Oh Wednesday, you so don’t deserve the bad rap that you get. I love Wednesday because it means I’ve tackled the most important to-dos for the week, and what’s left are the smaller, more fun tasks on my list. Now that my massive load of laundry is done, and my lunches are made for the week (hello, crockpot!), I can focus on my online life a bit more. Aside from the obvious blogging that I do, I’ve got a lot of other social media to keep up with, and you’ll never guess what my current favourite is… LinkedIn.
I know what you may be thinking. LinkedIn is lame. It’s for boring people, like lawyers and engineers (hey!). It’s plain and generic-looking and so blahblahblah. Ah, no! Cast aside these dreadful thoughts! I promise you, LinkedIn may in fact be great for us geeky/techy/corporate types, but it’s also for you, I promise. If you’re familiar with LinkedIn, you’re certainly aware that it’s equal parts online resume showcase, network-builder, and purveyor of industry information. But are you using it to your benefit, or are you leaving your profile to sit dormant? Do you even have a profile?
Let’s face it, the resume as our parents knew it… it’s dying a slow and painful death. In its place, potential (and current) employers are looking online for talent–it’s cheaper, it’s faster, and it’s far more comprehensive than those ol’ 2-pagers ever could’ve been. For us creative types who live to share information via the web (using twitter, pinterest, blogs, online portfolios, etc), those can be linked up to your account as you see relevant (at your discretion, of course). And if your goal is to be a marketing mogul, creative journalist, or world dominator, what better way to link together your past successes and work samples, all in one place?
Alright, well what if you’re an entrepreneur, and want to start/have started your own business? There’s
an app a group for that. Get industry updates, ask questions of more experienced professionals, increase your company’s profile, and build your brand as an expert in your field. All of these things can help catch the eye of future partners, clients, or mentors, and reinforce their belief in your capabilities and online ingenuity. Even the most creative-minded and out-of-the-box thinkers need a medium through which to convey their prowess, so why not one with over 100 million existing members?
And if you’re like me, a young professional without 10+ years of industry experience, you can use the site to pose questions to individuals with heaps of experience, or find out what it’d be like to work in a different department, field, or country. It still blows me away how much people whom I’ve never met are keen to help me out, and provide a bit of insight and advice. Gosh the online world is friendly!
As someone who’s only recently been turned on to the deeper side of LinkedIn, I’m finding it to be such a useful tool, and can’t imagine where I’d be finding all of this information otherwise. And the fact of the matter is that with so much online activity in our generation, we’re now judged on our ability to adapt–if your online brand is non-existant, that can be just as detrimental as one that paints you as a 24/7 party animal. Sure, we all have our personal facebook pages that we like to keep off limits. But when a potential employer is trying to get a better sense of who I am , and decides to google my name, they’ll be far less concerned with my locked profile if they can come up with a surfeit of other media from which they can judge my personal brand.
So okay, I’ll get real for a minute. I know that I work in a field where blogging and tweeting and pinning are not the most effective means for communicating my skills (well, the ones that pertain to my profession). So in the same way, perhaps LinkedIn isn’t the most optimal for you. But I blog and tweet and pin because I like it, first and foremost, and also because it’s just one more thing I can do to convey my personality to anyone who might be interested.
If you’re still not sold, check out some more tips and uses for LinkedIn here and here (and more great infographic stats here). And let me know–do you use LinkedIn? Or do you have something else that better allows you to display your professional skills? It’s undeniable that the internet is taking over a lot of things, and it’s not surprising that this includes hiring and recruitment. And since we’ve all got to work for a living, it’s my personal opinion that the more you can get your name out there, the better. What’s your take on it?