LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site founded in 2002 and launched in 2003. I like to think of it as a professional networking version of the popular MySpace and Facebook sites. As of October 2008, it had more than 30 million registered users, spanning 150 industries. Statisitical information grabbed from Wikipedia.
I like to think of this site as your personal business card holder. Instead of having a rollodex of business cards taking up room on your desk you should use Linkedin. The people in the list are called Connections. These are your electronic business cards which can’t be lost or ruined when you spill coffee on them. On Facebook/MySpace it would be equivilant to Friends. Users can invite anyone to become a connection, but the person has to verify they know you before you are officially connected.
Ways connections are used:
- Use your connections to build your network. Make your life easier and build a network. Ever heard of the phrase, “it’s who you know, not what you know.” When people in your network change jobs they will often update their profile so you don’t lose that connection. With business cards once that person leaves you are often stuck not knowing what company they went on to. When you want to meet someone, you can see if that person knows anyone that you know and gain an introduction through a shared individual you both know. Talk about a easy ice breaker!
- Your connections can post jobs so you can finally work next to your best friend when the opportunity becomes available. Im keeping my fingers crossed for CEO of Apple in California.
- Job seekers can review your profile and it can act as your resume. You no longer have to format resumes for each new job you apply for, or trim it to 1 page! Your profile can have recomendations on it which avoids having to ask someone for a letter of recomendation over and over again. You can show your new job that you are online/savy since it is becoming increasingly more popular and job seekers want you to have these skills of being able to talk/network online.
Linkedin Groups allows users to establish new business relationships by joining alumni, industry, or professional groups. There are even groups for people who prefer red staplers over black. Michigan State Univesity for example has a alumni group set up for most states so it is easy to meet fellow alumni when you get a job in a new area.