Linked In on LinkedIn?
Recently, during a lunch with co-workers, the LinkedIn site came up as a topic of conversation. And once we got past the usual jokes that people often make about those of us who use such services, I began to think about just what the benefits are of maintaining a professional profile and network online. Here's what I've come up with.
Although you may be currently employed and feel secure in your job, it is quite possible that a change in company fortunes will result in layoffs. Or, you could find yourself cut because of a change in management that no longer values your contribution. If you start to build your network when you're looking for work, you run the risk of offending people since your only reason for contacting them is to get a job. It would be better to keep in touch with your network long before you need to tap in to them. You may also find that you can help someone out which would make it even more likely that you'd receive help when you need it.
Control Your Internet Profile
Checking up on people using search engines is common. I do it whenever my employer hires someone new and even when interviewing candidates. Working in the web industry, I like to see that people have a presence since it can be a good indicator that they "get" the web. Joining various networks and building a website of your own also allows you to control the information that people are likely to find about you. In this way you can put your best foot forward.
Centralized Contact Information
When people change jobs, the e-mail address you have for them often stops working. So how do you get in touch with a fellow professional if you don't have their e-mail address? One such solution is to connect with them using a service like LinkedIn. This way, you don't need to know their e-mail address since they will likely update their profile whenever it's needed.
Put Your Name in Front of Managers
I'll admit that the possibility of having someone hire you just because they found you on an online network for professionals is low, but it's still possible. If you happen to be in a very niche industry or have very specific skills, you may actually be one of a small number of people that come up for a search. If you don't a have profile, then no one can find you.
So there you have it. Some compelling, I hope, reasons to join business networks such as LinkedIn. If you're wondering what a public profile looks like, check out the profile for me.