LinkedIn Raves and Rants

LinkedInTonight is my second workshop on LinkedIn since I started The Opportunities Project this summer. Is LinkedIn really that important that it deserves two workshops so close together? Yes, it absolutely does. LinkedIn is the future of how people build careers, especially for those of us who are not born into huge networks or attend schools that naturally facilitate those. In 2011, LinkedIn is updating their platform so that more people can directly connect with their network around work and jobs. Now is the time to build your network so it’s strong for when that happens.

So I have both a rant and rave about LinkedIn coverage online.

Power of Your Network

Let’s start with a rave. Here is a real-life example of how the power of LinkedIn can get you results. When I was starting out this spring, I met a great partner in Brooke Allen. Brooke runs an organization called No Shortage of Work– a group I recommend on my Resources page. As an experiment, he asked people he knew from No Shortage of Work and his other networks to connect via LinkedIn to three people he selected who had various career goals. Within 24 hours, each had over 500 new professional contacts and within ten days one was working in a new job. He has now been sending summaries of what other people have to offer and what people need and letting them connect on their own. This success wouldn’t have manifested without a platform like LinkedIn.

Power of a Complete Profile

So my rant. I am getting exhausted by LinkedIn articles that keep getting promoted on sites like SmartBrief that give incomplete advice. I am cranky because I have become obsessed with finding these articles and commenting on them – here and here – to add needed information and it takes time I could spend on other things. Not everyone knows a Brooke Allen meaning you really need to make sure your profile is maximized to get the connections you need. Despite all the bells and whistles, LinkedIn is essentially a database and you need to create a profile that is easily found. If you read an article that doesn’t say the number one thing you should do is to make sure that your profile is complete- yes, that means posting a photo- it is not worth your time and you should move along. LinkedIn officially states that complete profiles are found 40% more often in search results than incomplete profiles, but that doesn’t even take into consideration where you rank. For example, I am listed as one of the first ten career coaches in NYC when you search for that phrase because I’ve optimized my profile. Not bad for a brand new coach. Where do you come up?

Discussing whether you should make your job duties bullet vs. paragraphs is great, but if you can’t be found, who cares?

If you’re in NYC, come to our event tonight at 7PM at SLC Conference Centers (352 7th Avenue, 16th floor- cross street is 30th Street) to learn how you can take the next step with LinkedIn. Friends of The Opportunities Project can pay $10 at the door.