The value of LinkedIn

LinkedIn can be an amazing online resource. It’s a lot like an online rolodex, but is much more than that. Even before LinkedIn started beefing up its site with groups and discussions, there was already a lot of value in it. Here are the top five ways I see LinkedIn being of great value to professionals:

1.) It’s an online directory of people you have met and/or have a business relationship with. For business associates who move or change jobs, you don’t have to worry about keeping updated with their address, phone number and email; they simply update their LinkedIn profile, and voila, you instantly have their new information.

2.) You can use it to find other professionals in your field. Especially now that LinkedIn has groups. I have created two groups; Credit Union Employees and EverythingCU members.

3.) You can use it to get referred to professionals that you are looking to connect with. Say that you are a credit union business development officer, and you are trying to get a meeting with the VP of Human Resources at a Select Employee Group in town. You can look up that person on LinkedIn, and find out who the two of you have as common friends. If you are one degree removed, you can simply ask your friend for an endorsement with your intended contact. If you are two degrees removed (friend of a friend knows the contact), then you can utilize LinkedIn’s InMail, which has a far greater likelihood of being successful than a “cold” email.

4.) Establishing your profile, resume, and credentials makes it easy for media and other professionals to find YOU. For instance, a while back a reporter for our local business magazine was looking to do an article on local business bloggers. Through my LinkedIn profile, she saw that I was friends with another local business blogger that she knew, but didn’t have the email address for. I happily supplied the reporter with the email address, and was later interviewed along with my friend for the article.

Now that LinkedIn also offers discussion, you can utilize LinkedIn to ask questions as well as position yourself as an expert in the field by answering questions posted.

5.) LinkedIn is also a terrific tool for headhunters, or for those looking for a new job. I don’t have first-hand experience here, but I can see what a great resource this is in that situation, which is similar to point 3 above.

If you want to connect with me, here’s my public LinkedIn profile.

Those are my top five values in utilizing LinkedIn. What did I miss?

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6 Responses to “The value of LinkedIn”

  1. Matthew Says:

    Linkedin was added to the About.com Top 10 Employment list with 2 other sites but linkedin is still the only social netwoking site on the list. 3 newest job sites on top list are:

    http://www.linkedin.com (professional networking)
    http://www.indeed.com (aggregated job listings)
    http://www.realmatch.com (matches you to the perfect job)

    Good luck to all those searching for jobs.

  2. Trey Reeme Says:

    I’ve seen much more value in LI since the recent functionality upgrades – allowing blog integration through WordPress, Amazon reading lists, etc.

    It’s also a pretty good tool for seeing who might be looking for a new job. Nothing says seeking new employer like a ton of new recommendations and connections. 🙂

  3. Garry Says:

    It’s also a great alumni networking tool. Many colleges and universities are setting up groups of alums. If you went to a smaller school with graduates who are far flung, it can be a great way to keep up with what your classmates are doing and make business connections with people you know but don’t always keep up with.

    Plus you’ll find people in your field who may have gone to your school years before or after you. This happened to me recently when I found out that a business contact I had was a graduate of my tiny liberal arts college. LinkedIn makes the world even smaller.

  4. Sam Zipursky Says:

    Hi there Morriss,

    Good list of benefits for using LinkedIn. I’ve been using the service for a while now but have not been as active as I probably should be. With so many different social media outlets calling for our attention it seems to be difficult to focus enough time and energy on all of them.

    In your case do you find that you use LinkedIn and your blog for most of your networking and communications or are you also staying on top of Twitter and Facebook as well?

    Another think I’d like to add to you list is the fact that LinkedIn seems to be a bit more guarded and most people don’t just randomly add contacts they don’t really know like some of the other social networks. I do really like that aspect of it and have found that I keep LinkedIn for more professional contacts and Facebook for personal friends and family.

    Thanks for the list,

    Sam

  5. Morriss Partee Says:

    Hi Sam,

    Indeed, LinkedIn is much more suited to the business world in the way it is set up. It’s recommended to only add connections that you personally know; whereas Facebook and twitter are more oriented to meeting new people, and are much more suited to more personal-type interactions. Nevertheless Facebook has many business opportunities, and a couple years back I heard that Facebook has supplanted LinkedIn as the networking site of choice among those in Silicon Valley. I do use Facebook and twitter myself. In the case of twitter, it’s important to view it as a river that you can take a sip from when you want or need to, rather than anything like email which nearly demands that everything coming to your inbox needs to be acted on in one way or another.

    I’ve also made the decision to only add those on Facebook that I have met in person or online, or that I have heard of or been recommended to connect with. I won’t add complete strangers on Facebook because I have so many friends and acquaintances there as it is. Twitter is a different matter; if someone seems interesting and a good twitterer, I’ll follow even if I don’t know him or her. The only way that I maintain some semblance of sanity on twitter is by using Tweetdeck which lets me sort contact-streams in the way that I want.

    Great questions and observations!

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