Is LinkedIn Worth your Time?

13 11 2014

followonlinkedin_1

LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site on the internet, with more than 320 million members. Many of your colleagues, friends, family, and others tell you that you should be on LinkedIn, so you joined, filled out a sparse profile, added some connections and left it alone. Or you filled in your profile, added a bunch of connections, but don’t login on a regular basis because you’re very busy, and you don’t see any reason to do so. So, given how busy you are, should you be investing more time, on a regular basis, to use LinkedIn?

Well, of course, I say “Yes”! But why? … because LinkedIn is beneficial whether you are job searching, performing business development, or would like to network with your peers to share information and referrals. I will address each one below:

Job Search: Let’s say that you’re working in a job you generally enjoy, and you don’t anticipate any pending layoffs, so you’re not actively job searching. Have you ever been laid off? Do you know anyone who has? I specialize in the outplacement field assisting clients who have been laid off. The vast majority of them have told me that they didn’t see it coming, or ignored the signs, or thought it would happen, but not to them. Many of them had little or no presence on LinkedIn, and now they were scrambling to put up or update their profile, build their network, get recommendations and use LinkedIn to support their job search.

LinkedIn is both a networking and job search site. There are jobs posted, and you can apply via LinkedIn. However, the real value of LinkedIn is for networking, and networking efforts get muddy when you’re job searching. It is much easier to explore industries, companies and professions when you’re not actively job searching as others are more willing to share their knowledge and expertise with you. Once you’re job searching, the typical response is “send me your resume”, “apply on our website”, or “I’ll let you know if I hear of anything”, and you rarely hear anything from them afterward.

Yes, you can utilize LinkedIn when you’re actively job searching – you can find contacts at companies who are hiring and increase your opportunities to obtain interviews. You can do extensive research about companies, industries, professions/fields, and people in those professions/fields, companies and industries.

The bottom line is that when you need to find a job, you are playing catch-up, and while learning how to use LinkedIn, you’re also working on your resume, job searching and interviewing skills. So many have admitted that they wish they had known much earlier how important and helpful LinkedIn would be once they had the need. So, the choice is being proactive or waiting until the unexpected layoff happens, and then scrambling.

One more thought – would you be interested in learning about an opportunity that is better than the job you have now? Most people would answer, “yes”, of course. By having a full profile and large network on LinkedIn, it increases the probability that recruiters and hiring managers will find you for opportunities you would not know of otherwise.

Business Development: Do you already have enough business? No need for more? Do you foresee a time when you might have to expand and acquire new clients? Every sales professional and business owner has to devote a certain amount of time to new client acquisition; otherwise, you are at risk of losing clients through attrition without replacing them. Will your business grow or contract? It depends on you.

If you are in a sales/business development role, including an owner of a small business, LinkedIn offers you a huge database where you can find and contact potential clients, strategic business (referral) partners, vendors/suppliers and service providers, and industry peers.

Think of LinkedIn as a new type of B2B Yellow Pages with the benefit of discovering that you know people who are already connected with the LinkedIn members in whom you are interested. Plus, you get a profile that tells you more than a Yellow Pages listing or ad, including credible recommendations (testimonials). Now, you can find who you’re looking for, and you can leverage your network to get introductions (referrals) and recommendations!

LinkedIn profiles has fields such as Name, Title, Company, School, Location, Keywords, Industry, etc., so if you know what field(s) you want to search, you can find who you are looking for. And, this database continues to grow 2 members every second! LinkedIn most likely will become a new CRM tool where you can house your contacts as well as your historical notes and other pertinent information.

LinkedIn allows you to find people through the internet that would be out of your physical reach otherwise. The more you use LinkedIn to actively search for contacts, the more your business will grow with new clients and referral sources that you would have not known of previously.

The key, therefore, is not to stop what you’re already doing to obtain new business, but to add this new paradigm to your marketing toolkit. Start with a few minutes per day, and as you invest time and effort into LinkedIn, you will begin to reap the new benefits that LinkedIn offers.

Networking: Let’s say that you’re not job searching and you don’t want to even think about a possible layoff – or your business is going gangbusters, and you see no need to search for new business. What about learning and sharing with your peers? A contact of mine loves his job and has no interest in changing, but he did finally realize that he can learn from others in his field. So, he’s joined industry related groups, and he’s now exchanging and learning with others discussing and sharing best practices.

Have you stopped learning? Do you know all you need to know to remain competitive and be at your best? I suggest that you can always learn from others, and you can also benefit from sharing your expertise with others who will learn from you. Reaching out to peers in your field, and engaging in discussions in related groups is a valuable resource that LinkedIn offers the networker.

So, the question is whether you prefer to be proactive or reactive, whether or not you believe that your job is absolutely 100% safe, you don’t need any new business, or you could not learn from anyone else. I hope that you will choose to be proactive, invest regular time with LinkedIn and be prepared for the future, and actually have direct influence over your future.

Would like to learn more, please get in touch – my contact info is below

Stuart Fried     (818) 577-1347     scfried@aol.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/stuartfried

Career Exploration / Job Search – http://careerspecialist.net

Business Development – http://socialmedia2connect.com

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