On July 15, in an interview by Margaret Larkin on WCKG Chicago’s Geoff Pinkus Show, I was asked what main mistakes people are making on LinkedIn. My response was that the biggest mistake people make is not being on LinkedIn in the first place – or not taking it seriously if they are.
This sentiment was echoed in a July 2013 Fortune Magazine article entitled, “LinkedIn: How It’s Changing Business (And How to Make it Work for You).” Journalist Jessi Hempel asserts, “In the past year LinkedIn has emerged as one of the most powerful business tools on the planet.” She reports that according to ComScore, the number of users who log on at least once a month has jumped 37% over last year, to 141 million worldwide. Furthermore, 88 of the Fortune 100 use LinkedIn’s licensed recruiting software to search for job candidates; the software obviates the need to pay a headhunter.
As a job seeker or business person, why would you not want to jump on the LinkedIn bandwagon with full enthusiasm?
LinkedIn is largely conceived as a job seeking hot spot. It might be telling that students represent LinkedIn’s fastest-growing member group, ostensibly because they are cognizant that it is essential to have a positive presence on LinkedIn when entering the job market. What students and other professionals might not realize, as described in the article, is that LinkedIn is not just a tool for job seekers. Large corporations such as Citigroup, NetSuite and Dell are using the power of this business network to target markets, conduct surveys, and conduct creative marketing activities.
Also not obvious to most of us is that LinkedIn is working on collecting information that will likely provide some of the most accurate and valuable information about the job market and business throughout the world. CEO Jeff Weiner envisions that “LinkedIn will provide a real-time measure of where jobs exist, where customers aren’t being served, and where people need training.” One use of the site, for example, would be to identify what colleges are best for obtaining certain jobs after college. After all, LinkedIn has accurate information on where all its members went to college and what types of jobs they’re in now. Watch out U.S. News & World Report – LinkedIn is coming!
People are paying attention to LinkedIn.
The author of the Fortune article related that she updated her LinkedIn profile as part of writing the story; and her colleagues noticed. They jumped to the conclusion that maybe she was thinking of looking for a new job—a common perception when someone updates a profile. But the reality is that updating a profile is a good idea for everyone, not just job seekers. It is a way to “touch” your network and gain visibility. Maybe you’ll get a lunch meeting out of it, or an interesting information exchange.
Perhaps the most interesting point of this article to me personally is that LinkedIn has a vested interest in having its members improve their profiles; if the site is to become competitive in the sales industry, it must provide companies with robust information on social networks. It is odd, therefore, that LinkedIn’s platform is confusing to many, and also, as Ms. Hempel points out, that LinkedIn has not commissioned any “How to” books about using its site. How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile is cited as one of the premier books on the subject, a mention which makes me proud.
Hempel observes that LinkedIn has been extremely persistent in its vision, making it “the single biggest repository of career data” and positioning the site to be a force in how business is done worldwide. This observation brings me back to my radio interview and my point that the biggest mistake you can make on LinkedIn is not to be on the site or not to take it seriously.
I’m doing everything I can to support LinkedIn members in creating effective profiles (and to keep up with the rapid changes LinkedIn is making to its functionality). If you haven’t yet read How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile, I encourage you to do so; you can get a free excerpt by signing up for my e-list at http://forms.aweber.com/form/58/584588858.htm.
If you want the full version, including FREE lifetime updates, order the pdf for just $9.97 from The Essay Expert.
And as always, your questions are welcome. If you have a comment or question please enter it in the comments and you might just see an answer in a future blog!