Is LinkedIn becoming the new Facebook for correspondence on the internet? More businesses and job seekers are using this web site with greater frequency to connect to people that can help them with their personal brand, networking and to find a new job. The major corporations like IBM Global Services, Kraft Foods, and Boeing are all in this game with detailed company information, job postings, and networking groups.
If you are on LinkedIn you'll notice many more personal updates on members with current photos and revised profiles. LinkedIn was once the professional site that didn't do much promoting of members. It was a place to connect with former co-workers and to share your job information. I signed up for it four years ago when one of my former co-workers invited me to "connect". I liked the site because it felt like it was coveted and private to my network. It also didn't have thousands of photos on it that I didn't care about!
Yet, this was a few years before the job market fell off the cliff and we entered in the most severe recession since the depression. Now, LinkedIn has become the source for finding a job, source talent, network and to promote a personal brand. Last I checked, Boeing has 29, 032 employees following its company and 1,568 current employees in the Boeing networking group!
Scanning through a select group of corporations, I found that the larger companies had networking groups set up for current employees, former employees and outside consultants who once worked with the firm. There's so much information on the LinkedIn site, it is almost overwhelming! I feel like a child in the American Girl Doll store wandering the aisles wanting to buy all of the dolls in the store!
Now that's the executive recruiter in me talking because of the amazing access the site offers to find names of workers in all industries doing just about anything. So, if I am a recruiter I have more than enough information on LinkedIn to fill a job search without even having to advertise. I have the name of the potential new hire and enough information on their skill level to make a determination if I want to bring them in for an interview. The site really is a recruiter's paradise.
One of my former colleagues who is still working in executive search industry says that LinkedIn is the worst thing that has happened her, even more detrimental than the current recession, for her loss of business. If you can source out enough qualified candidates with a push of a button to one web site for no money, why hire a search consultant? The search industry suffered when Career Builder took off, but LinkedIn is the place to be now.
So if you have a dated photo and old information on the site, you should make sure you update your page. Your profile will be viewed more than you can ever imagine. Make sure you tell your career story with accuracy and proficiency. Your photo should be professional and current. I'd also recommend getting as many testimonials you can on your page. If you are looking for a job check out the job postings that appear on your page. I find most of them to be very helpful.
Keep your postings on your activities pertinent to your career not your personal life. The key is to treat your information on LinkedIn as you would in an interview with a hiring professional. And expand your network as deep as you can so you can access as many people as possible to network with.
For now, there is a great opportunity to use LinkedIn as a career advancer, but it won't be long before the site becomes too crowded with information, like Facebook, and make it more difficult to become noticed. All great networking sites end up getting over populated, so start working this site and skip posting your current photos on Facebook of your friends on vacation and focus on your career. All great things do come to an end. Don't miss this one!