Everyone who……

…..is working, might work or has worked should be on Linkedin.

If you’ve heard from me recently about connecting on LinkedIn, you’ve been part of my challenge to build up my connections.

I’ve decided to be connected with everyone I ever worked for, with or who worked for me.  A few observations from the LinkedIn push:

  • Given the tenure of my professional career, I should have 500+ contacts. Anything less than that is crazy.  Check my profile.  I’m not even close.  At a minimum, Linkedin is better at keeping records than I am.  Infinitely superior to any paper or electronic system I could use because other people are keeping their records up-to-date.
  • Young professionals who aren’t using Linkedin are nuts – this is an excellent time to build life long links to a huge range of contacts who will go off and do a myriad of different things.   Pursuing areas that could turn out to be ones you’d like to Link with down the road.
  • Middle managers who are ignoring Linkedin or are just completely swamped and can’t find time are taking a risk.  Is your job secure?  I hope so, but odds are the situation is riskier than it was before the economic downturn. Everything is going to be done more efficiently with new technologies which is going to eliminate jobs – oops, that’s a subject for a different blog.
  • Finding very senior people on Linkedin is a mixed bag.  Those heading to retirement or shunning more visibility just don’t seem to be there or they have one connection – their wife?  This will clearly change with time.  But remember, senior people, that civic groups, not-for-profits, new neighbors, your alum groups – they are all looking at profiles on Linkedin.  My senior folks, who are still “active on Linkedin”, seem younger.  Hmmm.  (Go ahead – use it to keep connected with your current circle!)

A few learnings to share with others on this journey:

  1. You need a picture.  People without pictures today seem like “business ghosts”.  Do they really exist?  And I don’t think you have to have a professionally shot picture, just a solid picture where it’s obvious it’s you. However, I don’t think a glamor shot is the way to go.  This is not the setting to look like a “babe”.
  2. One profile only. I see many instances of people with two profiles – very smart people.  This must be an area where users make mistakes in editing or updating profiles….and the Linkedin system doesn’t catch it.  I know they say that they have 100 million users but based on my experience, the number is 90 million.  There are many duplicates.
  3. A full profile.  This seems obvious but an additional reason to do this is you just can’t believe how many people have your name….I’ve had some doubts on whether I was getting the right person.  No pix….not enough profile cues…..control your own version of your name…..with an excellent profile.
  4. Check out the weekly email.  Linkedin does a good job pulling the most noteworthy changes in your network.  It’s how I’ve seen job changes that I didn’t realize were happening.
  5. Make Linkedin your home page.   Scan your eyes down who is doing what.  I know, I know what you are saying, “There is no time in the day”. You owe it to yourself to keep some visibility in your network.  See bullets two and three above:  this is a painless way to pull your head up from the corporate grind.
  6. And it’s not just for corporate types.  Anyone who wants a professional presence or has to market themselves in some manner should be on Linkedin.  Remember – who knows where your working life may take you. Personal services, professional services, teaching, not-for-profits, corporate life – they could all be part of the journey.

I wouldn’t worry terribly much about joining tons of speciality groups.  I’ve found that to be only modestly interesting but I would join any alumni groups as it makes it easier to find lost colleagues.

I recently used Linkedin to find a specialist for a client and found the resource very useful.  But a big network helps.  Don’t ask me to look for manufacturing experts.  I don’t have any manufacturing types in my network.  (Darn!)

Now back to looking for the guy I sat next to at Booz & Co back in 19xx…..And the guy I worked for in the fall of 19xx – am I spelling your name wrong?  Where are you?


PS:  If you read this blog and thought that Linkedin is just for job hunters….guess what, you’re behind the times.

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