Enter LinkedIn, a haven for professional networking with an executive representation of all of the Fortune 500 companies. LinkedIn has a lot to offer regardless of where you are in your career, especially with the economy the way it is.
hould Businesses Care About LinkedIn?
Of course they should. LinkedIn has over 20 million members. LinkedIn can be used by businesses and departments of any shape and size, and requires little social media know-how. Search Engine Guide’s Jennifer Laycock recommends LinkedIn to small businesses that are looking to start using social media but just don’t have a lot of time to do so. Here’s an HR perspective from Jim Stroud of The Recruiter’s Lounge:
“LinkedIn is a tool recruiters cannot ignore. Recruiters who do not want to be bogged down with resumes turn to LinkedIn to find quality candidates and their peers. On the flip side, some recruiters use it to build up a massive list of contacts that they can use for email campaigns. This of course, is not the intention of LinkedIn, but its a fact of life. LinkedIn is becoming the next “Monster” with more and more recruiters turning to it.”
How Do You Get the Most Out of LinkedIn?
The old adage that “it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know” still holds value. LinkedIn takes this thought one step further, making it “who you will know soon to be of utmost importance.” Using LinkedIn, I’ve trained small businesses to spread their wings and get connected with companies that they might otherwise have thought were beyond reach, and to the persons they were looking for in those companies.
So, how do you meet people? Well, you can’t throw sheep or sick your zombies after them. There’s also no chat. And guess what? That’s totally fine. Many who use instant messaging aggregate different chat networks into a single app such as Digsby, Trillian, or Pidgin. So who needs another chat app?
Here are seven features LinkedIn does have that you should take advantage of:
Quick Lookup – Look up who you are having that next business meeting with. You’ll be able to break the ice right away.
Post questions to others in your industry. The Yahoo Answers look and feel of this feature has definitely made LinkedIn more active and interesting. A public question can be responded to by anyone that works in really any discipline. Such was the case where Derek Edmond spotted a discussion occurring about the trustworthiness of SEO.
Recommendations – Have clients or co-workers post recommendations, which future employers and clients can view to gauge your skill and level of trustworthiness. Conversely, if you’re an employer, these imply trustworthiness for a potential freelancer or new hire.
Background checks – Look up potential new hires or freelancers. This should be right up there in an HR manager’s toolbelt.
See what your competition is up to – Keep track of what others in your industry are up to. Network updates gives you a feed of recent activity, so you can see who your connections have friended, groups they have joined, and the people they have recommended. You’ll even be able to see when people are switching jobs.
Introductions – Use people you already know to help make introductions. It’s a great way to get in the door with a company you need to contact.