Using LinkedIn to Further Your Career

by Carl Dierschow

LinkedIn

Earlier this year, Microsoft commissioned a study which asked hiring managers how much they used the internet to check out prospective candidates. Here’s a couple of interesting results:

  • 57% used professional and business networking sites (such as LinkedIn).

  • 98% used SOME internet resources to check out candidates.

This tells you that you need to have a positive presence on the internet, because your next boss is most likely going to check you out – perhaps even before ever setting up an interview.

Google your own name.

For professionals, LinkedIn is one of the best places to have a presence. A solid LinkedIn profile will show employers that you have great skills and are interested in making a larger contribution to the world.

But there’s a lot of other aspects to LinkedIn that many aren’t aware of. First, who do you connect with on the site? These people may well be the source of your next job. These connections also tell employers what kinds of networks you might be able to tap to help you do your job and make that larger contribution.

Second, what groups do you belong to? There’s a great many professional groups on LinkedIn, with other people who are active in your fields of interest. An employer can tell a lot about your career by the groups you’re active in.

Third, how are you contributing to relevant conversations in the LinkedIn groups? This is where you can really show your expertise and desire to contribute to others in your profession. Just remember: You should always be interacting as a professional. This isn’t the place to put others down.

Fourth, you can find out a lot about prospective employers by looking for THEIR presence on LinkedIn. Often there’s company profiles, and you can search for current or past employees that you might already be connected with. I’ve been able to use these connections to get unfiltered information about companies in my area, and even to give me introductions to hiring managers.

As the network on LinkedIn grows, it’s worth your time to develop and expand your professional presence on the site. Develop the connections which will make you more influential in your field. Research the companies and industries you want to work in.

It may just give you your next job!

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