kind of career path it could set me upon. Cue, a LinkedIn keyword search for people who had completed both a law and MBA qualification.
When I was feeling down about not being able to find a private practice legal position, a search for those who had also become recently qualified made me realise that many others were in the same boat and perhaps I should stop being so hard on myself. In my previous post, I spoke about my slight apprehension that perhaps the selection criteria applied to Melbourne Business School’s part-time MBA had been relaxed, and how maybe I was silly to be proud. Well, joining the LinkedIn group for the part-time cohort has definitely put an end to that thinking. Yep, I’ll just slink back to feeling intimidated instead.
As a side note, I’m about 50 people away from having more connections on LinkedIn than on Facebook. That in itself is probably worthy of a little psychoanalysis.