If or when you look for a job you’ve got to employ multiple methods and use every tool at your disposal. LinkedIn is one of those tools and, if you don’t know it, it is a primary tool used by recruiters and companies looking for potential employees. Doesn’t it make sense that in addition to your own efforts, it would be nice to get an unsolicited inquiry, people who find you instead of you always doing the chasing? But that doesn’t happen all by itself; you have to set the stage correctly and it doesn’t require that much extra effort.
If you’re going to have a LinkedIn profile you should make it something worthy of yourself. If you put a lot of effort into having a good resume it’s simply a matter of posting the same information onto LinkedIn. How tough can it be? I know many very-accomplished and highly-regarded professionals whose LinkedIn profile is their resume – period; they don’t have another, it’s one in the same. With the option of posting reference letters, gaining endorsements for the skills you list about yourself, the many groups that are available to join and more, there is a lot you can take advantage of; it’s about more than simply posting your resume or CV.
Never post your phone number but ensure you have a private email link. Having only your professional and work email address limits your appeal and inhibits people from reaching out to you – especially if they would like to reach out with a potential job opportunity. If you’re worried about what your boss might think, trust me, they are also being approached, making their concerns just a bit hypocritical.
If you are going to attempt to build a network on a venue such as LinkedIn or something similar, merely sending connection requests of people to build a classic network of contacts, go just one step further – after someone has added you, send them a small single sentence reply, thanking them for adding you accompanied with an additional sentence or question that can help to initiate or facilitate further dialogue. Remember that your goal should be to exploit the virtual tools available to you, in order to facilitate in-person introductions and meetings. Drive your efforts, rather than sitting mute as a mere passenger and bystander.
For any tool to be effective you have to take a little time to learn and know how to wield it in order to take full advantage of it. Regardless of whether you are looking for a job or simply trying to build a professional network, LinkedIn is a great tool for professionals and especially those beginning their careers. Take advantage of it while you can -- at least before and until it degenerates into being another Facebook. Regardless of what it is you are trying to accomplish, sometimes the difference between mediocrity and excellence is just a bit more effort on a consistent and conscious level, and if you’re going to be doing these things anyway, …