My 3/08/09 Missoulian column
Last week, I covered getting started in Linkedin, one of many business-oriented online networking sites. Although many people use the very popular social networking sites Facebook or MySpace for business, Linkedin is just for business, with different features and a businesslike atmosphere for making connections and looking for work.
So I set up a brief profile (I haven’t yet finished entering all the details from my resume), and then joined the University of Montana Alumni group. Joining a group is the best way to jump into Linkedin, so search for a group related to your business, location or interests.
Once in the group, I asked some general questions of the UM Alumni group organizer – Joseph Campana – and other members about their Linkedin experiences, and got a wide-range of answers, some of which are very relevant to the current economic downturn.
Campana told me that he prefers LinkedIn to “old-fashioned” networking. He’s been to “plenty of networking and job-hunting groups and find them to be a very inefficient use of time.” With Linkedin, he says, it’s very easy to search and find people and send e-mail or call and actively make connections with people.
One group member quickly learned some tricks to increase the number of users who viewed his profile. By checking out the profiles of the other users who viewed his profile, he found that he could appear in search results more relevant to his business by adjusting the keywords in his profile, and soon he was getting more e-mails.
Some members responded that they also use “FaceSpace” sites, but are careful to be sure there are no obvious connections between those sometimes “wild” identities and their business profile on Linkedin.
Other group members said they haven’t yet gotten a job or an interview online, but said it’s important to cover all the bases, especially in an economic situation like these current times. A few users told me they have had no luck with finding work with Linkedin, and are preparing to relocate.
I think using Linkedin is a good investment of your time. If you start with Linkedin and find you’re overwhelmed with the possibilities, books on Linkedin are available in local stores and libraries and on Amazon.com, in both hardcopy and e-book formats. All the tricks and features of Linkedin are outlined and you’ll be able to fully utilize the service.
On other topics: I’ve started a new section on my Web site called Mac Q & A. Each week, I’ll answer a question or two about OS X and Apple programs.