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.
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?