by David Scoppa
I am often asked: ‘Why should I sign up to LinkedIn?’
For one of the most popular, social networking sites, third behind Facebook and Twitter, many people remain hesitant or unsure about getting involved in the world’s largest, professional on-line network.
Reasons for not being on LinkedIn vary. I’ve heard them all:
‘What if my boss/manager/supervisor finds out?’
‘I don’t know who I would connect too’
‘I’m not seeking a new job so why would I join?’
‘I’m uncomfortable with having personal details on the web’
However, the most common response is there are just too many social media sites to keep track of these days and you can’t be on them all.
As somebody with a passion for career development and collaboration on social networks, I am well aware there are many social networking sites out there. However, the benefits of being on LinkedIn can change your career by opening up opportunities you could not have imagined without being part of the LinkedIn community.
LinkedIn, although great for networking, is a lot more than this. It is an interactive career development platform allowing professionals like you and me to interact, engage and collaborate with each other to learn, grow and develop professionally by sharing knowledge and experience on topics directly relevant to your career. The level of engagement is completely up to you and will vary depending on the stage of your career and current job satisfaction.
So how can LinkedIn help you?
Firstly, let’s begin with how it all started – networking.
Networking through LinkedIn allows users to connect with current and previous colleagues, managers and mentors, as well as potential future employers. In addition to networking with people you know, LinkedIn allows you to connect with other professionals in your industry or field of expertise; regardless of their physical location. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to build a global professional network to assist your career development. It’s like having an online database of business cards at your disposal without having to attend face-to-face networking events. LinkedIn’s powerful search engine lets you search via job title, past and present company, cities/countries, industry, and of course, key words which makes it very easy to find professionals just like you.
In addition to networking, LinkedIn has introduced additional career-related features to help you on your career journey. Users can join industry specific and interest groups, follow leaders and inspirational industry professionals as well as well as companies or organisations that are aligned to your passions, interests and specific skills and experience. With close to 350 million users, the opportunities to collaborate and connect with people are endless.
By following others on LinkedIn allows you to learn from your network as they share experiences, stories, and updates relevant to your career. There is also a job section, designed to send you vacancies directly relevant to your field of expertise, eliminating searching for opportunities, so you won’t miss new job openings within your network.
Success on LinkedIn is not limited to a local or national level either. In connecting with people through LinkedIn you have the ability to successfully network with others regardless of their location. With supporting technology such as Skype, collaboration across borders becomes a lot easier.
Generally speaking, in my experience, people are on LinkedIn to share their knowledge and experience and hear from other people. I am a believer that they want to hear from you. In my career to date, LinkedIn has played an important part. It brought me to the University of Sydney through a chance connection, and has connected me with like-minded professionals whether they be in the same city or on the other side of the world. It has opened doors and opportunities in seconds and can be career changing for many positive reasons.
Imagine what it can do for you.