Career & Work Life Matters, ISSN 2150-6299, Vol 5, no 2
This article describes 3 mistakes that you should avoid when using LinkedIn to expand your professional network and advance your career. Like all social media platforms, LinkedIn changes frequently. Although this can be frustrating, new tools may help you use the power of technology to achieve your career goals more easily.
If you have not yet used the alumni search tool, check it out. It’s a powerful way of renewing connections or creating new ones.
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#1 Not Being Present
The 2014 JobVite Survey found that nearly all recruiters (94%) use LinkedIn. Yet only about a third (36%) of job seekers are active on the site. Even if you are not currently looking for a new position, your online presence is increasingly important for career success. In his review of the trends in personal branding for 2014, William Aruda, of Reach Personal Branding, notes that more companies are recognizing the potential of LinkedIn for branding as well as hiring. It helps companies be more visible. It can also help you to be more visible professionally.
#2 Forgetting the Foundation of Networking Success
Although technology provides new opportunities to enhance your career, it’s essential to consider the downside if you want to use it effectively. If you’ve applied to companies that use ATS (applicant tracking systems) you have experienced how rigid and impersonal the process feels. Online networking can feel equally impersonal. Do you regularly receive unwanted messages from strangers? This may make you think twice about using social media tools to expand your network.
Although recent changes to the LinkedIn platform make it easier to send invitations by automating the steps, don’t rely on the default message. Personalizing your message requires an extra step. For example, if you find people you want to connect with using the “search people” tool from your computer, you need to go from the search results page to the person’s profile to write your own message. This reduces the risk of too many IDKs (I don’t know this person) responses. Another option is to send a follow-up message, but the downside is that your are asking your recipient to read two messages instead of one.
#3 Not Using the Power of your Existing Networks
What if you could combine your relationship building skills with what technology offers? A powerful tools available through LinkedIn is the alumni network search tool. As you’ll see from the screenshot of my profile below, you’ll find it under the network tab.
Use this tool to build on existing connections while also conducting powerful focused searches based on location, industry and skills. Because you already have something in common, even people who are outside your network may be willing to help you. If you haven’t used the Alumni search tool, it’s definitely worth exploring.