The Value of a LinkedIn profile

7 Sep

www.linkedin.com/in/vijaythakkar

Individuals and organizations use LinkedIn for networking, job searching, hiring, company research, and connecting with colleagues, including alumni, industry, and a variety of other business groups. I created my LinkedIn account in 2003 and am currently part of several LinkedIn groups such as PHR/SPHR preparation group wherein I connect with professionals appearing for the certification for which I am appearing and exchange notes and discuss about exams, recruiters group for job search, I have joined UTA group to get updates about university, etc. I contribute regularly to the group by answering questions and solving doubts of people, I also raise several questions and discussions, participate in polls and surveys and try to be active in whatever way I can.  I make sure that on special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Birthdays, etc. I send personalized messages to my connections and try to connect with them. Whenever they change job or update reading list or make any status updates, I always comment if it is something relevant and congratulate them for their new job, projects and/or added responsibilities.

Advantages:

  1. By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they are searching for someone to hire or do business with. In addition to appearing at the top of search results, people would much rather work with people who their friends know and trust.
  2. You can also include a link to your profile as part of an email signature. The added benefit is that the link enables people to see all your credentials, which would be awkward if not downright strange, as an attachment.
  3. Since LinkedIn profiles receive a fairly high PageRank in Google, this is a good way to influence what people see when they search for you.
  4. LinkedIn can make your interview go smootheras you can use LinkedIn to find the people that you are meeting.
  5. You can see people in your network who are initiating new startups.
  6. LinkedIn Answers allows you to broadcast your business-related questions to both your network and the greater LinkedIn network.
  7. Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates.
  8. LinkedIn helps you to stay in touch with your contacts even if they change their job, phone numbers or email addresses. It helps you to maintain professional relationships that you have built throughout your career.
  9. You can join professional groups where people from your profession can come together to discuss issues related to your industry.

**How to find a new job using LinkedIn?

The above advantages are just selected few that I could think of in matter of few minutes, if you think and analyze or may be just Google you will find 100+ ways in which LinkedIn can be used.

Disadvantages:

  1. One of the major risks of social networking and the Internet is privacy. To reap full advantage of LinkedIn, however, the user typically must disclose information such as current and past employers, as well as current contact information. The user assumes considerably more risk of identity theft in the event of a breach in LinkedIn’s security.
  2. LinkedIn calls for an investment in time. The user must keep profile information up to date, such as contact information and work history. While not an absolute necessity, active participation in groups builds credibility. This means consistently following the threads on the group and not just stopping in once every six months the way one might with professional association conferences. In the worst case scenario, users could fall victim to the addictive nature of social networking and spend too much time on LinkedIn instead of working.
  3. LinkedIn runs membership program. A basic membership allows members to run limited types of searches on other users, as well as maintain a profile and directly contact members within the user’s network. To gain access to the more advanced features, such as reference searches, directly contacting any LinkedIn member via email and the LinkedIn instant messaging system, the user must pay a monthly fee.
  4. For lawyers, depending on the state, LinkedIn profiles constitute a form of advertising. Other areas of concern include claims of specialization, client solicitation and testimonial use, any or all of which my fall under ethical constraints depending on location.

**How & Why To Use LinkedIn.com

My experience with LinkedIn has been really good as it improved my Google page rank, I was able to find both my internships via LinkedIn and not only that, most of my class assignments in which I had to interview a senior member or a leader, I had approached them using LinkedIn. It has also helped me to keep my resume to two pages and for rest of the information I usually request interviewer to go through my LinkedIn profile to see recommendation and other achievements. LinkedIn helped me to build my professional network.  Participating in Q&A sessions has helped me to improve my communication and writing skills, evaluate questions and logically answer them, etc.

What I have learned about LinkedIn is that if you use it logically and systematically it can do wonders for you ranging from getting jobs to starting a new venture. Though it requires a good amount of time to be invested to build profile and connections, it is worth investing if you systematically connect with other people. Simply have 1000+ connections are of no use when you do not know 90% of your connections. Building relationship is more important than just adding connections. Also, do not feel shy to ask for recommendations – it really works to have few good recommendations from your colleagues and supervisors. Do not just ask for recommendation in return of another recommendation for the recommender. Also, link your LinkedIn profile with your professional blog and/or professional twitter account, so that people can connect with you. Do participate in discussions and forums and show people what you know and are capable of, it may not reap immediate benefits but am sure it will not go unnoticed.

Also, what I do is that I share job opportunities with my connections even though those openings are not at my end. Whatever jobs that I come across, I feel can be of help to anyone, I just go and update my LinkedIn status so that concerned people can be targeted. Just be genuine and show respect for members on LinkedIn, members will love that. And yes, LinkedIn is different from Facebook – So do not cross your boundaries and STAY CONNECTED!!!!

Plaxo and Ecademy are two other professional networking sites where I have been member for more than a decade now. They are membership organisation for entrepreneurs and business owners who belong to a community that connects supports and transacts with one another. They provide a platform for businesses to learn, network and develop and a peer to peer knowledge exchange through blogging and boardroom events. But both these sites are way behind when it comes to acceptance by people and searching for authentic profiles. LinkedIn over a period of time has built its brand and is socially acceptable by organizations. Most people you will find on Plaxo and Ecademy are independent consultants, sales people, small entrepreneurs, unemployed people, students and blue collared workers. On the other hand LinkedIn has a wide range of profiles from students to CEO to Barack Obama.

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4 Responses to “The Value of a LinkedIn profile”

  1. Sonia September 10, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Awesome piece of advice

  2. Lisa Kruczynski (@LisaK_Social) September 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    Vijay,
    Some good specific advice here on what worked for you and how people can make use of LinkedIn. I’d love to link to your post from my own LI page, if that’s ok?

    • psyclife September 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

      Ya, That’s okay 🙂

  3. Jim September 7, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Nice, Even I have been on LinkedIn for 6 years now but somehow I am not able to connect with people and if I get connected I am not consistent enough to maintain relationship. I hope to get few good points from your blog post and will see if I can make any improvement. As you said, I think my emotional connection and genuineness with my members is missing and that may be causing a problem.

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