Are connected through Linkedin yet?

Are you the type of person at a party who just wants to meet everyone? Do you join multiple clubs to network and get familiar with as many friendly faces as possible? A lot of us do that in our local and immediate communities. One of the most common conversation topics is whether we have mutual friends with the people we meet.

Well now that same feeling of networking and bonding is on a whole new scale thanks to professional sites like Linkedin. We used to have to visit countless events to find out opportunities from individuals. But thanks to Linkedin, the global village just got a bit more social. Say you're in an international organisation. You probably didn't previously know who did a job like yours, in another country. You might have needed to track down the address to send email or snail mail to a decision maker. We live in an exciting era where we can discover friends of friends we never knew we had. This can lead to more opportunities and targeted news information than ever before. What did we ever do before Linkedin?

Linkedin is an important part of any modern career because it creates a professional public image for every person and it allows us to connect to like-minded professionals. We live in an online world where everyone has at least a bit of public presence. A person's profile (which looks a bit like a resume) is not just for job seekers. If you are trying to establish your reputation within your current role, Linkedin is a way for clients or other stakeholders to learn more about individuals like you in any organisation. This site also establishes the reputation of an entire organisation through company profiles.

This is the most popular online place to showcase the work you have done and the skills you have developed. An individual profile looks a bit like a resume, but with much more purposes. Most people at least list their past/present jobs and educational qualifications. Work samples and projects can be added to detail how your skills have translated into practice. You can also list individual skills. Contact information is a must. Aspects like this make it look like simply an online resume. But there is a lot more to this social networking site.

Emphasis is on the word "social." The idea is not to just set up a page about yourself and leave it alone. There is no need to constantly instant message people or write on walls, but there are great benefits to connecting with people through the site. You can search for connections with people from categorised companies, locations, and industries. Young beginners can see people from the occupations they aim for, and then see how those people became qualified. Then you can get similar qualifications to the ones you saw on those profiles. Call it vicarious learning or role models. 

Linkedin is a great place to find a job or an employee because you can contact people who may be a friend of a friend. You never know when someone from your own extended community is hiring or looking for a job. A variety of contacts (displayed on a profile) shows an individual didn't just leave a place and forget about everybody. A social person will have kept in contact with past colleagues and class mates. In industries looking for people with interpersonal skills, you can see here proof of a social life that isn't as easy to identify in resumes.

Prediction is important on this social site which intuitively gets to know you and your preferences. The news section is tailored to your interests. So my news page only gives me headlines about marketing and social media. But your news page will be about something more tailored to your needs. You don't have to change any settings for this, it just happens. This predictive site also suggests jobs based on info in your profile. Seek might give your search results, but Linkedin shows you what job advertisements you need before you even search. Oh how we have changed since the days of clipping out job advertisements in the newspaper.

Another difference between Linkedin and Seek is that the former also lets us contact people from companies for a variety of reasons. Maybe the company isn't hiring now, but could hire later. Or maybe you are a salesperson and need to find the decision makers of an organisation? This is a one-stop-shop for contacting precisely the people you need for a sale or for industry help. How brilliant is that?

You might need information on a company simply for research purposes or out of curiosity. Most major organisations have profiles on Linkedin so viewers can see its recent updates, locations, industry, company type/age/size (including how many employees work there), and of course the main official web site. There are plenty of reasons why school kids or industry professionals alike might need info here about companies.

The popularity of Linkedin is growing as many careers departments at colleges are now recommending students and graduates should use it. Tech-savvy older folk have also caught onto the trend. So make the most of the resources available to you and sign up to Linkedin, and then connect to my profile.


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