Website/Blog CHECK. Twitter CHECK (finally). LinkedIn ??..I for one have definitely not maximized the power of LinkedIn. Why?? Simply put, I had a job and thought I could find a job the old fashioned way (submit resume, call in for an interview, interview, you’re hired). Don’t get me wrong, I always update my resume on LinkedIN but I really didn’t go out of my way to make connections or to join groups. Well, it’s time to change!!
The ball game has changed now since I am switching careers, a stay at home mom, and a graduate student without a J-O-B. Can you see the billboard’s flashing lights saying “you really need to build your professional network”. I finally got the message!!
From my previous post, you know I recently developed a professional development plan to:
- Join the local ASTD chapter
- Create my blog and am in the process of creating my portfolio website (using wix.com)
- Build my professional network on LinkedIn
- Gain professional insight and conversations through Twitter
Linked in was the last piece of the puzzle. In the past week, I have expanded my network of learning professionals in my local area. I even made connections with a local training consultant who needs help redesigning her website and wants to create an online portfolio of her projects (sanitized of course). She is interested in hiring me to help her with these projects for the summer or fall. Just in doing a simple search in LinkedIn for “instructional designers”, typing in my area code and search radius, I was able to pull up 10 potential people who could have an impact on my career and who could benefit my from skills LinkedIn allows you to get past the barrier of “cold calling” people for opportunities. In essence, it is a great “ice breaker”.
Before I sent my request, I made sure to add a few extra details about myself and what I was looking for. I was happy to see that many were in the same LinkedIN organizations that I was joined as well and one person even graduate from Boise State IPT. Ever hear of the Six Degrees of Separation. I have just successfully increased my chances of getting leads because I have added someone who might have or might know of a job opportunity to my network
In addition to adding people to my network, I have also been joining groups and asking and answering questions. This is a great way to dialogue with other professionals. By being “vocal” in groups, you are helping brand your name and get exposure. Ultimately, as Ari Herzog put it “the more questions you ask, the more frequently your connections will see the questions you ask in their streams. The more questions you answer, the more likely you will get the “Top Influencer” statues (means your face is plastered on the group’s page for a week for everyone to see..CAN YOU SAY EXPOSURE!!)
I will end with this. People are changing jobs very frequently (either willingly or not). The fact is as graduate students and budding professionals we are doing ourselves a great disservice by keeping this rich resource untapped. The question you have to ask yourself is do you want to be left IN or left OUT of the loop. Here’s a great slideshare video to make you ponder