Congratulations! After having read Part 1 of this article series, you've decided to join LinkedIn, the #1 professional, business-oriented social network on the planet. You're now connected with and have direct access to an online network of 65,000,000+ people, along with public profiles that include their employment history, education, experience, reading preferences, common interest groups, references, presentations, blogs, discussions and updates. This is like living at the public library where each book is a person's biography, including yours. Truly, life is a conversation.
Like it or not, information about our lives has all become metadata in an information laden universe... The amazing reality, however, is that unlike the traditional universe we are accustomed to wondering about without much certainty of knowledge or ability to influence, the LinkedIn 'universe' is inhabited with millions of people that are all accessible to communicate with and interact... each universal member possessing their own 'Digital DNA' that makes them unique and special. Each member is able to participate and contribute wtih each other, ultimately benefiting the entire 'universe' and collectively advancing the mindshare of its being. In no small way, an excellent example of synergy.
As a LinkedIn member and user for nearly three years, this author has learned about effectively using the tool and leveraging the 'conversations'. A high-level overview regarding how to leverage LinkedIn to 'join in the conversation':
- A key and foundational aspect to the LinkedIn network is that it utilizes the Six Degrees of Separation concept of networking. More specifically, you have direct access to every connection of each person in your 1st degree network. Do the math, this is a significant fact with enormous power.
- Become comfortable with the Group concept and join as many relevant groups as you have time for. The Groups directory is searchable. Once a member of a group, you have access to all the standard group features including job postings, discussions and news. Participation can lead to learning about job postings.
- The Home Page of your LinkedIn profile features updates for people in your network, group activity and identifies other people on LinkedIn that you share common interests with which you are not yet connected.
- Leverage the 'Applications' tool subset of LinkedIn. Specifically Google Presenations or Slideshare, BoxNet, Amazon Reading List and Blog Links. These tools all contribute to letting others know who you are and what you are about. Collectively, they lead to enhancing your presence and credibility as an individual, job-seeker, reference, expert, etc.
- Contrary to what your parents and teachers have told you in school, be open to accepting invitations from nearly everyone on LinkedIn. Before accepting an invitation, however, take the time to view the inviting person's profile, looking for common interests, background, etc. as well as any 'red flags' that might cause you not to accept the invitation.
- Another key to growing as a person and enhancing your credibility on LinkedIn is reading and participating in news and discussions, offering to answer questions, posing questions for others to answer and providing and receiving recommendations. These are the gold nuggets in the LinkedIn Universe.
- Make sure to cusomize the URL or link to your public profile to contain your name rather than a number. Once done, then include the link to your proflie in your email signature. You can optionally use one of several 'View My Profile on LinkedIn' buttons to provide a hyperlink for others to see and use (see how this author uses that capability below).
Watch and learn why Social Media isn't a fad, it's a fundamental shift in the way we communicate:
As an understatement, LinkedIn is a powerful service that can create exposure, enhance your
professional equity (you as a brand) and connect you with industry experts to build mutually beneficial relationships. The 'conversations' you engage in lead to sharing knowledge with others and building respect and appreciation for other people. Key to LinkedIn is a mindset of sharing and communicating and developing yourself by helping others become a habit. In turn, living this helping 'lifestyle' ultimately enhances your own value as an individual and establishes yourself as a trustworthy member of the LinkedIn community.
Get your Link On at LinkedIn... be a part of something much larger than yourself. Now, Pay It Forward and experience how good it feels to help others. Got Some Good?