Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The LinkedIn Success Story – The Jobs Tool for the 2010’s, Part 3 – LinkedIn Member Success

In reality, every day networking is the most successful employment agency and new client-marketing tool in today’s challenging work environment. Internet technology, social media, and people are the networking tools that lead to success. LinkedIn members know no matter what industry or business you are in, having a profile on LinkedIn is an advantage in networking – and not having one on LinkedIn is a disadvantage.

I recently interviewed Mark Stelzner, Founder of the JobAngels Network. He describes the power of networking best, “Today, through the power of social media, each of us is just a few connections away from someone who may be able to help you by opening up their network, offering real-world advice from experts in their industry or field, connecting with individuals inside organizations who are hiring; and ultimately putting people back to work.” Mark knows the value in utilizing LinkedIn. He has both a LinkedIn personal profile as well as a JobAngels Network Group. His LinkedIn group has over 17,000 members and continues to grow.

It’s tough out there in this recession, and one necessity for success is being visible and easily accessible for those looking for talent whether to hire as an employee, consultant, product provider, or business partner. LinkedIn is recognized as the largest and most influential referral network and the jobs tool for the 2010’s.

Recruiters generously use LinkedIn as a tool to recruit both active and passive talent for open positions with their clients. LinkedIn touts its trademarked Talent Advantage, “Over 900 companies are already hiring hard-to-find passive candidates with LinkedIn Talent Advantage.” This LinkedIn product offers companies “widest search available and ultra-precise targeting” among other features.

LinkedIn’s reputation for enhancing its members’ success has earned respect and notice in the press with numerous recent articles by big-name media:
* LinkedIn the top tool for marketers, Marketing Vox, August 19, 2010
* How to Use LinkedIn to Get Hired, Fins/The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2010
* How to Network Effectively, Inc. Magazine, August 11, 2010

In their Resources Section, LinkedIn records a sampling of their member success stories with titles, “After a Layoff LinkedIn Member Lands New Job with Better Hours and More Money” and “Jobseeker Snags a Job One Week After Layoff Because of LinkedIn”. LinkedIn reflects the level of diversity of success its members can have with “LinkedIn Helps Member Get Closer to Outerspace”. “Oracle’s CFO Landed His Post Through His LinkedIn Profile” highlights LinkedIn’s acceptance in the C-Suite.

All three of the experts referred by LinkedIn for this article series agree, the more you participate in your LinkedIn membership, the more success you will see. If you do not personally have success from your LinkedIn membership, more than likely, you are not using it to its fullest potential – and to yours.

Ken Nussbaum, our lead panel expert provided by LinkedIn, describes these member success stories:

* A former colleague was looking for a job. She contacted people with whom she used to work and asked for any leads and recommendations highlighting her accomplishments. It helped jump-start her job search.
* A friend was looking for contacts at a specific company and used LinkedIn to search. As it turned out, he had numerous connections within his network including a second-degree connection with the woman in charge of hiring for the advertised position. Although the position had already been filled, the woman referred him to a colleague who happened to be looking to fill a similar position.
* A friend was relocating across the country and sought various referrals. He reached out to his LinkedIn network and was able to find recommendations for doctors, dentists, auto mechanics and restaurants. This helped him be less anxious about the move and in a good place to start his work in the new location.

Ken shares his expertise by noting client connections often come to LinkedIn members directly and indirectly through their profile and participation.

* Recommendations bring business. A client of mine, whom is also a LinkedIn connection, wrote a recommendation for me. A colleague of that client was looking for tax assistance. He read my recommendation from his friend and then wanted more information about my services. His initial contact with me came from a place of my friend says you and I need to work together. How do we make it happen?
* Many client opportunities come about indirectly through LinkedIn. There are times when a tenuous connection can be made more solid by referring them to your LinkedIn profile. It is important to have potential clients see recommendations of your work prior to them feeling comfortable in contacting you. On more than one occasion, a new client has told me that what they saw in the profile made a huge difference to them.
* Professional relationships and client opportunities often start by a mutual membership in a LinkedIn Group. There are a number of people with whom it is unlikely I would have crossed paths if not for being actively involved on LinkedIn. In fact, one of them is reading this e-mail right now!

LinkedIn referred expert panelist Debra Forman, PCC coaches her clients “to focus on the relationship not on the sale, as there will be great disappointment if the assumption is work with each venture. You connect, build a relationship, and then the work will hopefully happen. There are no guarantees, but one is definitely in a better position than not by using LinkedIn.”

Debra offers great advice for LinkedIn member success.

* I connect with people I know or whom have been introduced to me. I do not add contacts as a numbers game. That takes away my effectiveness to stay on top of my clients' & contacts' activities.
* LinkedIn should not be a numbers game. It is a professional interactive networking tool. You need to set and keep the bar high at all times.
* Networking is about helping others, and I use LinkedIn in the same way. I use it to refer contacts and work to my clients.

Debra highlights, “An important key is to use your contacts effectively by finding out who has a connection to the job.” She offers these examples.

* A client found a marketing job listing on LinkedIn. She reviewed which of her contacts were connected to the organization. She contacted them and told them about her application. They spoke to the company on her behalf giving her a face in the crowd. She had an interview and got the job.
* A client saw a legal job ad. She again checked which of her contacts were linked to the company. She found out I was. I connected her with the job contact. That job didn't pan out but connections were made.
* Another client saw another legal ad. She contacted someone who went to her law school who was in a LinkedIn group. That contact was able to provide her additional information on the ad giving her further insight and an advantage.

LinkedIn referred series panel expert Phyllis Reardon, facilitates, “As a professional life coach, I make regular use of all possible connections on LinkedIn. I can walk into my home office any morning of the week and connect with 1000s of life coaches around the world. On a daily basis I pick the ‘life coaching brains’ of some of the best in the world through my LinkedIn Groups.”

Phyllis shares high praise for LinkedIn, “No other venue in my career has offered me this professional opportunity. I can post a life-coaching query in a particular group and in minutes, sometimes seconds, I receive varied and rich responses. The old adage, ‘two heads are better than one’, becomes a reality on LinkedIn.” She notes the relationship building that is so important on LinkedIn with “I receive help but I also find opportunity to share my expertise with other professionals.”

Phyllis describes her own LinkedIn member success story, “In early summer 2010, a young professional educator posted a question in the Q&A section of LinkedIn regarding her new position as an education consultant. She expressed some concerns on where to start and was feeling a little overwhelmed. The question immediately captured my attention, for her new position was exactly the same as one I had recently left after 15 years. I gave her a list of all the initial steps she should take and all of the areas I felt she should become immediately familiar. This proved to be a tremendous help to her at the beginning of her career.”

All of our expert panelist agree with Phyllis’ member success summary, “This is networking at it’s finest – Meet, Connect, Share. LinkedIn is professionals helping professionals. I like to say, opportunities exist at LinkedIn, but only if you get Linked IN.”

I agree with our experts, and LinkedIn is an important element of my brand and networking. Many of my international writing contacts and my radio co-host for Women on the Move media group contacts has come from LinkedIn.

Good professional experience and reputation initiates your brand building. Great associations and endorsements cement your brand foundation. Excellent relationships maintain and grow your brand strength. Maximum public presence begets new opportunities and increased brand excellence in reputation, associations, endorsements, and relationships. Success begets success.

Part 1 – Why Use LinkedIn?
Part 2 – Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn

Part 4 - Features & Statistics
Part 5 - International Focus in a Global Economy

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