Monday, August 30, 2010

The LinkedIn Success Story – The Jobs Tool for the 2010’s, Part 1 - Why Use LinkedIn?


I think everyone agrees the real U.S. unemployment rate is at roughly 14% to as high as 24% depending on location and whether or not those that are underemployed and still looking for a more appropriate position or have become frustrated in their job search and have given up looking for now are added to the official U.S. unemployment rate of 9.5%. On second thought, perhaps the politicians may not agree touting the “Recovery Summer”, yet if you are like millions of Americans, you have faced 2010 unemployed or underemployed and looking for a job.

Even the employed have polished their resumes in 2010 being proactive and prepared if necessary. Yet, thank goodness business goes on in the U.S. in a recession or not. The employed and the business owner are marketing their products and services and always looking to increase their customer base.

Even in the midst of the high unemployment, college students are still going to be looking for internships to gain some needed work experience for their first official resume that begins their after graduation job search. There will always be entrepreneurs starting their own business in any economic climate.

Many have turned to the Internet as a vital tool in their job search. The career type websites have exploded since 2008 with job listings and job seeker sign-ups. As many using these job hunting sites can tell you, this is a good thing and allows easy access for companies looking to hire and for job seekers looking to get hired.

Yet, the job seekers will also tell you, the majority of the job postings are often already filled shortly after being posted, or the positions are being filled with candidates that fit the “exact” keyword criteria listed. There is no room for transferable skill sets from industry-to-industry or face-to-face opportunities for job seekers to sell themselves as an asset to a particular company. Even in the age of numerous career websites, professionals know the majority of positions to be filled at the majority of companies are not listed on a job website.

Most people are familiar with the old saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know in getting a job.” There is some truth to this whether fair or not and whether we like it or not. You may not get a chance to discuss what you know in an actual job interview unless a person you know tells you about an open position at a company.

This saying may also be true for companies looking for new client contracts. A strong professional network is valuable to everyone whether they are looking for a job, looking for an internship, looking to enter the work force for the first time out of college, or looking for clients for their new or existing business. Everyone in the business world knows this, yet many outside of the white-collar world may not make this investment in themselves. This is a mistake.

Anyone in any industry at any employment level will benefit from developing a professional network. Professional networking will always be an imperative element for a successful job search for the unemployed or for an increased professional image for the employed. This is true whether you are in college, just out of college, at entry level, a mid-level manager, or a senior level professional. It is true whether you are blue-collar, white-collar, green-collar, or no-collar.

It is never too early or too late to start professional networking. Everyone you meet is a potential network possibility whether online or in person. Many job and client seekers are turning to social media networking. This is smart and forward thinking.

LinkedIn has emerged as not only the jobs tool for the 2010’s, but also the premiere business tool in the United States and internationally. Time just named LinkedIn to their “50 Best Websites 2010” list.

Why use LinkedIn? LinkedIn answers this question by noting relationships matter, “Your professional network of trusted contacts gives you an advantage in your career, and is one of your most valuable assets. LinkedIn exists to help you make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return. Our mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. We believe that in a global connected economy, your success as a professional and your competitiveness as a company depends upon faster access to insight and resources you can trust.”

The latest LinkedIn figures back this up in today’s business climate whether members are looking for a new job, a better job, to fill a position, or to expand their client base nationally or internationally:

* LinkedIn has over 75 million members in over 200 countries.
* A new member joins approximately every second, and about ½ of members are outside the U.S.
* Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members.

LinkedIn answers the question “What is LinkedIn?” with specifics about what you can do with their online business tool. “When you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional expertise and accomplishments. You can then form enduring connections by inviting trusted contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you. Your network consists of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, linking you to a vast number of qualified professionals and experts. Through your network you can:

* Manage the information that’s publicly available about you as professional.
* Find and be introduced to potential clients, service providers, and subject experts who come recommended.
* Create and collaborate on projects, gather data, share files and solve problems.
* Be found for business opportunities and find potential partners.
* Gain new insights from discussions with likeminded professionals in private group settings.
* Discover inside connections that can help you land jobs and close deals.
* Post and distribute job listings to find the best talent for your company.

In this 5-part LinkedIn series, we will be talking with a three member panel to further explore the LinkedIn success story. Each panel member works extensively with LinkedIn personally and coaches and teaches others how to use LinkedIn in the real-world for maximum benefit. All three are members of the “Friends of LinkedIn” by-invitation group exclusively based on an evaluation of their success using LinkedIn.

Series panel member Ken Nussbaum is a CPA and Consultant in Richmond, Vermont. He provides perspective and experience in all areas of financial counseling, focusing on tax as well as non-tax issues to help his clients see the whole picture and make the decision that is best for the particular situation. Ken is committed to giving personal attention to each client, whether they are located across the street or around the globe.

A strong believer in using social media to enhance professional relationships, Ken has presented seminars on the topic to a multitude of organizations, and has been quoted in local and national media, including the on-line version of the Wall Street Journal. He may be reached through his website, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter.

Panel member Debra Forman of Pinstripe Coaching is a certified Executive Coach at the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) level, who collaborates with clients internationally. Debra recently submitted her application to be accredited as a Master Certified Coach (MCC), the next and highest level of coach accreditation.

Building on 30 years of experience, Debra partners with senior executives and attorneys in one-on-one and group coaching sessions to assist clients in attracting new business opportunities, effectively managing their time, developing talent, demonstrating strong leadership and communication skills, and conducting business strategically.

Debra recently launched, with Canadian Lawyer Magazine, Making Rain, the first monthly business development and online video practice management coaching column. She has two Masters degrees, is a frequent speaker and writer, and is a member of the Board of Editors of Law Firm Partnership & Benefits Report. Debra can be reached at her company and on LinkedIn.

Panel member Phyllis Reardon M.Ed., President of CoachPhyllis.Com Inc. is a life coach, author and motivational speaker. She offers her expertise to individuals, groups, and medium/large size businesses. Phyllis specializes in life coaching, career coaching and work/life balance issues. With a focus on the full potential of each and every employee she helps companies improve their bottom line.

Her life coaching process uses a series of powerful questions to help her clients achieve success in life and work. She believes in the words of Socrates; ‘It is not the answer that enlightens but the Question.’ Phyllis can be contacted at her company and on LinkedIn.

We are living in an attention economy. If used correctly, LinkedIn is a serious and important business tool that can help you achieve your professional goals. It can be the start of or enhancement of your professional Internet presence and your professional networking. It allows you to cultivate specific industry contacts and participate in common interest groups and discussions.

The smart job seekers are concentrating on including LinkedIn as a part of their professional networking. The smart professionals use their LinkedIn profile to increase their professional public presence to compete more effectively in today’s most competitive business environment. The smart company participates in LinkedIn to increase their branding network and talent acquisition. As LinkedIn describes use of their site, it is for professionals “to exchange information, ideas, and opportunities”.

With potential customers, professional contacts, and potential employers going to the Internet as a part of their due diligence, a strong professional Internet presence is significant for everyone in the 2010’s to increase their favorable possibilities factor. Our special 5-part LinkedIn success series will include:
Part 2 – Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn
Part 3 – LinkedIn Member Success
Part 4 – Features & Statistics
Part 5 – International Focus in a Global Economy

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