Almost 4 years ago I took the plunge and opened a LinkedIn® account. Not really knowing the purpose of LinkedIn®, I essentially went through the steps without much consideration. At the time I was thinking- “This will be great, I’ll open the account and connect with past employees and acquaintances and not do anything more.” I never really considered the true power of LinkedIn®, that of true networking.
Here’s an interesting percentage I came across recently- did you know that between 60-90 percent of positions fulfilled are because of networking? Now consider what LinkedIn® advertises itself as- “LinkedIn® is the world’s largest professional network with over 120 million members” according to the LinkedIn® Learning Center. So my question is simply – are you a LinkedIn® member and if not, why not?
LinkedIn® provides a unique opportunity for many business professionals by allowing connections to be established outside of your current circle of acquaintances. Not only can you see your own network of friends and business relationships (first degree connections), you can also visibly discover those peoples’ connections (second degree) and then a third degree by viewing the second degree’s connections. This ability provides you with a fantastic opportunity to network that is much easier than picking up a phone and hoping someone knows someone!
You may be wondering, ‘okay, how does that help me.’ Quite simply, it can help you seek out information and important contacts. For example, let’s say you are job searching and would love to work at a specific company. The first thing you should do is see if you have any direct connections working at that company and if not, review their connections. Having the opportunity to speak with someone who works at the company you are interested in gives you a great advantage and you may be able to have them submit your resume or hand it in personally to HR or the hiring manager.
Or let’s say you receive a call for an interview. Looking up your interviewer in LinkedIn® will give you a great advantage during the interview because you will know a little more about the person. Having that extra edge can be useful when you discuss your skills and knowledge or give you the advantage of tailoring questions you may have.
LinkedIn® is a powerful tool, not only for job searching but for maintaining professional connections and keeping doors open. With the ease of networking, staying up-to-date with your connections, and the ability to learn of new opportunities, in my opinion you are doing yourself a disservice not being a member.
To see if you have any connections at a specific company- type the company name in the search bar and on the right side of your screen you will see how many first and second degree connections you have at a specific company. Please note – the company has to have a LinkedIn® page to provide this information.
To look up an individual in LinkedIn®- type the person’s name in the search section in the upper right – please note, some users keep their profiles limited to the public.