Friday, June 3, 2011

Blog Addresses "Making LinkedIn Work for You"

A recent blog post by Sue Shellenbarger on The Juggle, one of The Wall Street Journal blogs, titled “Making LinkedIn Work for You,” lists some interesting tips on making the professional networking platform effectively function for job seekers.

From the Battlefield to the Boardroom found this to be a particularly helpful blog as more and more people find value in LinkedIn and was happy to see Orion Officer Recruiter JP Sniffen quoted in the blog.

As Shellenbarger points out:

“LinkedIn is a tool for displaying your work and credentials to colleagues and potential clients, gathering intelligence about trends and competitors from others in your industry or profession, and keeping in touch with alumni and other groups that matter to you. Also, if you lose your job unexpectedly, having your LinkedIn network up-and-running is a big asset.”

The first step to getting set up on LinkedIn is to create a profile. Sniffen tells Shellenbarger that even though LinkedIn is a professional network, it is OK to include a little personal information that would be suitable on a résumé, such as being an avid runner, etc. It is also important to keep your profile up-to-date, strengthen your network with more contacts, and gather appropriate recommendations.

And while LinkedIn has a lot of advantages, Shellenbarger blogs that LinkedIn can pose a risk to you in that a sudden increase in networking and activity on LinkedIn can signal a boss that you are on the job hunt. Sniffen tells Shellenbarger that he has received frequent calls from job seekers who say they were let go because his or her boss discovered they were looking around through LinkedIn. To reduce this risk, Sniffen suggests making a pre-emptive strike, so that your boss does not misunderstand your latest flurry of activity. “Tell your boss that you are active on LinkedIn for networking purposes, to share ideas and information, to get help solving work-related problems, or to stay in touch with alumni or professional groups,” Sniffen says.

The blog also explains why using Facebook as a job seeking tool is often inadvisable. With Facebook, there is too much room for bleedover between your social and professional life, explains Sniffen. “I’ve seen candidates lose offers because they have some wild stuff on their Facebook page” he tells Shellenbarger.

Overall, LinkedIn is a valuable professional tool that acts as a virtual calling card of sorts. Its value goes far beyond job searches and reaches into professional development and career advancement. Check out Shellenbarger’s post to read more on how this network can work for you.

Have you found LinkedIn to be a key part of your job search? Share your story in the comments!

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